There is no one best Indian/South Asian restaurant in greater Los Angeles, but the local diaspora captures some of the variety of the subcontinent’s cuisine. losfelizhound breaks down some favorites by region:
Noorani Halal is one of the best places around for kebabs and biryani. They also make a delicious lahori chargha (steamed and deep-fried chicken) that whoops the ass of the tandoori chicken. Curries are typically Pakistani–delicious but oily. Excellent rotis.
Clay Oven is also on the short list for best biryani joint; kebabs are excellent too.
At Shan, the curries are only OK–but the kababs, nihari and paaya are fantastic.
Makkah Halal, Bangladeshi owned, is an interesting mix of Mughlai/Punjabi (north Indian) influences with Bengali (East Indian). Tandoori is juicy, spicy and luscious, and curries are outrageously good.
India’s Grill is essentially Punjabi cuisine, with killer chicken tikka and seekh kebabs. Curries in general are good but not great, but chana masala, kaali sal and fried okra (bhindi masala) stand out. Bread is good and portions are sizeable. There is beer and wine.
India Sweet House, a quasi-fast food North Indian spot, has excellent parathas, but that’s about it.
The small, chef-owned Gate of India in Santa Monica is a fave of Lee by the Sea. The chef’s style is a personalized version of Punjabi cooking, layered in its spicing and rich with cream and ghee. losfelizhound found it disappointing; the buffet should definitely be avoided.
Tibet Nepal House is under-mentioned and underrated for its Nepali food, which is herbier and less spicy than Indian food. (The Tibetan fare is average.) But if you like the spicy, the lamb tikka will do it for you. It’s also pretty date-friendly.
Tirupathi Bhimas, a favorite of the Bay Area’s Melanie Wong, specializes in the food of Andhra Pradesh. What’s that like? Spicy and yummy! They serve a thali lunch special that includes two or three choices of vegetables and sambars/rasam, plus rice, dal, etc.
The food at Paru’s tastes more Tamil than anything else. They’ve got good dosas, idli, uttapam and the usual South Indian suspects. Rasam soup is particularly good. They claim to be the oldest Indian restaurant in L.A., and are purely vegetarian. They serve beer and wine.
Only the long-gone Paru’s in Northridge had the consistently fresh flavors and textures of the food at the Culver City Annapurna, says Ravi, warning that the food doesn’t really stand up to the steam table–avoid the lunch buffet. losfelizhound says the Artesia branch can achieve greatness, but is tremendously inconsistent.
The food of Sri Lanka is similar to southern Indian, yet distinct: it’s hot as hell and delicious. At Curry Bowl, try roti with eggs, chicken curry, and the awesome dried-fish pickle.
Nothing beats Yogiraj–it’s THE places for homestyle Gujarati food, which is oily, buttery, and delectable. Try the village thali (#3) or the weekend buffet.
Lee by the Sea puts in a good word for Addi’s Tandoor, just about the only place in these parts that makes a proper vindaloo–without tomatoes. Other dishes are really good too–it’s worth a drive.
Noorani Halal Restaurant [Little Saigon]
14178 Brookhurst St., Westminster Blvd., Garden Grove
Shan Restaurant [Artesia-ish]
18621 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia
Makkah Halal Meat [Koreatown]
401 S Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
India’s Grill [Midtown]
428 S. San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles
India Sweet House [Midtown]
a.k.a. Paratha Place
5992 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
Curry Bowl Sri Lanka Cuisine [West San Fernando Valley]
19662 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana
Yogiraj [South OC]
3107 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim
What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?