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Best Indian Food in Santa Monica/West Side?

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

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  1. 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. 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

        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

          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

            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. 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. 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

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

          2. 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

              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

                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

                  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

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

                2. re: joshekg

                  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

                    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

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

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

                  1. 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. 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

                        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

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

                      2. 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. 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

                            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

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

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                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

                                  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

                                    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