West side Indian - Akbar, Bombay Cafe, or Nizam?
- Liz Mar 13, 2001 10:58 AM
I'm trying to find a good Indian restaurant for dinner this week. I know Bombay Cafe gets excellent reviews, but I've read that it's eclectic, which makes this born and bred New Yorker nervous...does it mean it's more California cuisine than authentic Indian? I have the same concern with Akbar, while Nizam sounds like a faithful, good authentic Indian restaurant.
Has anyone tried any of these? I'd love to hear your impressions of them. Thanks a lot.
NIZAM! I have not been to Akbar but I think that of the other two, the best food is at Nizam. They are quite different from one another, and Nizam is by no means festive. However the Paneer, the Rogan Josh and Tikka Masala are sublime. The food is authentic and delicate which is often difficult to find in LA Indian. Also the owner seems to always be there and can be quite helpful. Bombay Cafe can be good but not consistent, though the atmosphere I would say is a little more upbeat than your average Indian restaurant.
Have you tried Nawab of India at 1621 Wilshire in S.M? Although I'm not into Indian food, I've always enjoyed my meals there. You might ask around if you don't know the place.
I recently tried both these places, on recommendations given here.
Nizam was satisfying, but not excellent. The Rogan Josh was kind of tasteless, the chai spicy but watery, and the service spotty (the waiter kept ignoring me, a single diner, while fawning on nearby diners). Price was high, $25 for one person with no booze. On the good side, the Puri bread was excellent, and so was the mango chutney.
Gate of India had really good food, but the prices were just ridiculous! Everything is a la carte, so watch out for the so-called extras....if you want a plate of humble plain rice with your curry, it's 3 bucks, and SIX bucks for the rice pallau. Amazingly, they charge for chutney! I have never seen an indian restaurant charge extra for chutney or raita. So in revenge, I ordered just the curry and plain rice, with water (20 bucks!). The waiter showed me to the worst seat in the house, was dismissive when I didn't want bread or a drink, and took my change assuming it was his tip (he asked first, but hey, it was rude). I wouldn't go back here except for the buffet perhaps.
So I am still looking for an Indian gem with reasonable prices....something like Shalimar in San Francisco. I think I'll be waiting too long.
I have been to both Nizam and Akbar. Akbar was ok, (and the waiter was very friendly once I started asking him questions about my upcoming trip to India), but nothing made me want to go back.
Nizam, on the other hand, is a restaurant we used to take pilgrimages to from our office to order the Bengan Bharta (sp?) lunch special. Their eggplant is by far the best I've ever had anywhere. I would have lunch (maybe not Dinner) at Nizam just for that!