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Restaurants & Bars 11

Why Indian food is better in shops

Samo | Sep 12, 200202:40 PM

I was gnawing a samosa fraught with greatness, warm from the oven of India Sweets & Spices, when I realized that the Indian food with nerve, the Indian food that's really deep, the Indian food that permits me to commune with Shiva, is the stuff I get at Los Angeles's New India Sweets & Spices (on Fairfax just north of Pico), at Northdridge's India Sweets & Spices (on Parthenia), at Torrance's India Spiceland (on Crenshaw). Communicating my dietary proclivities to the service personnel can be daunting (not at NISS), but the rewards are remarkable. There's the quality to price ratio, the insouciant dose of spice fit for a raja, the variety of textures not found in such establishments as Anarkali, Chandni, Akbar, Bombay Cafe, All India Cafe and so on. The atmosphere of the food shops is all the better thanks to one's proximity to bags of oily toovar dal, cans of lemon pickles, spicy cashews sold by the pound, Bollywood posters and tabloids (the star of "Lagan" was left by his wife), great stacks of Indian DVDs and lots of Indian diners getting what they need, what their souls crave, what their palates long for. The owners and cooks at the shops have not cravenly submitted to the perception rampant among Indian entrepreneurs that food served to whitey must not exceed the spice level of a Big Mac. They are not cooking for whitey.

Best of the lot:

Indian Spiceland
23906 Crenshaw Boulevard (north of Lomita)
(310) 530-8960

Very good:

New India Sweets & Spices
1245 South Fairfax Avenue (north of Pico)
Los Angeles
(323) 936-6736

Sweets & Spices
18110 Parthenia Street
(818) 407-1498

Good, but service rude in a hectic shop:

India Sweets & Spices
Venice Boulevard

Yet to try:

India Spices & Grocery
5994 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles
(323) 931-4871

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