Several South Indian Vegetarian restaurants have cropped up over the past couple of years so that one actually has a choice. Some of these restaurants are even quite good. Typical dishes would be idlis (steamed sour dough rice cakes), vadas (fried doughnuts made of chick pea flour) dosas (crepes made of rice & dal sour dough with or without a potato curry filling) and uttapams (same batter as dosa but spread much thicker on the griddle to make a pancake).
Most Indians would agree that Saravanaa Bhavan (at Mary and Fremont in Sunnyvale) is the best. It is very popular among the Indians, is quite clean and the food is tasty though a bit spicy. They have good Indian sweets and also do a good job of packing the sambar and chutneys if you wish to do a take out.
A less well known restaurant but our favorite is Woodlands at El Camino and Mary. The food is tasty, less spicy than Saravanaa Bhavan and the service is good. Diners are served a small bowl of rasam soup as soon as their order is placed and their rava masala dosas are probably the best in Sunnyvale. It also helps that this place is walking distance from my home.
Still popular is Udipi Palace on El Camino 1 block down from Wolfe. Their buffet at lunch is quite a good spread. I recommend that you visit early, lunch starts at 11.30am, when the place is clean and the food is fresh. Buffet lunch is available on the weekend also for $1 more. Ala carte ordering is available all the time.
Pasand, at El Camino and Lawrence continues to be in business although I have not been to it since the owner was convicted of a crime a few years ago.
Madras Bhavan on El Camino at Fair Oaks is quite good. However, they have “McDonald-out” the place in that all the plates and utensils are throw away styro foam and plastic.
Another modest restaurant goes by the name Madras and is on El Camino at Bernardo. The food is authentic but they also use styrofoam and plastic.
The last restaurant that I know of and a pretty good one is Dasaprakash on Homestead beyond San Tomas. The restaurant is pretty inside, the food is good and not very busy. Their lunch combinations have interesting names but at around $10, are a little pricey for lunch and also are a little bit too substantial for me.