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Terrible Indian -- Westside -- Sad

j
jhulla Feb 7, 2007 08:47 AM

This is just a sad rant after yet another disappointing Indian meal on the Westside.

I've now eaten at just about every Westside Indian restaurant. Every. Single. One. You name it, I've eaten at it.

As an Indian (born in Delhi) to be precise, but raised in the US, I've gotten accustomed to Americanized Indian food. Sometimes corners are cut. But the level they are cut here in Los Angeles is truly astounding. Examples:

- Samosa fillings that are bland, devoid of any spices. Just potato mush.
- Dals that are clearly the hodgepodge reheated combinations of yesterday's leftovers.
- Tandoori chicken that is dry, unflavored, or just a poor cut.

And FORGET about getting the following:
- Dahi papdi (Crispy wafers with yogurt, tamarind, spices, etc.)
- Pani puri (Crispy and puffed things that are dunked in spicy liquid.)
- Bhatture Cholle (Fried bread served with slow-cooked chick peas.)

I miss San Francisco (eating at divey Vik's in Berkeley or the Tenderloin's Shalimar or the Mission's Pakwan.) I even miss the chain restaurants (Chaat Cafe). Looking at the menu and pictures on this page makes me cry: http://www.chaatcafes.com/

I'm thinking a quick Southwest hop up to the Bay Area next weekend and a lot of Tums on the way down.

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  1. c
    carter RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 08:53 AM

    Offer your thoughts on how Clay Pit and Nawab would fit into your rankings for westside Indian places. Also, provide names of those deemed acceptable in your mind.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carter
      j
      jhulla RE: carter Feb 7, 2007 09:32 AM

      I go to Ambala Cafe on Westwood every two or three months.

      I also go to New India Grill on Westwood every two or three months.

      1. re: carter
        d
        donald Feinstein RE: carter May 17, 2008 08:15 PM

        IMHO: I would not rank Clay Pit in any restaurant category it is so bad.

      2. tony michaels RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 08:57 AM

        Have you been to Annapurna?
        10200 Venice Blvd. Culver City (310) 204-5500

        1 Reply
        1. re: tony michaels
          j
          jhulla RE: tony michaels Feb 7, 2007 09:16 AM

          Yeah -- Annapurna is pretty good. I mention it below. It is on a monthly rotation. I've had some really salty dosas there though. Being North Indian, I like Annapurna, but I do not crave it. I crave the basics from my childhood (good samosas, bhatture chole and above all, chaat).

        2. s
          sel RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 09:06 AM

          You forgot to mention where you had your most recent "disappointing Indian meal" which as I have posted before is the case with most Indian/Pakistani restaurants in the area covered by the L.A. CH board! There is not one Pakistani that can compare with the S.F. Bay Area Pakistani's! My current favorite is Lahore Karahi!
          I have posted lists here in the past of places that are good or at least ok but they are overshadowed by the mediocrity of most Indo/Pak in this area, so sad.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sel
            j
            jhulla RE: sel Feb 7, 2007 09:23 AM

            Last night's disappointment was Akbar's. Again -- the service and ambiance were fantastic. If you want to take a non Indian friend out for a nice Indian meal -- this is the place to go.

            Unfortunately, the food just didn't meet my basic expectations of Indian cooking: to be flavorful. My mother had a spice cupboard containing no less than 50 spices. Each dish she prepared had its own unique blend and balance of spices and flavors.

            This is where I had the bland samosas. The outside was perfect -- in composition and the deep fry level. The inside was a clump of boiled potatoes with a bit of salt. Missing were all the spices necessary for a good samosa filling: cumin (very surprised by this), aamchur (dried mango powder) and even good ole chaat masala (a boxed spice mix for lazy cooks.)

            Again -- I doubt this matters here in Los Angeles -- as most of the clientele is not Indian.

            1. re: jhulla
              s
              sel RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 09:35 AM

              Well it matters to this non-Indian whose best friend was born in India and has enjoyed his mums home cooking. I plan trips to S.F., especially the Tenderloin, for the great food. I wish that I could find it here as well! I have not been to Akbar's, I usually prefer more casual and reasonably priced Indian and Pakistani restaurants.

              1. re: sel
                j
                jhulla RE: sel Feb 7, 2007 09:47 AM

                Apologies for the slight -- in fact the friend who introduced me to Shalimar in San Francisco when I first moved out there is the whitest white boy you could imagine. He told me that he just had to take me to his favorite lunch place -- Shalimar -- he ate there at least two times a week. I rolled my eyes and said yes. I was shocked to discover the greasy Pakistani truck stop style food. I loved it.

                I do not remember the numbers -- but when I compared the size of the Indian population in LA county versus the Bay Area -- it was substantially smaller here. Therefore, IMHO, there are far fewer Indians to keep the restaurants "honest" as it were.

                1. re: jhulla
                  a_and_w RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 03:28 PM

                  Shalimar may be authentic but I was underwhelmed the one time I visited, though this was several years ago.

            2. re: sel
              j
              jhulla RE: sel Feb 7, 2007 09:39 AM

              I just looked up Lahore Karahi -- man -- I am so going to eat there on my next trip to the Bay Area. Thanks!

            3. j
              jhulla RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 09:12 AM

              Clay Pit was pretty good -- the ambiance and service was excellent. I would go back in a few months. I had two issues 1) the dishes were underspiced (as in missing flavors). This seems to be a common flaw down here in Los Angeles. I suspect it is because the majority of the clientele is not Indian -- the owners and chefs have chosen to simplify the dishes in an attempt to make them more broadly appealing. For example, I've never had sulphurous black salt ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_salt ) on anything here in Los Angeles. 2) For a random dinner out, at about $45, the dinner for two was expensive. I couldn't possibly go back there once or twice a week on my budget.

              Nawab -- I like the location and the people. And to be honest -- I've only been for brunch -- albeit once every month or so. Unfortunately, this is where I've had the hodgepodge leftover dal combination experience. The brunch has gone down in quality in the past few years. I go because it is close and optimistically believe that I deserve to have a good Indian brunch nearby. Been disappointed. I have not eaten here for dinner.

              My metric for good Indian is simple -- a restaurant I want to and can afford to visit at least twice a week. Even ignoring cost for a moment -- there isn't a single place I want to visit more than once a month.

              One that is on the monthly rotation is Annapurna -- on Venice - cross street is Jasmine. In a strip mall. Serves pretty darn good Dosas. Cheap.

              BTW -- here is an example of an innovating and interesting Indian place that I wish were in Los Angeles. I have it on list to visit next time I go to DC.

              http://www.chilefire.com/posting-deta...

              From the review of Rasika in the Washington DC area. "If managed carefully by a chef who takes the time necessary to approach the spices, a good curry will leave you with hints of saffron, star anise, coriander, pepper, fenugreek.."

              3 Replies
              1. re: jhulla
                mollyomormon RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 04:58 PM

                I ate dinner on Friday night at Nawab and, although I don't know much about Indian food, I will say that it was infinitely better in terms of seasoning than the all-around bland food that we ate at Akbar several weeks before. That was the second time I'd eaten horribly bland food at Akbar and I don't think I'll be back.

                1. re: jhulla
                  a
                  anthead RE: jhulla Jun 29, 2007 03:56 PM

                  This is absurd - I can't think of a single Indian dish that would combine saffron, star anise, coriander, pepper and fenugreek. Star anise anyway is a fairly rare ingredient in the cuisine of most states of India.

                  1. re: jhulla
                    b
                    bromion RE: jhulla Jul 23, 2007 06:53 PM

                    Clay Pit is one of my favorites, though it is somewhat more expensive than others in the area. As for spices, try the Vindaloo. I ordered it spicy once, and they weren't kidding around! I'm just a white boy, but I can deal with spicy, and it was hot!

                    Their buffet lunch is a good deal -- $15 with a tea.

                  2. j
                    Jack Flash RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 09:25 AM

                    Have you tried Bombay Cafe, Jaipur, All India Cafe, or Akbar, all of which are located on the Westside?

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Jack Flash
                      j
                      jhulla RE: Jack Flash Feb 7, 2007 09:34 AM

                      Have tried, but been disappointed by Bombay Cafe, All India Cafe and Akbar.

                      Have not tried Jaipur. Will try it.

                      I was impressed by Samosa House. I think the name has changed recently. More of a restaurant in a grocery store. The food was unusual. Have not been back after my first visit -- so I can't say more.

                      1. re: jhulla
                        c
                        carter RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 12:44 PM

                        As an FYI, Bombay Cafe is now owned by Nawab of India, so beware!

                        1. re: jhulla
                          Dommy RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 10:09 PM

                          Samosa House used to be Bharats Bazzar, they are doing such wonderful things now that they are focusing on food... Absolutely the FRESHEST Samosas on the west side with GREAT Mango Lassis...

                          --Dommy!

                          1. re: Dommy
                            a
                            artfoodhistorianista RE: Dommy Feb 10, 2007 03:15 PM

                            I dissagree...the mango lassi at Samosa House is not that great...it's quite obvious by the NEON color of it that the grama who pours it made used some sort of mango puree instead of throwing some fresh mango inside...don't get me wrong I love SAMOSA HOUSE and the samosas are fresh and not overly greasy...but when it comes to lassi...they've gotta revisit that recipe...

                            i am not indian, but i am north/east african and portuguese...my honey is indian and together we have a very discerning palate from years of HOMECOOKING. we are both vegetarians (although i am stricter than he)...of our experience with indian restaurants we have been overall fed up with the food we are served at some places...i mean if we say we want it SPICY that means leave the FLIPPIN seeds in the chilies foo! franchised indian food restaurants make me frown!

                            INDIA'S TANDOORI
                            AKBAR
                            INDIA'S CLAY OVEN
                            INDIA'S SWEETS & SPICES (on venice)

                            another one ive been disappointed with...SHERSHAH....ive been to ANNAPURNA as well and its good but i dont necessarily crave south indian food.

                            it's like OLIVE GARDEN is to ITALIAN food...no thank you for the leftovers from last night at a reduced price/all you can eat!

                            We've been to CHANDNI in Santa Monica and they've managed to do a good job more often than not.

                            The moral of the story is that we all have different taste buds...mine are similar to my boyfriends because north and east african food is in a similar "palate"...but if your not accustomed to a certain way of cooking and would not be dissappointed due to eating out and tasting food that does not taste as it "should"...all ethnic foods are usually made to please a broad audience...that sometimes can make or break business...EAT AT HOME it always tastes better...hehe

                          2. re: jhulla
                            a
                            artfoodhistorianista RE: jhulla Feb 10, 2007 03:49 PM

                            yes the food is unusual for me...but i think they have a portion of the menu that is jain friendly and then selections that are vege friendly. the mom/owner is from rajastan and her husband was trained in a culinary school somewhere in north india (i think i read this somewhere)...so, i say all that to say that i think they take a lot of risks with the food instead of being regionally specific.

                            1. re: jhulla
                              c
                              Cinnamon RE: jhulla Apr 30, 2007 08:38 PM

                              There is to me a substantial difference between the Akbar in Santa Monica and the Akbar in Marina del Rey - I like the latter. I've had good daal there and even mixed vegetables that were very nice. Granted, my main dish is usually the gringo Chicken Tikka Masala... they have a nice fish recipe also. If you ever find yourself at Jiraffe in Santa Monica, by the way, I'd encourage trying the samosas there. I'm sure they're nowhere near authentic but they are some of the best I've had. I also like Annapurna quite a bit (though have had better at Akbar on a good day for Akbar). One of the very best curries I had in L.A. was in a little take-out almost adjacent to Annapurna - a goat curry with all sorts of nuances and different spices at different "octaves." But I believe it's now a nail salon!!

                            2. re: Jack Flash
                              a
                              anothernotch RE: Jack Flash Feb 7, 2007 08:50 PM

                              I second Jaipur. They have a particularly nice buffet, especially on weekends.

                            3. j
                              jauntygirl RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 09:35 AM

                              Jhulla, have you ever tried any of the Indian restaurants in Cerritos/Artesia? Far from the Westside, I know, but I've had good luck with a few places. In particular, I love the India Restaurant.

                              I don't think they have a website, but here's the address and phone:

                              17824 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701
                              562 860-5621

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: jauntygirl
                                j
                                jhulla RE: jauntygirl Feb 7, 2007 09:50 AM

                                Yes -- Artesia has some pretty good places. I usually end up at Bombay Sweets and Snacks. After I'm done with my meal, I usually order a dozen samosas to go and leave in my fridge to reheat during the week. Yeah -- it is terrible to reheat the fried goodness of samosas -- but a toaster oven isn't half bad at it.

                                But at nearly 1 hour each way, Artesia is pretty far for this Westside resident.

                                1. re: jhulla
                                  g
                                  glutton RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 11:02 AM

                                  You're willing to fly to San Francisco, but you're not willing to drive to Artesia? It doesn't take an hour. I drive that way everyday and unless you decide to drive down the 10 during evening rush hour, you can be in Artesia in 25-35 minutes.

                                  1. re: glutton
                                    j
                                    jhulla RE: glutton Feb 7, 2007 01:51 PM

                                    I've read enough posts from foodies on this board to know that a flight in search of satisfying food is by all means unexceptional.

                                    My trips to Artesia rarely clock in under 45 minutes. Even so -- for some reason, none of the places I've visited there elicit the same level of drool from my mouth as thinking of Vik's/Shalimar/Pakwan in the Bay Area. Call me crazy.

                                    1. re: jhulla
                                      m
                                      Mando RE: jhulla Jul 3, 2007 12:11 PM

                                      Have you been to The India Restaurant as stated above. Its the place I always go when i want Indian in L.A. I haven't found better. Sadly I haven't found a good South Indian place when i can grab a Dosa like they had when I was visiting Mumbai.

                                2. re: jauntygirl
                                  s
                                  sel RE: jauntygirl Feb 7, 2007 10:03 AM

                                  I had the only great non-veg Indian buffet that I've had in S. Cal. at The India Restaurant. At least on that day, wonderful lamb shanks in a very flavorful sauce.

                                3. c
                                  chowmominLA RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 10:05 AM

                                  I had a very good dinner at Nawab last night, I almost posted about it. Nawab is my favorite Indian place. I've never been to brunch so I don't know how it compares. I have no idea how authentic it is but I think the food tastes very good. The papadum is light and crispy, a little like a chinese shrimp chip served with Peking duck, and better than anywhere I've tried; I think it tastes like cardboard everywhere else in my limited Indian exposure. Their naan is also light, flaky and a little bit buttery. I got the vegetarian combo and they let me substitute the saag with korma, so I was able to get all my favorites (korma, bartha, naan, rice pullav, a samosa and all the other standard sides). The service is friendly and excellent. There is rarely a wait () usually only about 4 or 5 parties there) and it's nice and quiet with good atmosphere/low lighting (it would actually be a great choice for a last minute weekend date.) The only bad experience I had there was getting food to go that took forever. But otherwise it's great.

                                  1. t
                                    tluu RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 10:06 AM

                                    Yeah I've found Westside Indian pretty dismal too. After years of the Tandoorloin I've had trouble adjusting to Indian here in LA, but if you like Shalimar in SF you must head out to Al-Noor in Lawndale which is not so far from the Westside. Tiny place with no atmosphere whatsoever in a depressing strip mall, surly staff but truly great, affordable food and big portions. I think some of the dishes are actually better than Shalimar but very similar in style. Oh and when you order spicy you get it. They don't dumb the heat level.

                                    Al Noor
                                    15112 Inglewood Ave.
                                    Lawndale, CA 90260
                                    310 675 4700

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: tluu
                                      j
                                      jhulla RE: tluu Feb 7, 2007 10:39 AM

                                      Thanks for the recommendation! I'll give it a try. BTW, the staff at Shalimar does surly quite well too. :-)

                                      1. re: jhulla
                                        t
                                        tluu RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 02:20 PM

                                        Yes but that's part of the charm of Shalimar. I always recommend it to my friends with that disclaimer = ) Others on the board may recommend Al Watan (disappointing) and Bilal (haven't tried) to you that are nearby, but try Al Noor first. It seems like a family run operation with an authentic old world grandma. Just don't expect a smile.

                                        1. re: tluu
                                          n
                                          Nicole RE: tluu Feb 7, 2007 05:11 PM

                                          I liked the flavors at Al Noor, and had some good vegetarian dishes there, but the chicken dishes were really dried out.

                                    2. j
                                      Jesdamala RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 10:33 AM

                                      Where are the Chola's, Devi's, Tamarind's of NYC in Los Angeles?
                                      Upscale, nice environments, great service, interesting twists on the standard menu. Does any place come close?

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Jesdamala
                                        a_and_w RE: Jesdamala Feb 7, 2007 03:30 PM

                                        Or how about the Roomalis, Dimples, and Mina's? Most of the LA places I've seen so far seem more upscale (e.g, Bombay Cafe and Akbar's).

                                        1. re: a_and_w
                                          j
                                          Jesdamala RE: a_and_w Feb 7, 2007 04:06 PM

                                          There are upscale Indian restaurants in LA, nice environs, good service, but the menu's remain, for the most part, tired or stagnant. I am sorry, I don't know the ones you mentioned...but three favorites of mine in NYC.

                                          1. re: Jesdamala
                                            a_and_w RE: Jesdamala Feb 7, 2007 04:41 PM

                                            Oh, I just meant where are the less expensive indian places in LA. Dimple is a south indian place with good chaats, etc.. Roomali is an indian roll place (basically indian burritos). Mina's is a much vaunted Bangladeshi-Indian place in Queens.

                                            1. re: a_and_w
                                              j
                                              Jesdamala RE: a_and_w Feb 7, 2007 06:20 PM

                                              Oh, I know. I eat at all kinds of places, here and in NYC. In the last two years I spent much time in NYC and loved dining when possible at the ones I mentioned, and believe me I ate at many hole in the walls as well, although all in Manhattan. I had some special, spectacular meals at the three I mentioned. They had much more than the usual menus, and unique items for the Tandoor. At Chola we had some amazing lamb chops, we just told the waiter what we liked and told him we would like to be surprised. Our meal was sensational. We ate with vegetarian friends at Tamarind and they ordered, and again, unusual, and fabulous. Going back next week and will try to dine at all three, again, as I won't be back for a long time. I wish there were restaurants like them, like Tabla in LA, for special meals, not everyday or every other day.

                                      2. PaulF RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 10:41 AM

                                        jhulla ...

                                        I'm not about to defend Akbar to a native Indian. I used to like it more than I do now, for what it's worth.

                                        But I do know this (and it comes straight from the owner): The food at their Wilshire Boulevard location is spicier than the food at their Marina Del Rey location. He said his customers in the marina preferred blander food,

                                        So, if you had that Samosa in the Marina, it might be that the one on Wilshire is more to your liking. If you had that Samosa on Wilshire, then you better stay away from the marina location (it's gonna be even blander) ... :)

                                        I like Samosa House at the moment, but would really like to find a great Westside spot ... my personal favorite is long gone ...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: PaulF
                                          s
                                          sel RE: PaulF Feb 7, 2007 10:52 AM

                                          It's sad, no infuriating, when restaurants can't, no won't 'spice' their food according to the customers request! I often have this problem at local Indian/Pakistani AND Thai restaurants.

                                        2. PaulF RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 10:43 AM

                                          BTW - There is an Indian restaurant in the Marina Marketplace in the same parking lot at Barnes and Nobles, to the west of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, sort of between Coffee Bean and what used to be Tower Records. It's on the other side of the building from the Aunt Kizzy side, across the street from Gelsons.

                                          I've only been once and remember liking it. For some reason I've never been back, just habit, maybe ...

                                          Anyone else ever been there ...?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: PaulF
                                            tatertots RE: PaulF Feb 7, 2007 12:34 PM

                                            Shershah! Lunch Buffet at Shershah rocks and beats any other indian lunch buffet IMHO. I feel badly for "jhulla" - sucks that there's nothing that close to "home" cooking for her/him. I think all westside indian restaurants are geared towards the non-native indian foodie, kind of like where chinese restaurants on the westside charge patrons for rice - craziness! Perhaps where there's more natives, there is better "Indian" food.

                                            1. re: tatertots
                                              PaulF RE: tatertots Feb 7, 2007 12:41 PM

                                              Shershah ... thanks ... it's good, huh?

                                              I'm gonna go there next time I hanker for Indian.

                                              1. re: PaulF
                                                c
                                                Cinnamon RE: PaulF Apr 30, 2007 08:40 PM

                                                Been there and have nothing at all bad to say about it. The MDR Akbar is, to me, several levels above that though. I would have no qualms about stopping in if I was right there in the area though, and would enjoy it.

                                            2. re: PaulF
                                              westsidegal RE: PaulF Feb 7, 2007 09:42 PM

                                              yes, i've been.
                                              for some reason i like their lunch buffets better than their dinner a la carte offerings.
                                              can't explain it.
                                              at any rate, although i like shershah, i like the food at samosa house/bhraat bazaar more. the seasonings are more complex at samosa house, and some of the dishes at shershah are too rich for me.
                                              still, sometimes the styrofoam plates at samosa house just don't cut it.

                                            3. g
                                              goldangl95 RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 11:04 AM

                                              Al Wattan. Cheap, good sized portions. Tender tandoori and spicy, more oil-based Pakastani Curries. Also, by the airport.

                                              I've also found Ambala Dhaba (on westwood) spices their foods well. However, it does ape these typically "upscale" Indian restaurants. Prices are expensive, portions small.

                                              1. t
                                                tigercactus RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 01:30 PM

                                                what about places in the valley? have you tried those? Like woodlands in chatsworth. (Ok, not as good as Vik's ... )

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: tigercactus
                                                  SauceSupreme RE: tigercactus Feb 7, 2007 02:46 PM

                                                  Woodlands would have been my pick, too, but he hasn't been able to go to Artesia to visit the Woodlands there, let alone the one in Woodland Hills.

                                                  I've actually been happy with the Indian food in the Woodland Hills area. My disclaimer, though, is that I don't spend much time in the Artesia area (and so I'm not well exposed to all of its Indian or Filipino faire.)

                                                  1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                    t
                                                    tigercactus RE: SauceSupreme Feb 8, 2007 08:16 AM

                                                    there seems to be a significant indian population in woodland hills (or nearby) -- where else is good? we have been to woodlands, india sweets and spices, and another place on topanga around the corner from india sweets and spices

                                                    1. re: tigercactus
                                                      SauceSupreme RE: tigercactus Feb 9, 2007 12:06 AM

                                                      I like Taste of India (behind Jerry's Famous Deli and Jamba Juice on the corner of Ventura and Topanga Cyn). I also like that place around the corner from IS&S, as well as Delhi Palace and Shalimar.

                                                2. m
                                                  mlgb RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 02:04 PM

                                                  Nizam? Recommended by a Delhi native for the buffet lunch. I thought it was pretty good.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mlgb
                                                    j
                                                    Jesdamala RE: mlgb Feb 7, 2007 02:13 PM

                                                    I like Nizam. I don't love it, but I do like it alot. I find I get the same menu items, no matter how often I go there. I just wish there wasn't the same old, same old on every menu. I know the OP was talking about something different, and this slightly digresses, but there is a lack if imagination, Americanization of the food, in just about every Indian restaurant on the west side, where for practical purposes, I prefer to dine.

                                                  2. t
                                                    tuckychica RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 02:47 PM

                                                    Love this post. Great help since I have friends coming in who are looking for quality Indian. Thanks.

                                                    1. l
                                                      losfelizhound RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 03:44 PM

                                                      This post should help you guys, I did update it recently:

                                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/320964

                                                      Note: I am not a big fan of the Indian restaurants on the Westside, been to a few and did not find them worthy of being mentioned on this board.

                                                      1. m
                                                        manku RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 03:51 PM

                                                        I'm surprised no one has mentioned India's Grill in the minimall on San Vicenta/La Cienega...I was raised on NY Indian (both 6th street and the high end midtown places)...and not only do I love it, but everytime I order take out for my NYC friends, they adore it as well.

                                                        The portions, btw, are MUCH LARGER for takeout than dining in.

                                                        Everything I've eaten there is good.

                                                        Coachboy

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: manku
                                                          a_and_w RE: manku Feb 7, 2007 04:00 PM

                                                          Do you know if they deliver?

                                                          1. re: a_and_w
                                                            m
                                                            manku RE: a_and_w Feb 7, 2007 04:23 PM

                                                            They do indeed...in fact, I order in more than 90% of the time...be aware that spicy means spicy.

                                                            They may charge a delivery charge of a few bucks too

                                                            1. re: manku
                                                              a_and_w RE: manku Feb 7, 2007 04:42 PM

                                                              Awesome! I will try them posthaste...

                                                              1. re: a_and_w
                                                                CynD RE: a_and_w Feb 9, 2007 02:47 PM

                                                                Please don't confuse this one with the Indian place in the strip mall at 3rd and LaCienega (can't remember the name). Son and I tried it last year, and it was vile. Not bland, but tasteless (except for spicy heat) and poor quality ingredients (iirc, canned or frozen veggies, for example).

                                                          2. re: manku
                                                            t
                                                            tarabell RE: manku Feb 9, 2007 08:16 PM

                                                            I second India's Grill, that's been my mainstay for the last 5 yrs or so. Well-spiced.

                                                          3. j
                                                            jauntygirl RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 04:45 PM

                                                            I'm chiming in on Al Noor. They're essentially down the street from us, in the LA way of being "down the street", so we're there whenever we're too lazy to make the trek to Artesia for the India Restaurant.

                                                            1. b
                                                              bulavinaka RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 06:03 PM

                                                              I'd be the last to claim to be an expert on any of the many Indian cuisines, but I do enjoy the samosas at - Samosas Place - on Washington in Culver City... The potatoes are not mushy, and the spices smell freshly roasted... The other foods behind the glass taste good to me, but the portions can be quite small...

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                westsidegal RE: bulavinaka Feb 7, 2007 06:20 PM

                                                                i really like most of the food i've had at samosa house.
                                                                i find the complexity of their spices far superior to any of the other indian restaurants around--especially their jackfruit and their curried garbanzo beans.

                                                                if you go there, it will be worth you while to ask for a taste of their mango/banana savory soup.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                                  b
                                                                  bulavinaka RE: westsidegal Feb 7, 2007 06:31 PM

                                                                  Wow - who would ever think that combo would work in a savory soup!?!? Will give it a go next time... thanks

                                                              2. a
                                                                aminoff RE: jhulla Feb 7, 2007 11:26 PM

                                                                Have you tried Tufaan on Sepulveda, just south of Ventura?

                                                                1. v
                                                                  victorward RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 08:07 AM

                                                                  it does not sound like you will ever be happy. i will NEVER find my mother's spaghetti and meatballs at a restaurant. she is not italian or a professional chef, it is not authentic or even gourmet. but it is mine. stop worrying about things being "authentic,"-that is a relative term to each individual on certain levels. you have to change how you are grading your experience.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: victorward
                                                                    w
                                                                    WBGuy RE: victorward Feb 9, 2007 09:44 AM

                                                                    I don't think I fully agree with you there. It's unfair to place the onus on the original poster for demanding high standards.

                                                                    The poster seems to know what is truly authentic Indian food. While I'll agree with you that it's unlikely that he (or she) will find Indian food bliss in the westside, I don't think one should compromise on one's taste, and simply "grade on the curve". That's not Chowhound. The least mediocre of foods, while it may fill the stomach, will never satisfy your soul, not when you've experienced the full potential of what it could have been.

                                                                    This is why I always travel to SGV for Chinese food for example, rather than eat the diabetes-inducing glop that's so prevalent in the Westside. The OP will probably have to likewise go to Artesia to relive that taste of home.

                                                                    Now, will some kind soul please open a halfway decent Singaporean restaurant? :)

                                                                    1. re: WBGuy
                                                                      v
                                                                      victorward RE: WBGuy Feb 9, 2007 10:43 AM

                                                                      i am not saying the OP should settle in any way, finding the best is the goal of any search. but what is "most authentic" may not be the best and vice versa. i understand the urge to get the real thing, but the reality is that that rarely exists outside of the sphere in which the real thing actually exists. wow. that sounds incredible existential, which i guess is okay in the food world, but i hope you understand what i am saying. to put it more bluntly, quit whining about it and find something you like, even if you have to get your mother's recipes and make it yourself or fly to sf or drive to artesia. also, finding a restaurant where you want to go twice a week and be able to afford it and walk to it and have the waiter give you a massage and the ingredients be flown in daily and have parking and be spicy (but not too spicy!!!) and great atmosphere....you get the idea-is a bit much to ask. this whole thread just made me scratch my head.

                                                                    2. re: victorward
                                                                      j
                                                                      jhulla RE: victorward Feb 9, 2007 11:08 AM

                                                                      WBGuy captures my thoughts exceedingly well.

                                                                      Let me ask you a question -- can you taste the difference between bottled pasta sauces and ones made from scratch using fresh tomatoes? How about those made with heirloom tomatoes? Or tomatoes picked fresh from your backyard garden?

                                                                      The point isn't to find restaurant kitchens that match my personal expectations of "authenticity". But to find ones that satisfy my expectations of well done Indian food. As an example, restaurants that cut corners by mixing oddball leftovers into a "vegatable curry" are shameful.

                                                                      Like many others on this board -- I'm as happy sitting in a greasy diner eating a great sandwich and perfectly cooked fries as I am worrying about how much the truffle shavings on my impeccable pasta are going to cost me. In both cases, it is about the quality of the food and the joy of a perfect meal.

                                                                      1. re: jhulla
                                                                        v
                                                                        victorward RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 03:42 PM

                                                                        i totally understand from where you are coming, i just disagree with a blanket statement that poo poo's almost everything. you said so yourself-YOUR expectations. that is all i am saying. i am commenting on quality (of course i can taste the difference in foods), but to say that something is bad because it does not meet your expectations is much different from something being truly bad (like whacking out a veggie curry like you said). i find it really hard to believe that you have been to every west side indian restaurant and even harder to believe that not even one of them has come relatively close to pleasing you. we live in the 2nd largest city in the country. i think the common denominaor here is you. i am having a hard time making the point without sounding mean or trite, i hope you don't think i am attacking you.

                                                                        1. re: victorward
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                                                                          igj RE: victorward Feb 9, 2007 04:47 PM

                                                                          It is not just jhulla; plenty of people think that the Westside lacks any decent northern Indian places. I pretty much stick to souther food 'round these parts and even then only at 2 places - Annapurna and Samosa House.

                                                                          1. re: victorward
                                                                            omotosando RE: victorward Feb 9, 2007 08:04 PM

                                                                            Gee, I am not Indian, so I do not have my mom`s food to compare, but I do not think I need to be Indian to know that the Indian food on the Westside is lousy. Not only is not appropriately spiced, but they are not using good quality fresh ingredients or freshly ground high-quality spices (yes, there is a difference between "curry" powder bought in bulk from a restaurant supply house and fresh ground spices mixed by hand). The real question for me is why we live in the 2nd largest city in the U.S. and most of our restaurant food is so bad. I used to love Indian food, but I rarely eat it anymore because I cannot stand how bad it is on the Westside.

                                                                      2. r
                                                                        rockstar_howard RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 10:36 AM

                                                                        Tandoor-A-India - Playa del Rey

                                                                        I strongly recommend a drive to PDR for some of the best indian food in town. The chicken tikka masala is amazing as are the somosas and the Palak Paneer is also very good. They also have a great selection of indian beers. Prices are reasonable and I love the food.

                                                                        This place is small and family owned. Very warm staff who will remember you and treat your nice. Cozy but not flashy, romantic or exciting. Great food and nice staff goes far with us though - so we make the drive from Miracle Mile.

                                                                        www.tandooraindia.com

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: rockstar_howard
                                                                          westsidegal RE: rockstar_howard Feb 9, 2007 11:09 AM

                                                                          have to disagree with you about the food quality at tandoor-a-india in playa del rey.
                                                                          i've been dragged there many, many, times because of it's convenience.
                                                                          the food is just truly awful.

                                                                        2. f
                                                                          f_diva RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                                          jhulla bhai, try bilal (airport/manchester). samosas not terribly great, but everything else is awesome...great nehari and haleem...I would trust them with daal. I think I saw some chaat-papri type stuff on their menu as well.

                                                                          I don't remember if they have samosas, but the tandoori chicken is good and the seekh kabab rolls are excellent at chutney's on pico at barrington.

                                                                          1. g
                                                                            Gentile RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 01:42 PM

                                                                            I agree with Chutney's (Hallal Indian Fast Food). Its fairly cheap, fast not too greasy, great tandoori chicken, good (hot and fresh) naan. My favorites are the gringo tandoori masala, saag and tandoori chicken. $2.99 lunch specials weekdays till 4pm! But they are closed on Sundays. Still my favorite Indian other than India's Sweet & Spices in Culver City.

                                                                            1. mstinawu RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 02:02 PM

                                                                              Maybe you should learn to cook from Mom. =P

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                                                                                longtimehere RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 08:31 PM

                                                                                I'll second Chutneys. It tastes homemade to me, and I'm Indian. However, my parents aren't great cooks :). Of course, average homemade Indian beats most restaurants. My only complaint with Chutneys is that it's not super-spicy-- with one exception-- their nehari is quite nice! Not as good as Al Watan's, but really rich in flavor. Chutney's and maybe Annapurna are the only places I will go back to on the west side.

                                                                                1. l
                                                                                  longtimehere RE: jhulla Feb 9, 2007 08:33 PM

                                                                                  Oops I forgot-- just for samosas, India Sweets and Samosa House are fine. For mango lassis Chutneys and even Hurry Curry are good- I think as long as the yogurt is homemade, it's hard to screw up.

                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                    mmmmangos RE: jhulla Feb 10, 2007 05:29 PM

                                                                                    I miss Bay Area Indian food too. But I do like India Sweets & Spices on Los Feliz. They fill the Vik's void with all kinds of chaat items, and I think they do have chhole bhatura. It's great. But yeah, it's not the most convenient place to reach from the Westside. I'll also add to the chorus that likes Samosa House. They make a lot of homestyle food that isn't on display...Punjabi kadhi, chhole and the like, depending on the day. For a more proper restaurant, try India's Grill, as others have suggested...I tried it once and it was the only "everyday" sit-down Indian restaurant I considered re-trying. I've ordered delivery tonight--it seems a little pricey for take-out but I seem to remember having TONS of leftovers last time. Good luck; for some reason it IS harder here--my mom has a plethora of good Indian places near her in Contra Costa County, but here in diverse LA, it's a litle tougher to sort out the good ones.

                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                      sweetTooth RE: jhulla Apr 30, 2007 07:50 PM

                                                                                      Jhulla ji, I recently had dahi puri at Taste of India and it was fairly good. It's a block west of Annapurna, same side of Venice, in a strip mall. I believe the nearest cross street is Motor. They also serve 'mote mote aloo/gobi/mooli pranthe' that you as a Delhi-ite might relish. I think their paranthas are a little doughy in the center. However, since I can barely finish it, am happy to eat the well stuffed parts. Pretty cheap too.

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                                                                                        AmarV RE: jhulla Jul 3, 2007 11:24 AM

                                                                                        Ate at Lahore Karahi a few weeks ago when I was up in the Bay Area and it was great. Took my parents along too - we were on a family road trip after graduation - and they also loved it. I can't remember exactly what we ate though I do remember that it was all good. The fish tikka was particularly tasty (the chef/owner has won awards for it) and the kheer was good too. The service was a litttle patchy but worth it for the food which is cooked to order in an open kitchen so you know they're not cutting corners.

                                                                                        As for north Indian food in LA I have had much the same problem as you and although I can and do cook (and am lucky enough to have a roommate who brings back home cooking from his aunt's place - saag and makhi di roti!) there are times I just want to go out and get some decent, simple home-cooked Indian food - seemingly an impossibly task here in LA.

                                                                                        Luckily I have found a couple of places that I do like and would recommend them to you. First is Al Watan on Inglewood Blvd in Hawthorne - a hole in the wall serving Pakistani food - their meat dishes are particularly good.
                                                                                        My latest favourite and one I tried just the other day is not far from I live near USC - I recently posted about it on the boards but unfortunately I can't remember the exact name of the place - it's know amongst USC's Indian students as 23rd St Cafe as it's on 23rd St just east of Hoover. From the outside it looks like a mom and pop Mexican place but although they do serve Mexican food their Indian food is what keeps it full of desi students looking for a taste of home.

                                                                                        I'm going there for lunch today so will add all the contact details to my post later this afternoon. If you're looking for good homestyle Punjabi / North Indian food I recommend it. The link to the review I wrote is given below...

                                                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/417003

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: AmarV
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                                                                                          AmarV RE: AmarV Jul 3, 2007 07:46 PM

                                                                                          So I went to the 23rd St Cafe (that is it's name) for lunch today. Once again the food was great - I ordered the super chicken combo - rice, dhaal, chicken curry, and shane murgh (marinated roast chicken).

                                                                                          The shane murgh was very tasty with a real hit of ginger and cumin and a little chilli. A bit dry maybe but still good. The dhaal was awesome once again - hot and spiced just right. The chicken curry was delicious too. Not overly spiced but with a good flavour and just enough heat (though I could have done with a bit more chilli - maybe next time I'll see if they can make it hotter). All of the food is simple but delicous - the kind of cooking you get in good home kitchens.

                                                                                          I also tried the samosas and while they were better than most I've tried in LA they weren't amazing. The skin was nice and crispy (not chewy like a lot of places serve) and the filling was a flavourful mix of potatoes and peas with a good spice and chilli kick to it.

                                                                                          Here are the details:
                                                                                          23rd St Cafe
                                                                                          936 W 23rd St
                                                                                          (corner of 23rd and Portland)
                                                                                          Business hours 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
                                                                                          213 749 1593

                                                                                        2. n
                                                                                          NumeroUnoEat RE: jhulla Jul 3, 2007 09:03 PM

                                                                                          agree, though I've had two very nice meals at JAIPUR on Pico
                                                                                          in the last two weeks. Fresh Halibut from their tandoor was fine
                                                                                          as was w.w. roti.

                                                                                          1. k
                                                                                            Kahuna0913 RE: jhulla Mar 1, 2008 02:39 PM

                                                                                            Jhulla-

                                                                                            I have not been in a long time, but there was/is a place on Wilshire called Bombay Palace? I had a good experience there. Have you been?

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Kahuna0913
                                                                                              f
                                                                                              foodiemahoodie RE: Kahuna0913 Jun 5, 2008 10:56 AM

                                                                                              I haven't been to Bombay Palace in a few years - and I should. I do have a memory of it being the best Indian food I've had in LA - which is on the westside. I've never traveled out of town for Indian food. (I get my Indian food fix at home - it's a pretty easy to make.) Now, I've never been to India, so I wouldn't know "authentic", but I have eaten in a number of Indian restaurants in London where it's considered pretty good. Even in Michelin-starred Indian restaurants. Give Bombay Palace a try. I hope it's as good as my memory. They've been sending me birthday cards for at least a decade.

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