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Clay Oven - Indian in Irvine

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I remember seeing a post here about Clay Oven in Irvine. A Google search and a CTRL-F did not get any hits.

Can anyone refresh my memory on the general impressions of this place? What are their specialities?

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  1. Never been there myself (live in Altadena), but amongst my OC Indian circle, it has a good reputation.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Suvro

      I went to their lunch buffet. it wasnt bad, but not great. Average at best.

      1. re: Diamond Dog

        For Indian lunch buffet in that area, I prefer India Cook House instead. I've been to both.

    2. Best north(?) Indian food in Orange County, IMO. They have excellent naan, pakoras, saags, vindaloos (even habanero ones), and chicken biryani (which I hear is difficult to accomplish in restaurant settings). I haven't really had anything that flopped there. The owner is also one of the most personable hosts I've encountered at a restaurant.

      Closed Mondays, I believe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tuck

        I'm with Tuck on this one. Clay Oven has never failed to delight us with its tandoori dishes. It also has a small, but thoughtfully constructed wine list. The propietor of the restaurant greets everyone who dines there warmly. If I have any qualm about the place it's that it's rare to walk out of there not having paid relatively big bucks for a dinner for two ($40 pp with appetizers and wine, which is expensive when compared to other local Indian restaurants). To this extent, there may be better values out there. Still, my wife and I enjoy Clay Oven a great deal.

      2. Elmo, trust me, Clay Oven sucks. Almost everything is mediocre. If you want me to elaborate, send me email and I'll tell you. Better places by far are Indian Cook House or Ashoka in Fountain Valley.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rogol beast

          Au contraire, we gave up on Ashoka after multiple disappointments. Nice people, but overall middling meats & sauces, with most items badly oversalted. Not even close in quality to Radhika's, All-India or Akbar, for example.

        2. Clay Oven has been around for a while. I thought I remember it being very good a long time ago, but I went there maybe a year ago and it was kind of disappointing.

          I too prefer the Indian Cook House lunch buffet. A lot more selections. Also, near that Iranian bakery that Gustavo Arellano wrote about in the OC Weekly.

          1. I had dinner there today and was disgusted with the food. Their "family style" dinner portions meant 4 tiny pieces of chicken drowning in soupy tikka masala with no semblance of spice. Their shrimp bhuna masala also had 4 pieces of tiny shrimps also drowning in a tomato sauce- like concoction. It was gross. They did not offer free naan (very different from most Indian restos like India Cook House, Haveli or Chakra).

            Elmo, I'm interested to read your review of this restaurant if you've been. There's no way we're going back to Clay Oven. Small portions=overpriced. Not good at all.

            1. I like the buffet at haveli in tustin.

              1 Reply
              1. re: quinntran

                I love Haveli's lunch buffet!!! I heard they're doing select weeknight buffets as well too. Tues and Wed nights? or Wed and Thurs nights?