Restaurants & Bars 3

Masala Magic - a gem in Lancaster.

JThur01 | Jan 29, 201011:57 AM

Opening last Summer as a market with a take-out counter, Masala Magic only recently added tables for sit down dining. The restaurant specializes in Southern Indian fare. In this regard it offers a great counterpoint to the well established Malhi's Restaurant, which leans much more heavily to Punjabi or Northern Indian style (though Southern Indian items turn up on occasion in the lunch buffet at the Malhi's in Palmdale and Masala Magic does offer some Northern style items).

If your first thought is "vegetarian?...blah!", give it a try. First, apparently they offer some mutton or chicken curry on occasional weekends. Do keep in mind, this food is much spicier than most of Malhi's buffet items. It is hardly weak or bland. This is the kind of vegetarian that even Anthony Bourdain praised (matter of fact, in his visit to an Indian place in NYC, most of the items shown there have been found at Masala Magic, either from their counter or from the market section. The main exception being dosas, which the owner tells me they are planning on making soon).

So far, I've just done the take-out (several times), so the review is based on those offerings.

Offering eight combos ranging from $2.99 to $7.99, it also ranks as one of the best bargains in the Antelope Valley. The #4 ($7.99) offers three items - either a dal or chole with choice of two veggie items, a chapatti, samosa, pickles, raita and a dessert (either rasmalai or gulab jamun) and a beverage (chai tea or strawberry drink, sometimes lemonade). Portions are good sized. I've usually gotten two meals out of the #4.

The only disappointment is that sometimes they don't seem to include the raita or dessert or offer some of the items they did when they first opened. This is a minor quibble though, especially at the prices. One item listed on original flyers as a beverage choice that seems to have gone missing is jaljeera.

The counter features a dal, a chole and six different veggie dishes to choose from. The veggie dishes have ranged widely - gobi aloo (potatoes & cauliflower), saag (spinach), okra, gram dumplings, bell peppers & potatoes, a couple of different cabbage dishes...too many to name. Every time I've visited, there has always been 1 or 2 dishes that I have not seen there before.

Lassis are also available, mango, sweet or salt, though not as part of the combos. A wide range of Indian sweets (mithais) are also available in a counter next to the take-out counter.

The adjacent market offers a wide range of Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan packaged and frozen foods, snack items, fresh produce, spices...you name it, with a lot of Gujarati and Udupi items. Videos, music and clothing are also available. Not only is this the most diverse Indian restaurant in the AV, it's also the best Indian market.

From what I've read and seen, Masala Magic is comparable to a highly regarded Indian take-out/market in Culver City. Any real foodies in the AV should appreciate that and hopefully take advantage of this. There are not many places out here comparable to those in the Los Angeles area. If you want something different or are looking for a regular destination, Masala Magic fills the bill.

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