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Best Indian Food in Santa Monica/West Side?

GJWhite Mar 3, 2009 12:05 PM

Been hearing lots about Gate of India and Nawab...confirm deny?

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  1. m
    mdpilam RE: GJWhite Mar 3, 2009 05:38 PM

    I've never been to Gate of India, and it's been a while since Nawab, but I thought it was solid, but nothing special.

    My favorite is Ambala Dhaba, and I did like Agra Indian Kitchen the one time I went (I've been meaning to go back for the Volcano curry). But overall, not too much (in terms of good Indian) on the westside.

    1. c
      Cinnamon RE: GJWhite Mar 3, 2009 09:09 PM

      My vote goes to Akbar - www.akbarcuisineofindia.com - I like the Marina del Rey one, but the Santa Monica one is also good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cinnamon
        bu dat RE: Cinnamon Mar 4, 2009 05:41 PM

        i love akbar - and only the one in the marina

        i also really like ambala dhaba - quite good

        i know some people who love love bombay cafe - but i find it just ok and overpriced

        1. re: bu dat
          Cinnamon RE: bu dat Mar 29, 2009 05:04 PM

          I agree re Akbar in MDR. Husband likes the Santa Monica Akbar better. I don't but both are good - Marina del Rey far better in my opinion. The Akbar in Manhattan/Hermosa Beach was decent also.

          I'd call Akbar far, far, far better than Shershah and Gate of India.

          1. re: Cinnamon
            a_and_w RE: Cinnamon Mar 30, 2009 09:18 AM

            I gotta strongly disagree. I live right up the street from Akbar Santa Monica, but I always order from Nawab or All India Cafe.

      2. n
        New Trial RE: GJWhite Mar 3, 2009 10:52 PM

        Gate of India is very popular with the British ex-pat crowd but the food can be inconsistent. Mostly pretty good, though. Nawab is more consistent and has even improved of late. Agra in the MDR area is my favorite Indian in the area.

        Agra Indian Kitchen
        2553 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        1. Das Ubergeek RE: GJWhite Mar 4, 2009 05:32 AM

          It's been some time, but I'm going to mention that I regularly went to Chandni Vegetarian Restaurant. It's been 5 years though so best to try and get an updated opinion. Wilshire and 19th in the People's Republic.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Das Ubergeek
            Frommtron RE: Das Ubergeek Mar 4, 2009 12:17 PM

            It's the same as it was 5 years ago, IMO.

          2. b
            Bjartmarr RE: GJWhite Mar 4, 2009 07:39 AM

            If I'm craving Indian, it's worth the short drive over to Mayura on Venice and Motor. Be sure to read up on what to get before you go; the Southern stuff is fantastic, but some of the Northern dishes are just glop.

            10406 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

            7 Replies
            1. re: Bjartmarr
              joshekg RE: Bjartmarr Mar 4, 2009 11:54 AM

              I second Mayura, go with the idly sambar, dosas or the fish curry. If you aren't in the mood for south Indian food then I'd head over to Samosa House which is not too far away on Washington. I have eaten food from Nawab many times and never have been impressed.

              1. re: joshekg
                westsidegal RE: joshekg Mar 5, 2009 10:27 AM

                if you end up going to samosa house, imho, there are two ''MUST HAVE'' dishes there:

                1) the curried jackfruit
                2) the mango/banana/pistacio soup. when they have this it is behind the counter and there never is a sign, so you must ASK if it's available.

                if you can't decide what to order, they will give you little tastes of the available dishes to help you make up your mind.

                1. re: westsidegal
                  joshekg RE: westsidegal Mar 5, 2009 06:30 PM

                  Yes, the jackfruit is great (though some don't enjoy it) and so is the soup. I really love the bhindi masala (okra) and their biryani made extra spicy.

                  1. re: joshekg
                    westsidegal RE: joshekg Apr 20, 2009 07:21 AM

                    i agree about their bhini masala, it is the best in town imho. i wish it were available all the time.

                2. re: joshekg
                  1newyorkguy RE: joshekg May 14, 2009 07:17 PM

                  Is Mayura's fish curry @ dinner better than their lunch buffet? Because it was pretty inedible at lunch---fish was FAR from fresh.

                  1. re: 1newyorkguy
                    joshekg RE: 1newyorkguy May 14, 2009 07:30 PM

                    It must be because the Kerala fish curry with appam is really really good. Whenever I go for lunch I order off of the regular menu. I have found that buffets regardless of cuisine mostly serve sub-par food.

                    1. re: 1newyorkguy
                      noshie RE: 1newyorkguy May 14, 2009 08:51 PM

                      I thought their lunch buffet was marginal, Annapurna up the street is much better

                3. n
                  nolan222 RE: GJWhite Mar 4, 2009 08:05 AM

                  I always like India's Grill over on San Vincente. There Bhuna is excellent.

                  1. e
                    eugenengai RE: GJWhite Mar 5, 2009 12:37 PM

                    I liked Bombay Cafe on Pico and Bundy. Their chutneys are very good, and the Puris are fantastic...just the right mixture of spice and sweetness. Frankies are great for lunch and reasonably priced.


                    1. a
                      anothernotch RE: GJWhite Mar 5, 2009 01:17 PM

                      While it's not the best you'll ever have I'm always satisfied with the lunch buffet at Jaipur on Pico and Westwood.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: anothernotch
                        Jeryy RE: anothernotch Mar 5, 2009 03:52 PM

                        I'm rather partial to Shershah in the Barnes and Noble shopping center on Maxella in the Marina. That and Nawab seem to me the two best near the water- Ambala Dhaba is terriffic but it's in Westwood. .

                        1. re: Jeryy
                          noshie RE: Jeryy Mar 5, 2009 09:18 PM

                          Annapurna veg restaurant on Venice, all you can eat buffet lunch

                      2. estnyboer RE: GJWhite Mar 6, 2009 08:57 AM

                        I still think that nothing can touch Ambala Dhaba on the west side (for fish/meat eaters, at least). I'll have to try Mayura, though.

                        Chandni is pretty good, especially if you're a vegetarian, and they have a full bar.

                        Nawab is fancy and used to be pretty good though I haven't been in a while because I feel it's not worth the extra expense.

                        I DO NOT understand the love for Bombay Cafe. The bread is terrible and the food is too sweet with timid flavors.

                        1. g
                          gore_mutt RE: GJWhite Mar 29, 2009 02:12 PM

                          couldn't agree more about Bombay Cafe- seems only a quarter of the way toward Indian food. really don't know anyplace on westside Except Ambala Dhaba that equals Bilal, Al Noor, or Al Watan which don't really qualify as "westside," do they?

                          am going to try Agra Indian Kitchen and looking forward to it

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: gore_mutt
                            pouletbuffet RE: gore_mutt Mar 29, 2009 02:19 PM

                            We liked everything we had at Pradeep's on Montana in Santa Monica--maybe not high on the authenticity list, but the food was tasty.

                            1. re: gore_mutt
                              a_and_w RE: gore_mutt Mar 30, 2009 09:19 AM

                              I prefer Nawab to Ambala Dhaba, though I've only been to the latter once.

                              1. re: a_and_w
                                gore_mutt RE: a_and_w Mar 31, 2009 05:32 PM

                                maybe try ambala dhaba again. maybe order something else. imho nawab is not even close. maybe i'll try it again.

                                btw- i tried Agra Indian Kitchen- and it was pretty good. i need to try it again. the nan was undercooked. it seemed a bit pricey compared to these others. they should at least spring for a nan and some pickles with all the lunch specials, and it wouldn't hurt if they knocked a buck or two off the rest of the menu, particularly if they are going to survive this economy at that location, which i hope they do.

                                1. re: gore_mutt
                                  a_and_w RE: gore_mutt Apr 1, 2009 08:27 AM

                                  I was pretty underwhelmed by Agra, so it sounds like our preferences may differ. But I'll definitely give Ambala Dhaba another shot. I get the sense the real stars there are not the usual suspects like saag paneer and chicken tikka masala -- two dishes Nawab does very well. Any specific recs?

                                  1. re: a_and_w
                                    gore_mutt RE: a_and_w Apr 19, 2009 07:15 PM

                                    sorry on the slow response- hope you are still interested. my wife goes for the gar (pickled vegs) alone. she does like the chicken tikka- i like most everything- the dhals are excellent, the turnips, lamb and fish, bindi, etc

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