Just thinking about Sansar, an authentic Indian restaurant in Livermore (and Tracy), gets my stomach growling. I love this place. There is nothing better than having lunch at its scrumptious buffet.
To me, the lunch buffet is the perfect introduction to the wonders of Indian food. You can have little tastes of lots of dishes and decide what you like. I once took my teenager with the promise that if he still was starving after we left we would stop at Taco Bell. He ended up leaving stuffed.
You can't go wrong starting out with things like the tandoori chicken. This flavorful chicken is baked in a special clay oven that seals in the flavors of the yogurt, garlic, ginger and other spices.
You also must try my all-time favorite, the butter chicken.I am fairly certain I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner: small pieces of chicken mixed in a yummy sauce that is made with butter, tomatoes and onion. Another favorite is the chicken chili, which includes pieces of chicken mixed with sliced onions, peppers, red chilies, tomatoes and spices.
There also are many vegetarian dishes. Most are in fairly mild sauce, so as long as you like the vegetables — potatoes, peas, spinach, broccoli, carrots — you will find some dishes that you enjoy.
The buffet line includes salad and make sure to try the homemade dressing. And of course Sansar has freshly made naan bread. I like to dip mine in the left over butter chicken sauce on my plate.
The lunch buffet is from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. and costs $8.99. The restaurant also offers a regular lunch and dinner service with a large selection of starters that run from $3.50 to $10.95. Entrees are mostly in the $10.95 - $13.95 range and most are served with basmati rice. Entrees are individually prepared, so you may choose to have your dish mild, medium, spicy or hot. There's a wonderful rack of lamb for $20.95.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous you should try an Indian drink. A lassi is a yogurt based frothy drink that you can have sweet, salted or plain. Or try a Rooh Rfza, which is milk that has some rose water and carrot juice mixed in. A drink that has a floral scent is a little strange, but interesting. And there are beers from India along with some domestic choices or soda, iced tea and lemonade.
Sansar has takeout and delivery and does catering. Allow 20-30 minutes because food is made fresh.
When the weather get warmer, there is seating on the front or back patio.
Sansar Restaurant is at 2220 First St., Livermore. 925-606-6191. Open seven days a week; Lunch 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Dinner 4:30 - 9:30 p.m.