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Best Sag Paneer?

thewaz Jan 20, 2008 05:18 PM

I'm searching for the best Sag Paneer in LA - a creamy, fresh-tasting concoction of spinach and cream. I've been searching high and low since the place that I used to adore (Curry House in North Hollywood) is off my list due to an incident with roached on my table and pots of food dispensed from the floor outside the rest room...

Most places I've tried seem to make the dish quite bland and sometimes it tastes like canned spinach was used (the horror!!). I want to actually see pieces of spinach - not just a mound of green.

I'd love a place that it's the valley, Hollywood, Pasadena, etc - but am willing to drive if a place is worth it.

  1. n
    nikky Apr 22, 2008 10:26 AM

    Lal Mirch in Studio City. Yum.

    1. n
      nolan222 Apr 22, 2008 08:36 AM

      For Fresh Saag Paneer, I always liked Electric Lotus. Thier food is always fresh and if you ask spicey.

      1. e
        eileen216 Apr 22, 2008 01:35 AM

        I really like the Sag Paneer at Anarkali on Melrose. You can decide how spicy you want the dish to be. I personally like it pretty spice. It was so good with the rice and nann bread.

        1. t
          ToroTaku Apr 21, 2008 10:37 PM

          Not LA but definitely worth the trip if you are looking for excellent Sag Paneer.

          India Restaurant
          17824 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA
          (562) 860-5621

          2 Replies
          1. re: ToroTaku
            aventinus Apr 22, 2008 12:05 AM

            I agree this is a good bet, though I have not had the saag paneer here.

            One off-topic question. I have read recently that saag paneer uses mustard greens, and palak paneer uses spinach. Is this distinction correct?

            1. re: aventinus
              Rasam Apr 22, 2008 03:26 AM

              "Saag" is a generic word meaning "greens".
              "Paalak" means "spinach". Sometimes people use the words interchangeably. Sometimes they are specific (e.g. sarson ka saag = mustard greens). Sometimes saag paneer uses mixed greens. It depends on the cook.
              In a very authentic Punjabi combination, makke di roti + sarson ka saag (corn bread + mustard greens), you would only use mustard greens (maybe spiked with a little cilantro).

          2. f
            Francesca Apr 21, 2008 09:31 PM

            Did you ever find the right sag paneer?

            1. t
              THF2 Apr 21, 2008 07:26 PM

              Gate of India in Santa Monica has phenomenal saag paneer. Creamy, spicy, plenty of spinach, rich paneer. As others noted, there are a variety of dishes called "saag paneer," and only a small fraction are of the type that Gate of India serves. I miss it terribly; I go to Indian restaurant after Indian restaurant on the East Coast looking for an equivalent without finding a match.

              Gate of India
              117 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              1 Reply
              1. re: THF2
                apple7blue Apr 21, 2008 09:24 PM

                Well, just so you know, and it seems like you are looking for something else, but saag or even saag panir does not have to have spinach, whether it's Bengali (Bangla) or Punjabi. And there isn't a divide of Bengali or Punjabi in terms of creaminess at least in saag, even if that is what you observed locally--that's just coincidence . . . You know restaurants sometimes do clean up, though not saying you should give a second chance . . .

              2. r
                RaeRenee Jan 23, 2008 04:29 PM

                In Burbank, India's Tandoori does Lamb Saag very well - spicy and the spinach doesn't seem canned I(assuming that it's at night. The lunch buffet is grody.) I'd bet their Saag Paneer is decent.

                Today, however, I had the best Lamb Saag ev-AR (yes in the MySpace king of OMGWTFBBQ style) at Flavor of India in West Hollywood (practically in Beverly Hills). You could taste all the different flavors and when I was done, my lips were happily on fire, reminding me for at least 5 more minutes that I'd really enjoyed lunch. :) I heard another couple near us order the Saag Paneer, and it looked fantastic. I'm actually going to be ordering it next time I'm out that way. Hope this helps!

                India's Tandoori
                142 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA

                Flavor of India
                9045 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                1. boogiebaby Jan 21, 2008 09:22 AM

                  I live in the valley, and Punjab Palace has a good saag paneer. Traditionally, saag is supposed to be a creamy, pureed type of dish. Many home cooks use a mixer or a food processor to get the needed consistency. It's not supposed to have large pieces of saag in it.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: boogiebaby
                    a_and_w Jan 21, 2008 09:36 AM

                    Yes and no. Some of the best versions of the dish are more like a stir fry of shredded spinach studded with garlic and cheese. I've mostly seen this at Bangladeshi places (or rather, places I know the cooks are Bangladeshi) and I love it. Unfortunately, I haven't found this style yet here in LA. Best I've tried thus far is Nawab on Wilshire -- very aggressively spiced.

                    1. re: a_and_w
                      boogiebaby Jan 21, 2008 10:45 AM

                      If it's being cooked by Bangladeshis, that's probably why it's not as pureed. Saag Paneer is a North Indian/Punjabi dish and isn't supposed to be heavily spiced. It's possible the Bangladeshi restauranteurs have come up with their own version. We tend to eat at North Indian owned restaurants (punjabis tend to stick with punjabi restaurants for catering and parties LOL). I'm not familiar with the food at Bangladeshi-Indian restaurants.

                      1. re: boogiebaby
                        a_and_w Jan 22, 2008 08:12 AM

                        I'm just saying there's a diversity of styles of saag paneer. Some people prefer a version that is flavorful and not pureed beyond recognition, irrespective of "tradition" or how it's "supposed" to taste. To clarify, the saag paneer at Nawab is very pureed and also very spicy (i.e., flavorful, not hot).

                        1. re: a_and_w
                          aventinus Apr 22, 2008 12:04 AM

                          Yeah. Some Indians at authentic restaurants have given me funny looks or told me that saag paneer is not supposed to be spicy when I order it hot. But I remember it being brutally and deliciously spicy at many places where, under the erroneous belief that all India food was meant to be incredibly spicy, I ordered it Indian hot. (I would order everything, e.g., aloo paratha, Indian hot. Fantastic!) As I mature, I enjoy spicy foods less and less. Now I want my saag paneer creamy and mild. If it's loaded with spices, that annoys me.

                  2. k
                    kermit Jan 20, 2008 10:22 PM

                    I'd agree with Faulkner99. I love the saag paneer at India's Grill. In fact, I love a number of their vegetarian dishes, including the bhaigan bharta (eggplant) and their dal makhani (the best I've ever had, imo).

                    Another spot you might want to try is the Bombay Cafe on the westside. I haven't been there in a few years, but I remember their saag as being wonderfully memorable.

                    1. f
                      Francesca Jan 20, 2008 05:49 PM

                      East India Grill on La Brea

                      1. f
                        Faulkner99 Jan 20, 2008 05:43 PM

                        Our go-to place is India's Grill on San Vicente (428 S. San Vicente). I think their saag paneer is excellent, but it's not exactly how you describe. I think the type you like could be found at Bombay Grill in the mini-mall next to the Trader Joe's on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood (SM just west of La Brea). I've had their saag paneer and while it's not my favorite, it's more like what you're describing.

                        1. b
                          betamax Jan 20, 2008 05:38 PM

                          i haven't had the sag paneer, but gate of india on sunset is very good.

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