Looking for Spicy Indian Food
I've had a Indian friend come visit a few times always looking for spicy Indian foods. Well the past 2 times my friends recommended places that did not live up to the tasty/spicy scale.
Where can you recommend in LA/OC for the best Indian food that has some heat to it?
"Is it true I should just be looking for Pakistani instead of Indian..."
Well, yes. Hell yes. But I'm biased on the topic! For me, Pakistani (and some Punjabi) food rocks all over your average SoCal Indian fare. Full flavor, full heat, full ghee, sweating profusely, make-sure-you-take-your-Tagamet goodness. And, you should note that these dishes are not simply jammed with chiles just to prove some point -- they're packed with heat AND levels of spiciness (as in many, many different spices) you just don't find in your typical Indian restaurant.
For you, you just won't know until you go...
If you want to venture over to the Valley, there's a place on Burbank Blvd. in Van Nuys called Passage to India. You can order pretty much any entree on the menu on the 1-5 scale, "phall" or 5 being the hottest. The phall food was the some of the spiciest food I've ever eaten.
the prawns madras at akbar (marina and santa monica - i like the marina location better) are nice and spicy. BUT:
1. They have a 1-5 scale. You have to repeatedly tell them to make it a 5-plus!
2. You have to tell them you've eaten there before, like it, and really want it that spicy.
3. If you're eating in the restaurant (they make the food spicier for to-go and delivery) - you have to promise you will not send it back if it is too spicy.
I think they get a lot of people who can't really handle spicy but order it anyway and get complaints. When I am emphatic and tell them to make it a 5-plus (or "make it a 10" "as spicy as you can") and promise I won't complain - it usually turns out pretty well.
the lamb vindaloo is sometimes spicy and sometimes not (same ordering instructions).
good luck and enjoy!
If heat AND flavor is what you seek, skip the Indian altogether and get yourselves to a Pakistani joint.
(Of course, they're not the most vegetarian-friendly places, but you can manage...)
13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250
15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260
If heat is what you seek, New India Grill on Westwood will make any dish really hot if you ask for it "very spicy." The food itself is pretty good, but not great. If flavor is what you're looking for, I highly recommend the veggie Indian at Bawarchi, though it's not particularly hot.