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Great Indian Food in Los Angeles?

EarlyBird Sep 2, 2009 04:59 PM

Indian is one of my favorite cuisines, but I must say that I have yet to find an Indian place in my beloved City of Angels that blows me away. I've been so disappointed that I haven't even tried to find Indian for years. Hopefully there has been some good ones that have since sprung up.

The one place I really liked was Lawrence of India in Mar Vista, on Inglewood Blvd., just south of Culver Blvd. It was a tiny slot of a place run by a family from India. The father cooked, the mother and teen daughter served. The mother and daughter were always bickering with each other, none of the plates matched, the decor was bizzare. But the food was excellent, the service very good, and you could bring your own bottle in without getting charged a corking fee. On top of it all, the prices were quite reasonable. Unfortunately, although popular, the family up and left and moved back to India years ago.

But I digress. What's the best Indian place in LA?

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  1. s
    sshumaker RE: EarlyBird Sep 2, 2009 06:53 PM

    I like Addi's Tandoori (Redondo Beach). Also, the Akbar in Santa Monica has a few excellent items (CTM and Chilean Seabass). But I agree, good indian is hard to come by here.

    Addi's Tandoor
    800 Torrance Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

    1. s
      Scootrvil RE: EarlyBird Sep 2, 2009 09:56 PM

      The best southern Indian (vegetarian menu) I've had in SoCal. ....Udupi Palace in Artesia
      Little India area. With many restaurants, shops, grocers and authentic sweet shops too!!
      The spinich cheese dosa and samosa's are REALLY good!!
      18635 Pioneer Blvd. Artesia CA 90701
      562 860 1950

      1. m
        mdpilam RE: EarlyBird Sep 2, 2009 11:47 PM

        The India Restaurant, Artesia. (For North Indian). I've been to alot of places in LA, and most are meh to fairly good, but this one is great. If I lived close, I'd eat there 5x a week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mdpilam
          orythedog RE: mdpilam May 12, 2010 11:20 AM

          2nd for India restaurant...really good buffet...worth the drive to Artesia

        2. s
          schrutefarms RE: EarlyBird Sep 3, 2009 04:12 AM

          I;ve said it a million times on Chowhound-the best (IMO) is East India Grill, on La Brea and Oakwood. The greatest korma I've ever tasted...

          3 Replies
          1. re: schrutefarms
            EarlyBird RE: schrutefarms Sep 3, 2009 11:04 AM

            That sounds quite close to my neighborhood. I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the lead.

            1. re: schrutefarms
              houndofmusic RE: schrutefarms Sep 3, 2009 11:10 AM

              I would love to find a good Indian place close to the West Hollywood/Fairfax areas. I tried East India Grill a few times several years ago and found it extremely disappointing. I don't think I tried the Korma, however.

              1. re: houndofmusic
                schrutefarms RE: houndofmusic Sep 3, 2009 11:43 AM

                Really? I'm surprised. I've always been happy at East India Grill. Great service, relatively inexpensive, award winning garlic naan....The only time I wasn't happy there was when they banned beer from the patio, because of zoning problems (it's since been re-instated).

            2. meatlessinla RE: EarlyBird Sep 3, 2009 03:30 PM

              Crown of India in Hollywood east of Highland. It is some of the most flavorful Northern Indian food in the LA area outside of Artesia. The chef was the original chef of India's Grill. The portions are huge and it has no atmosphere to speak of.
              Crown of India
              6755 Santa Monica Blvd
              Los Angeles, CA 90038
              (323) 465-3321

              2 Replies
              1. re: meatlessinla
                EarlyBird RE: meatlessinla Sep 3, 2009 05:06 PM

                Yes! I haven't been there for YEARS! I forgot about it. My friends used to live in Hollywood, and she being an English woman, loved Indian food. Thanks for the reminder.

                1. re: EarlyBird
                  soniabegonia RE: EarlyBird Sep 4, 2009 04:29 PM

                  this thread got me craving Indian so went to Crown in India last night. Very good, very flavorful, nice people. There were some annoying buzzing sounds coming from the AC units but they were soon forgotten once we got the food. Some of the best Indian food I've had in LA. We got samosas to start, bhuna and vindaloo and some vegetable sides with the dinner combo - all had nice deep flavors and just all around solid. The only thing that wasn't great was the naan which was kind of flat and chewy. This is going to be my go-to Indian in Hollywood when craving strikes again.

              2. u
                upstarter RE: EarlyBird Sep 3, 2009 11:42 PM

                I will tell you right now that Al Noor is the best (although it's technicaly pakastini, b/c it's halal).

                Tikka Massala Panner
                Palak Paneer
                Chicken Tala Ghosht

                This has become my fav restaurant in LA. Al Watan also get's mentioned a lot, and though it is certainly in the same league as AN, i prefer AN. My only gripe (which i always point out on CH) is that AN is inconsistent, and one out of every 9 or 10 meals is off. It's still good, but not transcendental. They also have bad water.

                Please let me know what you think!

                p.s. be sure to order it "spicy" b/c otherwise they water down the flavors...

                4 Replies
                1. re: upstarter
                  mdpilam RE: upstarter Sep 4, 2009 12:00 AM

                  You know, I had been to Al Noor a couple times and Al Watan a few, and I went to Al Noor last weekend and was a little disappointed. I ordered the Nehari, an order of naan and a mango lassi. I also ordered it spicy, very spicy. The Nehari was a bit bland; almost soupy. It lacked the distinct flavors that AW's version had. The beef was tender, but there wasn't much of it, but at $7.99 you can't be too mad. It was a bit spicy, but I definitely wouldn't consider it very spicy. The mango lassi was also disappointing - thin and watery. I'd put AW above AN, but both are just above average in terms of Pakistani food.

                  1. re: mdpilam
                    upstarter RE: mdpilam Sep 4, 2009 08:59 AM

                    I've never had that specific dish, mdpilam. From what i've read (on this board) Al Watan does certain things better than AN. With that said, the dishes i've recommended are standouts and i don't really venture far from them. Of course, I have had mediocre dishes there, just like at every restaurant.

                    I would definitely have to disagree with you about "above average." I've eaten at many, and most can't even come close. I found out about AN from an Indian friend in high school who told me "it's the best." If you have better, i am VERY interested in trying them out b/c I love food from this region of the world.

                    1. re: upstarter
                      mdpilam RE: upstarter Sep 4, 2009 09:22 AM

                      Sorry, haven't had better here in LA, but in the Bay Area (where I came from), there are quite a few. I know, doesn't help you any.

                      1. re: upstarter
                        echoparkdirt RE: upstarter Sep 4, 2009 07:07 PM

                        Big fan of al-noor here too

                  2. m
                    Mr Grub RE: EarlyBird Sep 4, 2009 06:31 PM

                    The Grubs believe Bilal (Manchester nr Aviation in Westchester) may be the best Indian in the county. Decidedly nondescript & halal (no pork or alcohol), Bilal ladles up splendid Indo-Paki comfort food at affordable prices. To the Grub palate, the classic Indian dishes like chickens vindaloo and tikka masala are better than any Indian-only resto. Paki dishes aare an adventure. Service (or lack thereof) in this family-run treasure can be spotty.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mr Grub
                      Joe Blowe RE: Mr Grub Sep 4, 2009 06:51 PM

                      I don't believe I've been back to Bilal since I posted this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3704...

                      I've been meaning to give them another shot but, really, what's the point when I'm much closer to Al Noor and Al Watan (and both of which are better than Bilal, IMNSHO).

                    2. n
                      NAspy RE: EarlyBird Sep 4, 2009 08:09 PM

                      Try Taj Mahal of India on Pico Blvd just west of La Cienega.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: NAspy
                        vronic RE: NAspy Sep 5, 2009 03:15 PM

                        I can walk to Taj Mahal and keep hearing amazing things. I'm kicking myself for not having gone there yet.

                        On another note, I love Gate of India on Sunset and Pointsettia (near Cali Vegan) and my Indian roommate swears by Bollywood Cafe in Studio City.

                        1. re: vronic
                          Lambster RE: vronic Sep 5, 2009 05:15 PM

                          The Gate of India in Santa Monica used to be head and shoulders above any other Indian restaurant I've had in L.A. But, once the owner started venturing out into other businesses several years ago, the quality went way, way down.

                        2. re: NAspy
                          Jwsel RE: NAspy Sep 6, 2009 06:19 PM

                          I would never consider that Taj Mahal among the better places in LA, let alone even in the same area. In that area, I would recommend India's Grill, which is in the strip mall at the intersection of La Cienega and San Vicente. It's nothing to write home about, but better than Taj Mahal.

                        3. c
                          chimayo RE: EarlyBird Sep 5, 2009 06:26 PM

                          We used to love a little Indian place in Westwood -- can't remember the name -- in a tough-to-park mini strip-mall (only 2 or 3 businesses). It was on Westwood Blvd just north of SMonica, west side of the street. I recall the Indian chef worked in Austria for a time (why do I remember this and not the name?). The flavours were so fresh and bright, not like the overcooked musky tones of some kitchens. Anyone recall this restaurant or know where these people went? I still long for those dishes 7 years hence.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chimayo
                            sel RE: chimayo Sep 5, 2009 07:26 PM

                            Ambla Dhaba is the place.
                            "Link top a place" is not working - AGAIN Chow people!


                          2. a
                            aventinus RE: EarlyBird Sep 7, 2009 06:39 PM

                            Al Noor in Hawthorne for Northern Indian/Pakistani
                            Udupi Palace in Artesia for Southern Indian dhosas, uppatams, etc. (Udipi cuisine).
                            Surati Farsan Mart in Artesia for Gujarati
                            Curry Bowl in Tarzana for Sri Lankan (not Indian, but that's kind of the point).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: aventinus
                              a_and_w RE: aventinus Sep 8, 2009 09:50 AM

                              Wow...do they have black curry at Curry Bowl?

                              1. re: aventinus
                                EarlyBird RE: aventinus Sep 8, 2009 09:57 AM

                                Interesting about the Sri Lankan place. How does that cuisine compare to Indian or Pakistani?

                              2. maxzook RE: EarlyBird Sep 8, 2009 12:16 PM

                                My personal favorite has always been Salomi on Lankershim Blvd in the middle of the NoHo Arts District -- it was George Harrison's favorite Indian restaurant in L. A.

                                Salomi Indian & Bangladesh Restaurant
                                5225 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: maxzook
                                  BearCity RE: maxzook Sep 8, 2009 02:33 PM

                                  If you like it spicy, as I do, Salomi is unacceptably bland, George Harrison's opinion notwithstanding

                                  In the Valley, Lal Mirch is very tasty, if imperfect. Great curries and tikka, vegetable korma to die for, and they will prepare it as hot as you want it.

                                  Has anyone tried both Lal Mirch and the nearby Bollywood Cafe? There's a great smell coming off of Bollywood Cafe, but I can't bring myself to stray from Lal Mirch when I'm in the area.

                                  Lal Mirch
                                  11138 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                  1. re: BearCity
                                    soniabegonia RE: BearCity Sep 8, 2009 02:49 PM

                                    I've tried both and found them equally mediocre. I think I'd give a slight edge to Bollywood Cafe, though, because Lal Mirch smells like dirty carpet.

                                    1. re: soniabegonia
                                      BearCity RE: soniabegonia Sep 8, 2009 02:55 PM

                                      Where would you recommend, then?

                                      1. re: BearCity
                                        soniabegonia RE: BearCity Sep 8, 2009 04:44 PM

                                        I really liked Crown of India (see my comments upthread). My best Indian meal ever was at an Indian household in London. My meal at Crown of India comes closest to that meal (though still a very distant second). Their samosas had deeper, yet somehow brighter, fresher flavors than any other samosa I've had in LA. I wouldn't say they were amazing, but they made me happy. Their curries had much more complex and deeper characteristics than some of the flat, one-note curries I've had almost everywhere else.

                                        I also like 818 Masala in North Hollywood. They make a great yellow dal - rich, buttery, earthy and very satisfying - I could almost eat it as a soup.

                                        A lot of people on this board like Ambala Dhaba on Westwood. I think the flavors are great, but I found everything I had there too salty for my taste. I also like India Sweets & Spices on Venice (don't like the Atwater branch as much) and Paru, but these are vegetarian options. I didn't think Lal Mirch & Bollywood were terrible, just very run-of-the-mill and lacking depth. I find that true of most Indian places in LA, but I still go to some of them when I'm desperate, because Indian food is just not in my cooking repertoire.

                                2. g
                                  guitarkip RE: EarlyBird Sep 8, 2009 01:09 PM

                                  Akbar on Washington in Marina del Rey. Great deals for lunch. Get the Chicken Tiki Masala (sp?) I've been eating lunch there for 6 years.

                                  My wife blogged on it last month:

                                  1. OC Mutt RE: EarlyBird Sep 8, 2009 07:57 PM

                                    India's Oven (two locations, one on Beverly one on Wilshire in Brentwood) has always been my favorite.

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