For lovers of Indian Food: A Gem in K-Town
After reading/observing several posts on Indian food in the city of Los Angeles, I would like to put my two cents on a gem of place which seems to be missing from the lists of fellow Hounds.
The place in question is called "Makkah Halal Restaurant" located in a strip mall at the intersection of 4th Street and Vermont Ave (Koreatown). The owners are from Bangladesh and their food reflects an interesting mix of Mughlai/Punjabi (i.e. North Indian) with East Indian (Bengal) (The Yellow Dal/Dal Tarka is the closest to home-made daal in a lot of East/West Indian homes, the Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Bharta) is jolly good, the Aloo "Motor" as its called again has a homemade flavor to it - again more East Indian than North).
Lunch buffet is good, but does not have the variety of numerous other "Indian Buffet specialisits", however whatever is served is delicious to say the least. The Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken) is yummy to say the least and IMHO, is more or less a daily fixture.
However, I would highly recommend going for dinner and trying out the Chicken/Lamb Tandoori dishes (Tandoori Chicken/Chicken Tikka/Lamb Tikka are juicy, spicy and luscious, Seekh Lamb Kabab is good but I have had much better in Pakistani restaurants in Orange County). The curries - notably the Chicken/Lamb Bhuna, the Shrimp Curry, and the Chicken Vindaloo is outrageously good.
The downsides (which don't concern me but may concern others) are: its not a date place, its ambience is nothing to write home about (perhaps obvious from the first point) and it doesn't serve alcohol (and I am not sure if they allow BYOB). FYI, most dishes are in the $8-11 range.
Its closest geographical competitors are in the Los Feliz area, and it does have a potential "halal" competitor in "Agra" but "Agra"'s curries are OK, and the vegetarian fare is way below average. The tandoori dishes on the other hand are quite good (and it allows BYOB - been there, done that). The other Indian place "Electric Lotus" at best is average in terms of quality but certainly better in terms of size of portions (though it is a little expensive).
Makkah Halal Tandoori Restaurant
401 S. Vermont Ave.,#3
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Thanks for this report! I've been hanging onto a menu from Makkah since 2005, but this thread finally motivated me to order. I'm glad to now have a good Indian pick up/delivery place close to Silver Lake.
We got the Tandoori Dinner for Two to try a bunch of different things. The dinner was $33 and could easily have fed three hungry people or four with smaller appetites.
I particularly liked the chicken tandoori, the lamb seekh kabab, and the matar paneer, which was really tasty. The chicken and lamb tikka were a bit dried out. For dessert, we got a comforting rice pudding, which has coconut in it.
I'm looking forward to trying some of the curries. The various shrimp options also look good.
The restaurant has a website with a menu & other info:
I'm a big fan of Makkah Halal. Good dishes and good service. Their rendition of bangan bartha is my favorite in the city. It's more of a puree than chunks of eggplant, and it has a really nice smoky flavor. Also, if you like your food at atomic levels of spiciness, they're happy to accomodate (and I mean atomic... last time I asked for "extra spicy," the dish almost made me cry), but will do mild as well. I don't think their chicken tikka masala is the greatest around, but the bartha makes up for it. Solid delivery or dine-in option in a location where good Indian food can be scarce.
Agree with the praise. Makkah really is a [hidden] gem...
We always go with the mixed vegetarian dinner for 2: choice of 3 veggie dishes, soup/salad or samosa, rice, naan, dessert, tea or coffee for about $25-$30.
Same order everytime, probably once a week: The samaosas [nicely spiced potato mixture in somthing resembling more of a puff pastry than chewy deep fried dough - sprinkled with a dash of their signature seasoned salt], the freshest tasting Sag Paneer [homemade cheese and creamy spinach], garlicky Mushroom Bhajee [mushroom sauteed in onion, garlic and herbs] and their Channa Masala [spicy sweet garbanzo beans in tomato masala sauce].
Great service and they deliver to pretty much all of the surrounding neighborhoods: Los Feliz, Hollywood, Echo Park, Downtown, etc.
Jaffran is Bangladeshi. I went before they got a new owner about 2 years ago and it wasn't bad (it was C rated at the time). I got takeout and went to griffith park to eat but they didn't give me a fork, it got a little messy. I had a curry dish and two different rice dishes.
Down the street (towards Vermont) from Jaffran is Deshi Market which also has a steam tray counter. I've never eaten there but it is along the same lines as Jaffran. Across the street from Deshi is Asia Mart which is another Bangladeshi Grocery store.
Back on the other side of Jaffran is New Pardes Restaurant. This is another grocery store with a restaurant component. They are all along the same lines but I do not know how the food differs.
Lastly if you would like some sweets head over to Aladin Sweets & Market. I don't know if they are entirely Bangladeshi but they do carry many strictly Bangladeshi products. They have coin parking out front.
The owner of one of the markets told me there is a full sit down restaurant in Hollywood but we got sidetracked so I didn't get the name.
I go to all of these places regularly for business but I don't really eat at them because it would be a conflict of interest for me. Sorry I don't have more info on the food.
New Pardes Restaurant
4205 1/2 W 3rd St,
Los Angeles, CA 90020
4153 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
3723 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Aladdin Sweets and Market
139 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Across the street from Deshi
Makkah has great food; the chicken (any of it) is always on point.
Sorry for the thread hijack but... ahh... Bengali food. Didn't expect this to turn up here at all! :) You hounds surprise me sometimes.
One quick note is that Jafran has been renamed to Pardesh (with a very ugly yellow and red side... what an eye sore). Yeah, confusing, I know.
In terms of food, I'd have to rank it like this (best to worst):
New Pardes (try the Muglai Paratha... .so greasy, but so good! Four pieces for 5 bucks.), Asia Mart, Deshi (special mention for always having samosas and chai on deck :)), Pardesh, Aladdin
In terms of sweets:
Asia Mart (try the sweet yogurt, it's AWESOME!) and New Pardes have a tie (same supplier), Aladdin, Deshi
Aladdin often gets props for being the first "big" Bangla shop to open out here, but it's quality has really declined in the past few years. Unfortunately. The owner actually lives across the street from me, so I get to bug him from time to time.
Oh, a special note for those of you wanting to have some catering done for your next party:
Catering-wise, Deshi is the best. Don't bother with the others.