If you’re in the mood for something spicy, the one thing guaranteed to satisfy your cravings is an Indian meal. Exotic and full of flavor, they hit the spot like nothing else. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing lassi, a soulful bi, or a fiery vindaloo, you’ll find what you’re looking for and more on our round up of the ten best Indian restaurants in LA.
If the old saying that you eat with your eyes is even half true, you’re in for a treat at Badmarch. The father and son’s team of Pawan, Arjun and Nakul Mahendro have created something unique at this downton restaurant, mixing elements of the old world (vintage Bollywood posters, imported aluminum tumblers) with elements of the new (contemporary art pieces, and a very bold color scheme) with excellent effect. The food is just as noteworthy as the décor, with standouts including the truly addictive Punjabi Fish Fry and the “one is never enough” samosas. The wine line is excellent, while there’s also a good little selection of local beers for though who prefer the grain to the grape.
9. Paru's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
With a menu that specializes in authentic South Indian cuisine and a relaxed, informal vibe, Paru's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant is a great place to while away a few hours over a beer and curry. The menu is extensive enough to offer choice, but not to the point of being overwhelming. If you’re new to Indian cuisine, throw yourself into the deep end with one of the 3 pre-set full dinner options, which take you from appetizer to dessert on a glorious wave of spices and flavors.
8. Samosa House
The cafeteria-style dining experience offered at Samosa House gives the restaurant a fun, informal vibe that belies the very authentic (and totally incredible) food being served. For once, the vegetarian options are as good as, if not better than, the meatier dishes; even if you’re a committed carnivore, you’ll not want to miss the Idli Wada Plate, a stunning mix of steamed rice cakes and fried lentil dumplings served with sambhar, coconut, and tomato chutney
If you’re itching to try some western Indian food, you might want to set your sights on Rajdhani, a gorgeous little restaurant serving some of the best vegetable dishes in LA. Service is table side rather than at a buffet, so don’t hesitate to ask the friendly wait staff for their help in navigating the menu- although not to end it with one of the house’s gorgeous rose ice creams would be a travesty.
6. Electric Karma
Serving up an unbeatable combination of romance and Punjabi cuisine is Electric Karma, a gorgeous West Hollywood restaurant that’s as remarkable for its ambiance as it is its menu. As old Bollywood movies play across the ceiling, candles flicker and music plays soft, diners are invited to eat from a menu that showcases the best of Indian cuisine, from authentic vegetarian samosas seasoned with tamarind and sweet tomato chutney to Tandoori Fish Salad and Gaajar Halwa (a mouthwatering carrot pudding with golden raisins and almonds, served warm with a dash of cream).
5. East India Grill
For those looking for an inexpensive lunch buffet, East India Grill is sure to please. The restaurant’s been operating since 1986, and if the constant flow of repeat customers is anything to go by, it’s fair to say it’s found its feet. The informal, vibrant atmosphere is complemented by a wait service that puts the friend in friendly. The menu, meanwhile, offers a fabulous combination of meat and vegetarian options that will leave few hungry. The Wings from Hell are a standout: as part of the original 1986 menu, they’ve been tempting customers with their fiery sauce and melt in the mouth chicken for over 30 years.
4. Bombay Tandoori & Banquet
If you’re a South Bay local, you shouldn’t miss a visit to Bombay Tandoori & Banquet. Along with an excellent buffet lunch for just 11 dollars, there’s an al la carte menu that can’t help but please with its range of authentic dishes that positively ooze flavor. If you’re in the mood to test your spice tolerance, try the chef’s specialty of lamb vindaloo, a sizzling blend of lamb in a thick gravy of scorching spices, potatoes, and tomatoes. Don’t forget to cool yourself down with a soothing desert afterwards- the Rasmalai (freshly made soft cheese patties, drenched in sweet milk laced with grated pistachios) for $3.50 and the Gulab Jamun (milk balls deep-fried to a rosy brown in purified butter and gently cooked in light rose flavored syrup) are worth the visit alone.
3. All India Café
Voted Best Indian Restaurant by San Gabriel Valley residents in Pasadena Weekly's annual 'Best Of' Awards for the last 15 years, the delightful All India Café is the true definition of a local favorite. Chef-owner Santokh Singh honed his skills at the celebrated Bombay Café before branching out, and his years of experience (not to mention exquisite palette) is well on show in a menu that takes you on a culinary journey across the Indian subcontinent via treats such as Shrimp Chat (Marinated Black Tiger Shrimp tossed with puffed rice, potatoes, wafers, and chickpea crisp noodles with three chutneys, cilantro, and lime juice), Masala Dosa (a South Indian crispy crepe made with rice and lentil flour, filled with spiced potatoes and served with sambar & coconut chutney), and Idli, a South Indian steamed cake made with rice and lentil flour, served with sambar and coconut chutney.
2. Mayura Restaurant
For Kerala cuisine, Mayura Restaurant should be your go-to. The menu is a glorious celebration of South Indian spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric and cardamom, with staple dishes like chicken tikka masala, lamb vindaloo and vegetable biryani competing for attention with the more imaginative offerings of palak paneer, puttu, and upma.
Despite the luxurious surrounds, Cardamom is a surprisingly affordable option for West Hollywood residents. The lunch menu is a riot of colors, aromas, and flavors, transporting you to all corners of India with dishes like Murgh Manglore/Chetinad Murgh, Gosht Madhurai/Gosht Pasanda, and Chandni Chowk/Beef Bhuna, along with traditional desserts like Gulab Jamun and Gajar Ka Halwa
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn