Best Indian Food In LA
Some previous threads on the topic:
I have always been a fan of Salomi in North Hollywood ... George Harrison's favorite Indian in L.A., fwiw.
Salomi Indian & Bangladesh Restaurant
5225 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
ns1, India's Flavor is in Glendale - so not exactly LA city limits :) However, based on your suggestion, I got around to trying it (finally). This is my update:
Went for dinner, ordered the grilled meat platter, of which the Boti Kabab (lamb), and the Seekh Kabab (lamb, IIRC), stood out. The Tandoori Chicken made its obligatory appearance, but was far from stellar. I am yet to have a better Tandoori Chicken than Makkah Halal Tandoori's (MHT) (though I must add Al-Watan deserves kudos, but I digress). For main course, we ordered, the Lamb Karahi, (ordered extra hot) and the Butter Chicken (ordered regular - this shouldn't be ordered extra hot). The Lamb Karahi was great, the Butter Chicken, good, but again MHT is better at this. I came away impressed from the first visit, and will definitely go again to explore it further. It is definitely a family-owned joint, with the women cooking, and the men working the rather small-sized seating/serving area. This is more of a order & pick-up place, than a sit-down. However, its always a good thing, when momma's cooking, and I really want to try their vegetarian entrees.
That said, over the last few months, I also visited Ambala Dhaba (in Artesia), Al-Watan (in Inglewood), Bombay Garden (in Artesia) and Taurat (in Los Angeles). Here's my $.02
Based on a single visit - the food was middling, and lacked freshness. It seemed like they heated our entire order in the microwave before serving it. Ordered the Chicken Ludhiana - their version of the traditional Tandoori Chicken as an appetizer - it was good, but not spectacular (this seemed different for the sake of "being different"). The main course was Chicken Hoshiarpuri (Ludhiana, and Hoshiarpur are both cities in the Indian state of Punjab) and Tava Bakra ("goat cooked on a skillet") - the chicken was supposed to be spiced with cumin - and it really was, but it seemed stale, and so did the goat (the goat seemed staler). The only thing that seemed fresh were the rotis. Now I understand most Indian curries taste better when cooked today, and served tomorrow, but this seemed like it was cooked in 1999 (OK, hyperbole).
Now I am not particularly fond of Indian beer, in fact, I can go as far as saying, I really don't like almost all Indian beers, but this one takes the cake. For the sake of (mis)adventure, I tried the Old Monk 10000, when known mediocrity (Kingfisher) was the wiser option. Let me categorically state this: Old Monk 10000 is the WORST beer I have ever had (so far in my XX years, and I trust the brewer - "Mohan Meakins" to top it someday). While it has a high ABV, it is a beer which thoroughly lacks any sense of identity. It's fine if it doesn't serve the purpose of taxonomy, as long as it tastes "good", but it doesn't. I hope this beer does not survive the marketplace for it is an ignominy even by the (rather low, and lagerish) standards of Indian breweries.
I know I will get a lot of crow for this board favorite, so yes, take it with a pinch of salt. And yes, I may give it one more try before I jump to (any) conclusions.
Exilekiss reviewed this place a few months ago, and while it was on my list, this review inspired me to take the leap, so thanks! Ordered the Lamb Chops (a bit over spiced, but still perfectly cooked and delicious, though my current favorite is Naan-n-Curry in San Francisco). The Tandoori Chicken, and the Chicken Seekh Kabab were very good. The Seekh Kabab is ground chicken (or any other meat) mixed with spices, and sometimes onions, green chillies, and cilantro/mint. It is my favorite kabab, and Al-Watan does a great job with the Chicken Seekh (which IMO is always harder due to the texture/taste of the meat) - it is delicately spiced, with the chicken cooked to the right degree so that it has a slightly "burnt" texture on the outside, and lusciousness on the inside. Great job on the Tandoori Chicken as well. Ordered the Goat Karahi, and the Chicken Tikka Masala - both good, but not great. The Goat Biryani was mediocre, and I don't have the notes on why it was particularly unremarkable, so you will have to take my word for it. Al-Watan is Pakistani, and their curries are quite distinct from their Indian versions as in my opinion, Pakistani curries tend to be oilier, and have less (or no) asafoetida. So in the interest of comparing apples to apples, I compared the curries in Al-Watan to the curries I had in Shalimar, or Naan-n-Curry - both Pakistani establishments in Northern California. I think Northern California is better, but Al-Watan is respectable, and definitely worthy of several return visits.
Bombay Garden is a new North Indian style restaurant in Artesia, and probably took over the space occupied by a diner. I went there twice, and on the first visit ordered vegetarian food exclusively. The Baigan Bharta (Eggpant), Shahi Paneer ("Royal" curry with cottage cheese), and the Bhindi Masala (Okra with spices) - all good - neither homestyle, nor "restaurant", but somewhere along the continuum, and yes really delicious (read: hot and spicy). This almost led me to think, that I have found a go-to-place for Indian Punjabi food. But, it just took one more visit for it to come crashing down. On the second visit, I decided to go with the "typical" order - Butter Chicken (barely average), Tandoori Chicken (underspiced, dry and rubbery), Lamb Seekh Kabab (barely edible - weird spicing, overcooked) and Sag Paneer (Cottage Cheese with Spinach) which was absolutely terrible. The second visit was so bad, that I shudder at the thought of returning.
Bang in the middle of K-Town comes another Bangladeshi owned butcher shop with a small restaurant. On one visit we tried the Tandoori Chicken (fabulous, almost MHT kinds), and the Chicken Curry (homestyle, but a little too watery for my taste). This is a work in progress, and if and when I visit again, I will report back.
That said, in the next few months I have Al-Noor, Bilal's and Tawakkal Tandoori on my to-do list. Will certainly report back once its "mission accomplished".
To the OP: I agree with boogiebaby's assessment. I haven't visited Diamond Palace, so I won't say anything about that. I love Surati, it is freaking awesome (really though, guys, you have to try Chatpatta Corner inside Dana Bazar in Fremont, CA - that place is uber-authentic, the CC vs SFM comparison can be quite charged), and instead of Tirupathi Bhimas, head to Woodlands (Tamil over Andhra). Also, since the untimely demise of my eternal favorite, Yogiraj, go to Rajdhani for Gujarati Thali. Also, IMO, for what is usually considered "Indian food" go to Clay Oven in Sherman Oaks.
13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250
3303 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208
17631 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701
Taurat Tandoori Chinese Rest
101 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004
S17221 S Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA
Depends on what region's food you are looking for. For north indian, I like Diamond Palace in Diamond Bar for a nicer meal (we go to a lot of parties there), or for a casual meal, I like Ambala Snacks in Artesia. For gujrati, I like Rajdhani in Artesia. For south indian, I used to like Tirupathi Bhimas in Artesia, but the last couple times it has been just OK. For Gujrati farsan (snacks), I like Surati Farsan.
There is a small grocery that does a killer lunch buffet vegertarian and pehaps 1 chicken dish on a daily basis. AYCE for $5.00 best food I have had in a long long time. It is soo soo under the radar.. Husband and Wife that run the place are so over the top nice too..
2040 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA
re: Vaya Con Carne
I was quite pleased with Makkah peas paneer last Sunday night; probably the best I've ever had (not that I've tried all that many places). The chicken and lentil curry was quite good too, but would still have been a fine dish without the chicken. I'm looking forward to trying their meat and rice dishes.
The Artesia area just south of the 91has a nice collection of Indian restaurants. Do a search & you'll come up with a handful of threads. Here's a few to start you off.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555408 -- Exploring Little India tonight in Artesia. Suggestions?
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320964 -- What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/565088 -- A visiting friend wants to eat Indian...recs?
Agreed 100-fold that the answer lies in Artesia, in Little India. Both of these restaurants (The India Restaurant and Woodlands) are fantastic, though i personally prefer the India Restaurant because i, too, like meat.
Ambala Dhaba isn't bad either, and they opened up an outpost in westwood (not sure if it's still there). if it is and you want to stay near the westside, that's the best option for you.
there's also an indian community in the diamond bar area. several decent restaurants, along with a few indian markets, though i can't recommend any specific places off the top of my head.