While waiting for the crowds to clear at Honda-ya on Saturday,and because my pregnant wife could wait no longer,we jumped back in the car and turned down Newport Ave in Tustin in search of a less crowded spot.I quickly noticed Haveli, an Indian restuarant just around the corner from Honda-ya that looked interesting and not very crowded.Indeed,upon entering,there was only one other party and we had the place nearly to ourselves....not necessarily a good sign for Saturday night.
The restaurant,however,was lovely,and the menu looked interesting.Upon speaking with the friendly and gracious owners,we discovered they were Punjabi and and their food reflected an interesting mix of the familiar and the exotic Punjabi (i.e. North Indian) cuisine.
We ordered several dishes based on the owner's recomendations and soon began feasting on the deliciously spiced cuisine.Each of the dishes were beautifully prepared, exotic in there spicing,and unlike anything I had previously tasted.We had a punjab dish called chicken mehti,which was flavored with fenugreek,and an eggplant dish spiced with strong flavors of cumin and garlic.The food was in a completly different league then the food at India Cook House in Irvine and was closer in taste and style to the wonderful but now defunct Tamerind Restaurant in West L.A.
Everything was great,but the customers were nowhere to be found.This was truly one of those great finds that needs your support.I would hate to see this place go under,so I would implore my fellow Hounds to give this spot a try.It's right around the corner from that oh so popular Honda ya.
Haveli Fine Indian Cuisine
13882 Newport Ave Ste G
Tustin, CA 92780