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Recommendations for best Indian in OC?

Have read the reviews for Haveli in Tustin. Any other recommendations for a really good Indian restaurant in OC? I am specifically looking for good places anywhere in the vicinity between Irvine (airport area) and Orange. Thanks!

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  1. Clay Oven in Irvine is pretty good as is India Cookhouse. If you are in Huntington Beach make sure to try Bhukara. They have a great and fiery Chicken Vindaloo!

    1 Reply
    1. re: quinntran

      Nearby in Brea I've recently found Shennai.

    2. A former employer had one of his wedding receptions at Royal Khyber next to South Coast. Indian food doesn't sit well for me, but the fact that he chose it (and the guest list was almost purely Middle Eastern) leads me to believe that it's pretty good. Then again, maybe he was also just trying to impress us?

      1. greetings, a year or two ago we had a very good meal at the Dosa Palace on Red Hill in Tustin. They have Andra food and S.Indian (hence the name) plus the more usual stuff. Hope they're still in business.

        2 Replies
        1. re: moto

          Dosa Place is, indeed, still open and has incredible food. They have a nice lunch buffet on weekends, and their regular menu is superb---spiced to order, with wonderful sauces and sides. You must try it!

          1. re: mothrpoet

            You must like Spicy to go to Dosa Place. Everything is, very, very, hot.

        2. These are all great suggestions. I am new to the OC, so appreciate your ideas. I will try Royal Khyber tonight, since I have been looking for an Indian restaurant that was on a par with my favorite Indian restaurant (in Oak Park, IL my hometown) called Khyber Pass. So I like the name already. ;-) Will let you know my thoughts.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FoodieKat

            Royal Khyber is indeed one of the best Indian restaurants in the LA area. We went to a catered graduation party about 2 years ago, and their food was superb.

            Royal Khyber Fine Indian
            1621 W Sunflower Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92704

          2. I'm not an expert on Indian food, and this might be a little out of your target area, but I thought the food at Mayur was quite good.

            Mayur Cuisine of India
            2931 E Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

            9 Replies
            1. re: Wonginator

              I have been to Mayur many times and find it very good, but their prices make me giggle. $20 bucks for Chicken Tikka (and a small portion at that), $25 bucks for shrimp tandoori..what the f**k?

              And most of their veggie dishes are $15.

              I know it is high rent district..but jeez.

              1. re: cdmedici

                Just tried Royal Khyber this evening. Very nice place! The swordfish tandoori was very good (it came with a very tasty tikka sauce) and so was the onion basil naan. The dessert was a bit unusual - my mom and I shared a gulab jamon and rice pudding. The rice pudding was particularly delicious, but both desserts had an edible silver foil that seemed a bit pointless, as it didn't add anything in terms of either flavor or presentation. Almost thought it was left there accidentally! Otherwise though very good, healthfully-prepared food. Nice masala chai tea too, with a surprisingly refreshing cardamom/citrus twist. Next stop is Mayur!

                1. re: FoodieKat

                  The silver foil is traditional and edible. I did a report for a college class and the book I did my research from mentioned it. It was a very thick book (300 pages?) about the history, etc. of Indian cuisine, recipes etc. I borrowed it from Santa Ana College Library. Ask at the reference desk if you're interested. The library is open to the community (little know fact - most community college libraries are).

                2. re: cdmedici

                  :-) ha. Just saw this post about Mayur. Better save my pennies for Mayur then, 'cause Royal Khyber wasn't cheap either. The swordfish tandoori was $24. Appetizers weren't cheap either, so I didn't bother ordering these, since I wasn't hungry enough to justify. Any ideas for a good Indian buffet, since these are usually a little more cheap and cheerful?

                  1. re: FoodieKat

                    Glad you liked Royal Khyber!

                    Clay Oven off Jeffrey/Irvine Center Drive. Under $10 for their buffet.


                    Nothing fancy, but it does the trick.

                    1. re: FoodieKat

                      Haveli in Tustin. I think it's the best Punjabi restaurant I've tried in OC. I will grant you that there are many I haven't tried yet.

                      Haveli's lunch buffet it a phenomenally good deal (last time I went was like $8), and the food is terrific. Clay Oven is just ok in my book. Haveli blows it out of the water.

                      Haveli Fine Indian Cuisine
                      13882 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        What he said.

                        Haveli has a four page menu that is written so small I could barely read it with tons of items and variety. Ordered about seven dishes and all were great.

                    2. re: cdmedici

                      Yeah, it seemed high to me, but I wasn't sure since I don't eat Indian food often. Prices were $16-20 when I went, probably at least 2 years ago.

                      When I went to India Cook House, prices were $12-18, so Mayur didn't seem overly pricey, but just a bit more expensive.

                      But when I go to Lucille's BBQ and get charged $25 for a full rack of ribs, prices at other places don't seem so out of whack. Everything is expensive in OC, so we just have to work a little bit harder to find the affordable deals that we can eat everyday. :-)

                      I think the lunch buffet at India Cook House is $10, but not sure of the current price, as it's been at least 6 months since I last visited.

                      India Cook House
                      14130 Culver Dr Ste M, Irvine, CA 92604

                      1. re: Wonginator

                        Ha. Yes, I can see your point. However, having just moved back to the US from the UK, I can safely say I know how expensive fine dining can be (among other things). I am also used to having a huge selection of excellent Indian restaurants to choose from, most of which were not too pricey by comparison, so I guess I have been spoiled. :-)

                  2. I used to like Mother India, Bristol at Baker, but haven't been there for a couple of years. Any recent visits?

                    1. An Indian friend of mine suggested Chakra by UCI. Here's the website: http://www.chakracuisine.com/

                      I've been to Clay Oven - okay for pricey for what it was. Nearly $50 for takeout of: 2 chicken curries, 1 garlic naan and an order of rice.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cqt

                        I tried Chakra about 3 months ago, and it was pretty disappointing.

                        It's a very trendy-looking place, and you have a feeling it turns into a club at night or something (we ate lunch there). The food was ~Ok, but a bit trendy / fussy, and pretty pricey (we came out to ~$15 / person for lunch).

                      2. Is Natraj still open in Laguna Hills? I still recall having an absolutely lavish and delicious weekend brunch buffet there some years ago that made me wish I was a local.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Lee by the Sea

                          Yes, Natraj is still open and still, by far, the best!! FoodieKat, I'm a UK expat so I completely relate to your quest. There's a group of us Brits who've searched everywhere for the best food. Mayur scores very high, but Natraj is more in the style of the UK indian. We get very good carry outs from there. Bear in mind that the same owners have various fast food style restaurants around the county that don't measure up, but the original restaurant in Laguna Hills is excellent. I love the lamb korma, naan and onion bhaji there.

                          1. re: mandeeuk

                            Hi mandee. :-) Thanks for the info. I just got used to a lot of things when I lived in the UK, the fab curry being but one of many. And the many things made with Marmite. But I love the sunshine and the beautiful scenery here in the OC. And the huge range of quality (east) Asian places to shop and dine. So it's a tradeoff. Will definitely try Natraj. Do you know if they serve Bombay Aloo?

                            1. re: FoodieKat

                              I was at the British Grocer in Fullerton this past weekend; they carry Marmite if you miss it.

                              British Grocer
                              305 N Harbor Blvd 124, Fullerton, CA 92832

                              1. re: OCAnn

                                Nice! :-) I think a Marmite, cheese and cucumber sandwich is in order.

                        2. I hit up the India Cook House buffet all the time (paneer cubes, yummm). If you want dosas, Dosa Palace will do in a pinch, but Udupi Palace in Artesia is the place to get them.

                          Udupi Palace
                          18635 Pioneer Blvd
                          Artesia, CA 90701

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: groover808

                            Not to knock but IMO you can probably find a ton of better options for much cheaper if the op were to drive to Little India ( the aforementioned Pioneer Blvd area of Artesia). My personal fav is The India Restaurant. Its a little more north of the main strip in a litte complex across from the 99 ranch. Its more north indian so expect tandoor etc. Only problem is thats probably 15-20 minutes from the area the o.p. was looking to find things in.

                          2. Years ago, an Indian co-worker used to always mention a place called Ashoka The Great (I think it's a common name for Indian restaurants) in Anaheim.

                            2632 W La Palma Ave, Anaheim

                            Something tells me that it isn't quite as good as the Artesia location but it could be a good find.

                            Good luck with your adventures...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: gabehoya

                              Hm, never tried that. We enjoy Rasthal Vegetarian Cuisine on Lincoln between Magnolia and Beach. You have to ask for the thali and enquire as to what's on the menu that day but it's all very tasty.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                Sounds very promising. How's their paneer? I love that stuff.

                                1. re: gabehoya

                                  Alas, I cannot tell you, as I can't stand the stuff. It's barely a restaurant, so there's a fixed menu but you're better off just asking them to make you a thali. No atmosphere whatsoever, but fantastic sweets. If you're looking for full-on restaurant it probably isn't what you want, but we like it.

                                  I'm still looking for an Indian restaurant a bit closer. Not that Artesia and Tustin are far -- they really aren't -- but just can't help but think there might be something closer to East Anaheim, a hidden gem in Tustin St. or something.

                            2. I went to Taal in Fullerton recently and enjoyed their food. Their prices are reasonable and their portions are rather large compared to many of the Indian restaurants I have been to.

                              2720 Nutwood Ave
                              Fullerton, CA, 92831
                              Phone: (714) 871-7846

                              1. I think Royal Khyber is upscalish; they have great food and great service. Taal serves a good lunch buffet; not great, but good/solid. And to me, Shehnai Cuisine in Brea falls somewhere in between.

                                1. Adding links.

                                  Shehnai Cuisine of India
                                  705 E Birch St Ste P, Brea, CA 92821

                                  1. We have been going to the Clay Oven on Jeffrey in Irvine since they opened many, many years ago. Their food is absolutely delicious. We have taken trout caught in Mammoth for Praveen, the owner, to do in the clay oven. Their lunch buffet is definitely the best around. We tried Dosa Palace in Tustin recently. It was way, way too hot for us and I felt sick afterwards. It was a horrible experience.

                                    1. Anyone try Saagar by John Wayne?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: groover808

                                        I've tried Saagar.

                                        It's so-so (average Indian food). The highlight is that they play Bollywood Videos all the time, so it keeps you entertained. :)

                                        There are much better places to go to besides Saagar.

                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                          I completely agree with Taal in Fullerton. It's sort of a best-kept secret in OC.

                                      2. Try Nirvana in Fountain Valley (on Brookhurst/South of the 405). They have a great lunch buffet for under $10 during the week. The quality varies, but usually very good. I haven't had a bad experience yet.

                                        1. Hands down, my favorite is Shehnai Cuisine of India in Anaheim. I've been to quite a few Indian restaurants in Orange County and Artesia. Shehnai is at the top of my list. But, I've only had their lunch buffet.. and it's fantastic!