I went to Akbar in Santa Monica after the good reviews and recomendations on this board. The restaurant had the typical Indian religious motifs and wall hangings. It seemed nice and clean. My first dissapointment was that I did not see one Indian on staff. The waitress was Brazilian, the cook and busboy were Mexican and the other waiter was some sort of blonde with a European accent. I still had hopes that maybe there was some authenticity to the food. The restaurant was quite empty. Aside from our table there were 2 more tables occupied in the restaurant which had a rather large occupancy. We ordered a large bottle of flat water and we were charged later a wine corkage fee on the bottle of water!I ordered the Chilean Sea bass "dinner" because of all the recomendations here and on another website. My husband ordered Chicken Akbari dinner, "chicken in an exotic cashew and saffron sauce". We ordered an entree of okra curry extra mild. Our friend ordered Chicken Tikka Saag, chicken with spinach dinner. The average price of a dinner was $16.95 and each dinner includes Naan bread, sauteed mixed vegetables, Daal of the day and rice. The food took rather long considering the amount of service people and the fact that the restaurant was rather empty. The 3 dinners came out together except no okra. My friend was happy with he chicken with spinach. I had a taste, it was good but not spectacular. My husband loved his cashew chicken. It was nice but again not spectacular, I found it to be really bland. Surpsingly I can't believe I would ever use the words bland and Indian food in the same sentence. The sauce was creamy with a hint of nut butter, but other then that I felt no spice or heat at all. However my real dissapointment of the evening came from the house specialty and most expensive dish at the restuarnat; the Chilean Sea Bass. The Chilean Sea bass was cut up into chunks and skewered in a kebab and cooked in their special clay like oven. I was really excited and looking forward to trying it. It had a bright yellow/orange color and was marinated in herbs and spices. My husband and friend asked me what it tasted like and I still can't come up with an answer, only a face. Then they tried it, and had the same reaction. None of us liked it, but we couldn't pinpoint what the flavor was, only that it was really pungent and unpleasant. It was like a bitter, pungent, sour flavor and not spicy at all. It was one of the worst fish dishes I have ever had, and I literally ended up feeding it to a dog later. My husband told me I should have sent it back, but I have never had the balls to do that. After everyone was done eating (more then 20 minutes or so later), the okra comes. The waitress apoligized and said that everything is prepared fresh and therefore takes longer to prepare. The okra had no curry, it was okra with chopped up onions and slices of hot chile peppers, and I mean hot! There was no flavor to the okra , only heat. I would not go again, and I would not recomed it especially for the price. If it had been half the price I would understand but for the prices they charge, I have higher expectations. I hope the other recomendations are less of a letdown.