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Amber India empire expands into Los Altos

Uploaded: Jun 18, 2014
The locally born Amber India empire is making big moves this year, with a three-level restaurant that can accommodate almost 300 people slated to open at 4926 El Camino Real in Los Altos this fall.

Owner Vijay Bist, who opened the first Amber India in Mountain View more than a decade ago, is moving into the massive space vacated by Pineapple Grill. This will be Bist's seventh restaurant, joining Amber Dhara on University Avenue in Palo Alto and Valencia Street in San Francisco, Amber India in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, Amber India Santana Row and Amber Café in Mountain View.

It will be unlike any of the other locations, with an upper-level banquet room that can seat 175 people for private events; a mid-level dining room with an outdoor patio area; and a "mostly scotch and whiskey," 60's Hollywood-themed lounge on the bottom floor. Each level has a kitchen, and the lounge -- dubbed Amber 365, Bist said -- will be open until 2 a.m. It will also have its menu with "tapas type food," he said.

"It's good for everyone," Bist said, whether you're a family looking for Amber India menu staples or a tired techie who needs a solid happy hour.

The food will be similar to the other locations', but Bist said they're going to offer more healthy options, such as quinoa or brown rice.


A spread of classic Amber India dishes. Palo Alto Weekly file photo.

Chef Vivek Desirazu, who was sous chef/chef de cuisine at Amber India in SOMA for one year, will be back to head the kitchen. He's currently working as executive chef at Social, a gastropub in South India.

Tony Bellusci of San Francisco-based Bellusci Design will be in charge of designing the space. She also did Oren's Hummus Shop, Mantra and Fraiche in downtown Palo Alto.

"It all depends on the city," Bist said, but he's hoping for an October opening. Stay tuned.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Janna Wilbur, a resident of Stanford,
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

This new location on El Camino is just a couple of blocks or so north of the always-popular Amber India location in Mountain View.

I'm certain that Mr. Bist has carefully considered the matter of location, but as a frequent restaurant patron, and one who's always sad when one of my favorites closes down due to a lack of customers, I'd be a little bit afraid of the old Amber keeping customers away from this new one (or worse, the new Amber becoming a major draw, and the old Amber having to close as a result.)

You remember the early-season Seinfeld episode where Jerry complains that there's a particular corner in his neighborhood that is always home to a new restaurant, because none of them can make the location work? That's how I feel about this location that Amber has chosen for its new restaurant.

It's been host to Pineapple Grill, which only lasted for a little over a year, and then the restaurant there before that, which lasted for a couple years, and several restaurants before that over the past ten years.

The location is nice once you've been there. It's tucked back away from the noise and bustle of El Camino, but it's still easy to get to, and there's a decent amount of parking.

With that compliment paid, the location is also a black hole. Nothing survives there, for whatever reason.

Good luck, Mr. Bist.


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