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Apr 8, 2010 02:04 PM

Downtown Indian?

Is there any Indian in Downtown LA besides Gil's? I'd love to think that there's some Indian fast food, a la India Sweets & Spices (Atwater version), hidden somewhere. Gil's is a quite a schlep from where I work and not really worth it, IMHO.

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  1. There's the Dosa truck when it's around. There's something called Saffron at
    505 S Flower St
    Los Angeles, CA 90071

    (213) 488-9754

    6 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      . .. and that's about it.

      Saffron is in the food court at 5th & Flower.

      I don't know that there's enough of a Desi patronage base to support an IS&S-type place downtown, though with the real estate market being what it is right now, it might not be a bad "concept" right now...

      Gil's is still a pretty good deal: I ate there a week ago. Though it'd be nice if they changed up the buffet just a little more, occasionally...

      Anyone out there ever ordered off their menu?

      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

        I don't think that a large Desi population to draw from is necessary to support such a place, although I suspect that's the thinking of most would-be restaurant owners. In Washington, DC, where I used to live, there was a pretty good Indian place in a food court just off the Mall that mostly drew tourists. (Old Post Office, for those familiar.) They'd even make you a dosa. Not sure I ever saw an Indian at the whole food court, besides the ones running the restaurant, of course. Same folks, I think (or some relations), ran a buffet a little ways away that did a different region every day. Again, probably saw an Indian customer there, but not too many. Neither of these was Artesia quality, but there were more than passable. I suspect some entrepreneur could do some decent business opening up a quality spot in the right location downtown. Maybe the problem is the lack of dinner business? That's kind of the Achilles heel of trying to run a less expensive place downtown.

        P.S. I have never ordered off the menu at Gil's.

        1. re: JamesF

          While there are not enough "Desis" in the downtown district, not too far are many Bangladeshi grocery stores that serve quite decent Bangladeshi food - some of which overlaps with your standard Indian restaurant fare. No chicken tikka masala, or tandoori chicken, but plenty of rice, dal, vegetables, and all sorts of fish curries - most which you will NOT get in any standard Indian restaurant.

          Next Friday 4 of us are headed to Aladin Sweets. You can look at their menu on their website - Then you can decide whether it is worth the shlep over from downtown.

          I just did and I stand corrected - they do make a lot of the regular Indian fare - chicken curry, karhai chicken, chicken shikh kabab. But we usually go for the fish and the mutton dishes.

          Aladin Sweets & Market
          139 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

          1. re: suvro

            Oh, there's a string of Desi restos of various degrees of niceness, along Vermont now, from the hole-in-the-wall halal tandoori place (with the pool table, the name of which escapes me) on up, but I think JamesF was looking for something specifically walkable, (and not a HARD walk) from an unspecified location in downtown. In the downtown core, it's pretty much Gil's, and Saffron, and that's it...

            There WAS an Indian place in the food court for the Santee Alley part of the fashion district, but IIRC, last time I was down in that way, it was gone, along with several of the other tenants. Anyone else know otherwise?

            1. re: suvro

              I used the term Desi because silverlakebodhisattva used the term and I basically knew what was meant -- "Indian" or "South Asian" people regardless of specific geographic origin. I see from the talk page on the Wikipedia entry (but not from the main entry) that it's a somewhat controversial term. I meant no harm if the quotation marks are intended to convey offense or annoyance.

              1. re: JamesF

                No harm taken. We Desis often refer to ourselves as Desis. Only someone with a porcelain skin will take offense at that term.