Bilal v Al Noor v Al Watan
I know there is some personal preference issues, but we want to try an Indian/Pakistani restaurant. But which one. Here's what we usually get at an Indian Restaurant: Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo, Bhegan Bhartha (sp?), Naan, a lentil dish, other Chicken dishes...
We've read good things and not so good things about all of them, but at least for now, must choose. (Ps If its Bilal, should we pass on the Tikka Masala and get the whole chicken??)
You should definitely try all three, as I have, and then draw your own conclusions.
For years now (at least 6 or 7 years), my favorite go-to place is Al Noor. They had a rough patch a couple of years ago where quality and consistency were off, but they've been pretty solid since then.
I've been to Al Watan a few times over the years and, while it's good to very good, I still believe Al Noor offers better value and flavors.
There was a time when I thought I could give up Al Noor for Bilal, but they've had some serious consistency issues lately, IMO, and it'll be a while before I give them another chance...
Are you open to other kinds of food? Because if not, you should stick to whatever North Indian restaurant you usually go to. These are all Pakistani restaurants... they offer some of the more familiar North Indian dishes (tho vindaloo is Goan ... excellent at Addi's Tandoor), but there are no guarantees attached. I gather that Pakistani food is very meat-intense... not big on the veggies, and with a strong preference for lamb.
I've only been to Al Watan, because every time I've wanted to go (usually coinciding with a trip to/from LAX) Al Noor wasn't open. But I've been thrilled with it every time. I absolutely love the nehari, an intensely flavorful lamb stew. If I don't order if for dinner, I get a container to go. The tandoori meats are just great. Keema naan, flatbread stuffed with a spiced ground meat mixture (not hot-spicy... heavy on the coriander seed) is fantastic.
Someone who was once a major fan said Bilal had gone downhill, but that was just the one report and I haven't heard any others.