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Recs for Ambala Dhaba?

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Heading over to Ambala Dhaba on Westwood for the first time. Any recs? Tempted to try the goat.

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  1. Unfortunately, I didn't like a thing there.

    The chicken tikka masala was watery, the sauce tasted flat, not spicy at all, and the chicken in it was dry.

    The palak paneer tasted like metallic wilted spinach. The cheese in it was in hard chunks, and there was no spice depth to the dish.

    The naan was flat (as in physically flat and unrisen), not crispy around the edges at all, and pretty small.

    Mostly, I remember the food being greasy, stingily portioned, and unsatisfying. Eating it only made me crave good Indian even more.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      That's sad to hear! Ambala Dhaba has been one of the few good Indian restaurants that I've found in Southern California. I like the Bakra (Goat) Curry, Chili Garlic Naan, Raita, various Dals, Ludihanna Chicken, Mango Lassi, Shikangvi, Kulfi on a Stick and Kulfi with Falloda. Maybe you experience was a one time event - cook was ill or something.

      1. re: sel

        I hope so. The whole experience was weird. The restaurant was completely desserted when I went. I forget what day of the week it was, but it was around dinner time--after 5pm for sure. Is it usually crowded?

        1. re: Pei

          Although I've been to the Westwood location many times since they first opened, I have only been for lunch. Although the ownership has remained the same, as far as I know, there have been many changes of managers at the Westwood location and some were not changes that improved the dining experience. I have been told that there have been some changes at the Artesia location. The old restaurant has been converted to some sort of a 'fast food' outlet and there is a new restaurant. I haven't checked it out yet. Perhaps the Westwood location has been neglected but I hope not!

          As I have said in earlier posts, Indian/Pakistani cusine Los Angeles does not even come close to the quality and divirsity of what can be found in London or the San Francisco Bay Area. It's been a long time since I've visited my family in England but I travel often to San Francisco and have a hard time deciding which great Pakistani restaurant to walk to in the Tenderloin! I have a list of good places in L.A. but none surpass S.F. Don't feel bad though, no place comes close to L.A. Thai or Mexican!

    2. Being from India, Ambala Dhaba is our favorite hole in the wall to go to on a regular basis. They have several unusual dishes that NO other Indian restaurant has - it is mainly the truckstop food ubiquitious all over north India - spicy hot, and cheap.

      The original location in Artesia has now been converted to a smaller Ambala Express with smaller menu - this place was too small for a regular restaurant. Apparently they have moved their Artesia operations to a bigger location not too far away. I have not been to that new location. I have been to the Westwood location (difficult to find parking) and while it is a proper sit down place, the service has not always been good.

      In terms of recommendations - we usually go for their bakra (goat) dishes - that is their specialty. And the dessert kulfi (home made pistachio ice cream) with faluda (wet noodles in sweet syrup). Usually any bakra dish will come with their naan, so you don't need to pay for that separately. We usually will get from bakra curry, tawa bakra, and also the 2 chickens that are unique and they do really well - Ludhiana chicken and Phillaur chicken.

      1. The goat dishes are their strongest by far. I used to go for lunch and get their bakra lunch special for about $4-$5. Good flavors.

        1. let me cast a vote in favor of Ambala Dhaba, too--the goat and the chicken is really wonderful. and the kulfi's a great way to end the meal.

          1. We live near Ambala and go frequently. We have always found the food tasty though portions are not huge. Ludiana Chx, goat & bharta or korma are good. Love the pickles they serve with the food. Tried Bombay Cafe on Pico the other night as it chowrated highly, naan was greasy and lamb masala was somewhat bland, and a SMALL bowl of soup was $6. It's definately more expensive.