Shangri-La welcomes customers with an aroma that overtakes senses and leaves mouths watering. Shangri-La is a restaurant with many food flavors with foods that descend from the Himalayas and Nepal. The owner of the restaurant, Meenakshi Sharma, made and designed all the food herself. Sharma came up with the menu by asking regular customers what their thoughts were, and to be honest about how it tasted.
“We feel like we are family and I feel like it’s our growing family,” said Sharma.
Sharma has described her restaurant as family-style because of how often she sees her customers and regulars.
Sharma and her family are from Nepal and moved to Rohnert Park about 20 years ago with their restaurant open for about 10 years now.
“We are from Nepal so our food is more influenced by northern Indian food because we are next to each other,” said Sharma. “I cook here just like how I cook at home.”
The food served at Shangri-La is made and influenced by food Sharma was fed by her mother and family when she lived in Nepal. Food in Nepal is made mostly with different types of spices, lentils and a majority of the food consists of some type of curry. At Shangri-La, they offer three different kinds of curry with different spice levels such as mild, medium and spicy.
Sharma also buys most of her food products locally and fresh. Sharma buys organic but prices are high so she doesn’t want to over spend. She cooks all of her meals freshly before opening for the two sections of the day.
Shangri-La is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. With the two hours between lunch and dinner, Sharma gives the staff an hour break and then an hour before open they start to prepare the food again.
Shangri-La has different lunch specials everyday such as Butter Chicken Thursdays, Tiki Tuesdays, Garlic Naan and much more.
“I love butter chicken Thursday, the deals are so cheap for such a quality serving,” said freshman Marissa House.
With seven different appetizers such as Aaloo Tkki Chaat, Chicken Chhoela and Vegetable Momo, four different salad options, over 35 meal options such as Riata, Lamb Tikka Masala, Aaloo Tikka Masala and a few side order options.
Sharma has tried to make Shangri-La as much as a home environment as possible by getting to know her customers and their children as well as the students that come in from Sonoma State University.
“I always enjoy coming here on the weekends with my friends because it’s such a friendly and homely environment,” said junior Karina Whitehouse.
Shangri-La staffs Sonoma State University students for the up front and for waiting and waitressing. In the kitchen Sharma is more disciplined about who she chooses to make all the food. Each person Sharma has hired to work in the kitchen was trained individually because Sharma has a certain way to cooking the food that she feels should be all the same.
“The people that work at Shangri-La are super cool and really nice, and the food is dank,” said sophomore kinesiology major Kelly Watson.
Shangri-La had a lovely feel to the restaurant and was welcoming and accommodating to all who entered the building.