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What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

Thanks for the rec Suvro - Saw Pickles when I was in that plaza for something else and was intrigued by an Indian restaurant among a predominantly Chinese/Taiwanese plaza. Had already got food from Kabob Corner so didn't check it out.

I always thought of Kottu Parotta as a very Kerala dish that had also made its way into Sri Lankan cuisine - didn't know it existed in Andhra too. I was at Kabob Corner last week and got the Andhra goat curry which was pretty good - have never tried their kababs - have never found an Indian/Pakistani place in LA that makes kababs to my liking (I'm from Delhi - allowed to be picky about this :) )

Dec 17, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area

What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

Never had the Rajdhani veg thali - for the longest time couldn't figure out how to get to that restaurant :). Anyway, will check it out! Thanks!

Dec 17, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area

What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

Thanks for the info Tony - didn't know about Turmeric. Rasbhog's biggest problem is their absolutely horribly mismanaged prep line - they simply fall apart when they have to prepare more than 5 orders at a time. But it's run by a Punjabi family and they don't mess up their Punjabi dishes. As for Ashoka - it mostly coasts along on the fact that it's been around for so long - which is not to say that Rasbhog is knock your socks off food - just that both are mediocre and Ashoka a tad bit more than Rasbhog.

Rasbhog has standard classic Punjabi dishes - makki ki roti and saag combo (corn flatbread and creamed blend of greens), kadhi-white rice (chickpea dumplings curry and rice), rajma-chawal (red kidney beans-rice), kathal (jackfruit), chholey (garbanzo beans).

I recently discovered that Bombay Sweets across the street had a change in ownership and is run by a Punjabi family too - that cooks better than Rasbhog. They have all the above dishes and also make many paranthas (stuffed flatbreads) - the paneer parantha was quite good.

You are absolutely right to stick to the shaks at Surati - trust me that's their best offering (along with a few Gujarati snacks like lilwa kachori and ragda-petis). I honestly cannot recommend anything else - they try to do a pan Indian menu and their South and North Indian offerings aren't very good.

Jay Bharat is far superior to Rasraj - I've tried only a few things at Rasraj but prefer Jay Bharat.

Dec 17, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area

What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

Thanks so much for the recommendation - my local Punjabi grocery store owner tells me that there's a large Punjabi diaspora in the valley and some good restaurants too. Must check Red Chili out. Haven't heard of Valley India before - Woodlands in Artesia is average - I hope the one in Chatsworth is bettter. Will check out Village Tandoor too.

Dec 17, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Any Great Turkish Places in Los Angeles?

I've been to Sako's multiple times and would wholeheartedly recommend it. It's the favourite place of a Turkish friend of mine with excellent taste. Almost everything they make is lovely - including the mezze specials of the day, the doner, basturma, the grilled liver, the grilled fish, their lovely delicate manti. The limited dessert menu is yummy - you cannot miss their ekmek kataif.

Dec 17, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area

What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

Couldn't resist adding yet another "I'm Indian, hear me out" to the already bursting at the seams chorus. Down thread, Indian Vegan is spot on - Indian food varies tremendously from state to state and religious and ethnic communities and a mere sliver of that diversity is captured in the LA area.

Here's the lowdown on Indian subcontinental food diversity in LA -

Gujaratis - and the two explicitly Gujarati restaurants in LA - Surati Farsan and Jay Bharat are both very good - if you stick to the Gujarati side of the menu. I find it hilarious when people recommend the dosas at Surati - those are not their forte - and Surati's dosas are awful. The daily specials of Gujarati dishes are always good though - but Jay Bharat's renditions are better - besides Jay Bharat has a more elaborate Gujarati menu.

Andhra-ites - the food from Andhra Pradesh is unapologetically hot - if chili heat is not your thing, stop reading now. The best vegetarian Andhra food in LA is at Tirupati Bhimas - the best non-veg is in their sister restaurant Kabob Corner - and you can basically order from both menus at Kabob but not at Bhimas (very confusing!). Their dosas are very good - try pesarattu which is like a distant cousin of the Korean bindaettok with semolina grits as filling.

Malayalis/Kerala - lots of Malayalis in LA and hardly any restaurants serving them! There's Mayura - I love the aunty who runs the place - I basically go in, get my appams and goat curry order to go and am on my way. In my opinion, pretty much the only thing on their menu that's worth it if you like goat (sorry Indian Vegan - I've had lots of great Kerala food - puttu kadala, avial, egg roast - Mayura is very average).

Punjabis - Punjabi restaurants are everywhere in LA and yet a good one is so bloody hard to find! Hands down the best Punjabi food in LA is at the communal kitchens in Sikh temples but that's not a restaurant meal option :). When I want a cheap Punjabi food fix I go to Rasbhog or Bombay Sweets and Snacks in Artesia (both run by Punjabi families - not great, very hit or miss, but homestyle affordable food). For heaven's sake, please don't order dosas here!! Dosas are not Punjabi food! Too bad these are vegetarian and my quest for a Punjabi restaurant that does great grilled meats and curries continues.

Apart from these ethnicities, most others are sparsely represented here. For those on a biryani quest, Zam Zam is pretty acceptable - they make Bihari/Calcutta style biryani with the addition of potatoes which is a bit odd to my Delhi palate but not something I cannot live with.

For those who love golgappas, the only place that comes close to Delhi style golgappas is Bombay Sweets and Snacks.

Dec 09, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area
3

simpang asia-- anybody been recently? any good?

Simpang Asia used to be pretty awesome back when they used to simply be a tiny grocery store with boxes of food to go. Then they expanded and added the restaurant and they were still awesome with jars of sambal terasi on each table.

In the past year or so I've witnessed a noticeable change in their food. Their nasi Padang was missing the sambal udang (spicy shrimp) the last time I checked. They haven't made their gule kambing (goat curry) in a while which used to be a Ramadan special.

Something's changed for sure - there's still some good stuff - the ayam penyet is delicious - if you have a high tolerance for shrimp paste like I do. The ayam rica rica is also good. Everything else is hit or miss.

Dec 09, 2013
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Indian Mangos!!!

Puh-leez. Joe is right - the only reason Alphonso has built a reputation is because it is sturdy enough to survive the journey. In Northern India, where the Alphonso is known as Hapus, it is hardly considered in the same league as a Langra or a premium Dussehri, or even the Chausa.

Nov 20, 2007
anthead in Manhattan

Where can I find Yusheng in LA?

I had yusheng as a side dish to a stellar fish porridge/congee in a Hawker Centre in Singapore early this year. Ever since I came back, I've tried to find it in LA but don't even know where to look since there are hardly any restaurants serving Singapore Chinese food here. Perhaps a version of yusheng can be found in other Chinese restaurants?

For those who don't know, yusheng is a raw fish salad where, at least in the Singapore version, strips of fish are tossed with a number of toasty, crunchy ingredients, with a squeeze of kalamansi juice on top (limau kasturi in Malay, I think).

Here's a picture of the Singapore yusheng I ate -

http://yummydummy.blogspot.com/2007/0...

Sep 09, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Bangladeshi Cuisine?

Well, Aladin really is your best bet, because Jafran and Pardeshi are even sadder. Try Aladin's "tel koi" when it's freshly made and hasn't been sitting under a heat lamp for a while. They do a pretty good job with it. It does float in oil, but in this case, the floating in oil is justified because that's the nature of the dish.

However, as I said, if I want Bengali food, most of the times I make it at home.

I'm curious that you refer to Shaan's Pakistani cuisine. I know Shaan bills itself as an Indian and Pakistani restaurant, but the owners are from Hyderabad, India. It's very Hyderabadi food with baghara baingan and mirch ka salan and a very Hyderabadi haleem. Unfortunately, their execution of these dishes leave a lot to be desired.

Sep 08, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Bangladeshi Cuisine?

Aw, too bad Aladin didn't work out for you and sorry your introduction to Bengali food was less than stellar. If you ever work up the courage to go there again, specifically avoid the parathas that are the biggest culprit of the "dripping in oil" variety.

The oiliness of Bangladeshi restaurant food totally baffles me. I'm from West Bengal in India, and both home-cooked food and what's served in restaurants has very little oil and is one of the lightest, most subtle cuisines in India.

I've had Bangladeshi home cooking which is more similar to West Bengali home cooking rather than Bangladeshi restaurant food. Something about going overboard with oil and spices in a restaurant setting I guess.

By the way, how are you with bony and fresh water fish? As Suvro told you in his excellent explanation of Bengali cuisine, the fresh water fish dominates the cuisine and we seem to have an especial fondness for fish with tiny bones.

Sep 05, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Bangladeshi Cuisine?

Makkah Halal is run by Bangladeshis. However, they do not serve Bangladeshi/Bengali food. Their food is mostly an approximation of pan-North Indian and Pakistani food. They're not bad at what they do, but I do wish they would serve Bengali food because they seem to have some competent cooks in their kitchen.

Sep 04, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Bangladeshi Cuisine?

A. Devi is not a Bangladeshi restaurant. When it was in business (it has since shut down), it used to serve pan-Indian food with some Western accents. The Bangladeshi restaurant in New York is Mina's. It has many admirers on Chowhound.

B. A better book on Bengali cuisine than Bharati Kirchner's (her recipes are atrocious) are Chitrita Banerjee's books on Bengali food. There isn't a better introduction to Bengali cuisine in English.

C. All Bangladeshi restaurants in LA are hit or miss, but on it's good days Aladin can churn out a pretty decent meal. That's where I end up on days when I don't feel like cooking Bengali food at home and still crave my comfort food. Like all Bangladeshi restaurants, they tend to go overboard with excess oil in the dishes, a complete contrast to Bengali home cooking which is very light and healthy.

But if you can get past the oil, the "tel koi" (oily koi), the "ilish sorshey"(shad in mustard sauce), uchhey/korola (stir fried bitter gourd), the stir fried mixed vegetables are all fine.

Sep 04, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Chicken Tikka Burrito

This sounds like a variation on the kathi roll that was invented in India by a restaurant based in Calcutta. They are an extremely popular street food in Calcutta and now the rest of India. All kinds of kababs, including chicken tikka, goat boti kabab, seekh kabab, grilled paneer are rolled up in a bread ( in the case of the Indian version, it's a thick parantha) with chutneys, onions and tomatoes. But as someone pointed out below, the kathi roll always comes with a fried egg inside.

Oh, and there is no difference along national lines between Indian and Pakistani nan. Unlike what is served in Indian restaurants here, real Indian nan is exactly like the Pakistani version - thick, fluffy and yeasty.

Aug 21, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Do Indian people complain about spicy food? (and other late night musings)

Where is his data coming from? Note that he says "Nine to 10 per cent patients", which makes me suspect that he's essentially calculating this proportion from the number of people who are already reporting to a doctor for suspected allergies.

I think the 16-20 per cent figure comes from similar calculations because 20 per cent is just an absurd figure.

Growing up in India I knew only one person in my extended circle who had a food allergy.

Aug 18, 2007
anthead in Not About Food

Delicious Home-style Punjabi Food

I have a feeling that we may be referring to the same thing, and the difference is in very slight degree. If they can be mashed up by the back of your karchhi, they are good enough for me. However, most Indian restaurant chholey is undercooked and packs a bite.

By the way, have you tried Ambala Dhaba in Westwood (not the Artesia branch). I know it gets a lot of mixed reports on this board, but their food is the closest to the Punjabi food I cook and ate at the homes of friends growing up in Delhi. Their cook is from Amritsar, and learnt his chops at a dhaba there.

Jul 30, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Delicious Home-style Punjabi Food

They are literally next door to where I live. The place is run by a Punjabi family that also runs the grocery store next door. The food does taste fresh and homemade, though frankly, like something made by a moderately competent home chef, not someone with excellent culinary skills. I've definitely had far superior home-cooked Punjabi food.

I'm puzzled that you actually prefer al dente chholey. To me this is a pet peeve, a majority of LA Indian restaurants seems to undercook the garbanzo beans (chickpeas), instead of slow cooking them to the point when they are very soft but haven't disintegrated. I can't recall a single meal in India where I've ever had al dente chholey, whether at someone's home or in a dhaba/restaurant.

Jul 05, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Terrible Indian -- Westside -- Sad

This is absurd - I can't think of a single Indian dish that would combine saffron, star anise, coriander, pepper and fenugreek. Star anise anyway is a fairly rare ingredient in the cuisine of most states of India.

Jun 29, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

India Sweets & Spices in Glendale NEVER AGAIN

Are you sure the India Sweets & Spices on Venice in Culver City is under the same management? As far as I know, the family that runs the ISS in Culver City has only one grocery store/food counter.

I went to ISS in Glendale only once and was completely put off by the hospital cafetaria like ambience and service (made even worse by a blaring television in the middle of the room). And the food wasn't good enough to trump over the indifferent service and ambience. By the way, I think ISS in Culver City is superior to the one in Glendale.

Fromberkeleytolosangeles: There is a very clear explanation for why ISS in Glendale makes mediocre dosas - the place is run by a Punjabi family, and dosa is South Indian food. If you want good dosas you should go to a South Indian speciality restuarant.

There are a few of those in LA, including Paru's (not a personal favourite, the dosas are a tad greasy), Annapurna in Culver City (pretty good dosas, though the masala filling can be bland at times), and Tirupati Bhimas in Artesia (haven't tried their dosas yet, but their thali is not bad). I personally don't like Udupi so much, and I haven't tried Woodlands yet.

Jun 25, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Why are Indian restaurants so crummy compared with the glory of Indian cuisine?

No kidding! Tandoori roti from rural Orissa? Are you sure you were in Orissa and not in Punjab? Most folks in rural Orissa have never seen a tandoor - in fact they probably haven't even heard of one. Most probably you ate at a Punjabi run dhaba on the national highways that runs through Orissa.

Orissa's food mixes elements of Bengali and Andhra cuisine. Lots of freshwater and sea fish, rice, and seasonal vegetables. It is fantastic food, but perhaps not really what you ate. I'm curious, what part of Orissa were you based in?

Jun 01, 2007
anthead in General Topics

Why are Indian restaurants so crummy compared with the glory of Indian cuisine?

No, we are all Bengalis period. However, there are Indian Bengalis and there are Bangladeshi Bengalis.

Jun 01, 2007
anthead in General Topics

Mangoes from India

This Alphonso hype seems excessive to me. India has over 300 varieties of mangoes, and many would argue that some are as or more delicious than Alphonsos. As someone who's eaten plenty of Alphonsos, as well as grew up eating mangoes in northern India, I'd take a Dussehri, Langda, Chausa or the Bengali Himsagar over Alphonso any day.

Unfortunately or fortunately (for the Indian consumer), these varieties are either too delicate to transport over long distances or all the export produce is sent to the Middle-East. In fact, many a mango grower in northern India's mango belt would tell you that the Alphonso's primary advantage is that it can be shipped over long distances without much damage to the mango.

May 23, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Does AYCD and AYCE Korean BBQ Exist?

Don't know about Vermont and James Wood, but there is Manna which is just a block west of Olympic and Western (on Olympic) which has a $15 AYCE deal. I've only been there once, and the food was ok, as good as an AYCE BBQ place can be expected to be. I don't know if they have an AYCD deal though. It's a huge space and very noisy.

May 22, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Why doesn't LA have any good Greek restaurants??

Are you sure? When did this happen?

Mar 03, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Indian Chinese in LA

Losfelizhound, would you know if their regular chefs who cook the Indian food also make the Indo-Chinese stuff, or do they have a special chef to make the Indo-Chinese food? Tangra Bistro was special because the entire restaurant was devoted to Indo-Chinese and the chef was Chinese from Tangra, Calcutta.

Feb 28, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Indian Chinese in LA

That's such a pity! Too bad, because that was as good as it got as far as Indo-Chinese is concerned in LA.

Feb 28, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Wat Thai ...Mangoes?

Hmm.....has she never used Thai mangoes? I had the sticky rice at her stall last year and I could have sworn she told me those were Thai mangoes. A fluke perhaps?

Feb 28, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Makkah Halal (Indian) – report

Given that they advertise themselves as a halal restaurant, I must say they are being extremely generous and accomodating in allowing you to bring wine to the restaurant.

Fried rice is not biryani without the meat (at least it shouldn't be). It is an Indian version of Chinese fried rice, but with no egg, seasoned with whole cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cassia leaves, raisins and cashews and may include vegetables like peas, carrots and green beans.

Feb 28, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Indian Chinese in LA

Tangra Bistro in Artesia. The owner is Chinese from Calcutta - apparently speaks Bangla :). His food is classic Indian Chinese - Hakka noodles, chili chicken, chiken manchurian, the works.

Feb 27, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area

Best Persian Food in San Fernando Valley

Darband is the one I've heard praised by friends, though I've never been there myself. If driving wasn't a problem then Raffi in Glendale, or Shehrzad or Sholeh in Westwood would be very good choices. Personally I love the ambience and decor in Baran on Westwood, but the food's so-so.

Feb 26, 2007
anthead in Los Angeles Area