If your New Year’s resolution was to broaden your food horizons, a trio of international restaurants have recently opened in the region to help.
Modesto’s Biryani Express, Ripon’s Happy’s Indian Kitchen and Turlock’s Nami-No Restaurant all debuted in late 2017 and are now fully up and running for lunch and dinner service. Each is a small, locally owned establishment with generous portions and attentive service.
Biryani Express has the distinction of being Modesto’s first Indian food restaurant to open in number of years. Husband-and-wife owners Pervaiz Bhatti and Parveen Pervaiz specialize in Indian and Pakistani fare. After years of working in the photo lab for Kodak, Bhatti said he wanted to utilize his wife’s skills in the kitchen. They began doing catering from home and then decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant last November in the shopping center at the corner of Pelandale and Sisk roads, next door to El Rosal.
Their house specialty is right in its name — “biryani,” a flavorful South Asian basmati rice dish that combines spices, onions, vegetables and your choice of meats. Each day they prepare four different biryani dishes and a variety of other Indian/Pakistani favorites from chicken tikka masala to lamb curry and shahi paneer. Customers can walk up and point out which dishes they want, or pick a popular lunch plate that comes with their choice of biryani, a meat dish and a vegetable dish for $9.99. I recommend you try the refreshing house-made raita sauce, a mix of yogurt and mint, on basically everything.
Biryani Express is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday at 3900 Pelandale Ave. For more information call 209-409-8295.
The Indian food options continue in Ripon, which saw the opening of Happy’s Indian Kitchen in December. The spot just off Highway 99 on West Colony Road is already hopping thanks to its popular lunch buffet. This is owner Amarjit Singh’s first restaurant in the region. The menu includes a variety of Indian favorites from tandoori chicken to butter chicken, samosas, pakora and much more.
The 40-person spot has already gained a following for its daily lunch buffet for $8.99. That includes several appetizers, basmati rice and a wide assortment of entrees. It runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner. Happy’s Indian Kitchen is at 1290 W. Colony Road. For more information call 209-599-9000.
In Turlock, Persian and Iranian food gets the spotlight at the new Nami-No Restaurant. The owners have run a successful catering business for six years, but manager Bradinne Aghakhani said customers at events kept asking if they could buy their food elsewhere.
So last month they opened a restaurant in the Save Mart shopping center on Geer Road. You can watch the meat get grilled in the 50-person capacity dining room. Nami-No specializes in kabobs, stews, specialty rice and other middle eastern delights. The restaurant, next to T-Shirts Plus, is open for lunch and dinner. Entrees run $8.99 to $18.99. Order a side of grape leaf dolmeh with your meal and you won’t be disappointed.
Nami-No, at 2545 Geer Road in Turlock, is open 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, closed Mondays. For more information call 209-632-6611.