By Alison Widdoes
Los Angeles Local Expert
At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Los Angeles's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. When we're in the mood for Indian food in Los Angeles, we head to Clay Pit - a reader favorite - or we count on All India Cafe's solid track record and consistently great dishes. You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Indian cuisine, and if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start with the vibrant Beverly Hills area.
Blessed with a wonderful patio and food described by expatriate regulars as "the best we've had in the states," Radhika's is one of the best places in Pasadena to enjoy lush, fragrant Indian cuisine. The sounds of a trickling fountain provide a soothing backdrop as you enjoy chicken tikka masala, lamb dhansak, or chicken dopiaza with its thick, spicy tomato-and-onion sauce. The lunch buffet is a great deal, so be prepared to encounter a fairly large crowd. On weekend nights, belly dancers and traditional Indian folk music add even more flavor to the experience. (626-744-0994)
8 Bombay Cafe
Well-known for their array of fresh chutneys, Bombay Caf-- is a warm and inviting place attracting a broad range of patrons. Traditional Indian cuisine is spiked with the addition of seafood and year-round fresh produce, and the result is always flavorful, without the heavy oils found in some Indian dishes. Favorites include saag paneer, aloo gobi, chicken tikka masala, and the Frankie, a popular Indian "burrito," filled with your choice of meats or vegetables. Friendly staff is more than happy to help you negotiate the menu. (310-473-3388)
7 Nawab of India
A notable lunch buffet and enviable curry dishes generate lots of buzz for this enticing Indian restaurant. So, too, do the outstanding all-white decor and expert service. Upscale and refined, the place is pleasant and welcoming. Enjoy authentic entrees, including a spicy chicken vindaloo and eggplant curry. Nice selection of vegetarian dishes, too. (310-829-1106)
6 Gate of India
Tempting Indian dishes are the order of the day at this Santa Monica restaurant. Make sure you opt for a main course that comes with the chef's signature Indian-style mashed potatoes. Afterwards, reward yourself with gajar halvah, an uncannily delicious dessert choice crafted from carrots, ginger, and milk! Trendy folks happily engage with their meals in the quiet dining room, which is decorated in warm tones and with beautiful tapestries. (310-656-1664)
5 India Sweets & Spices
Open since 1984, India Sweets and Spices is the largest Indian supermarket chain in Southern California. Serving the most authentic vegetarian South Indian cuisine, don't come here looking for lamb or fish. The welcoming dining room is attached to a giant grocery store where you can spend hours shopping for the perfect henna tattoos, Indian costume jewelry, or rows upon odor-ific rows of incense. The best bang for your buck is one of the three meal specials, the most expensive clocking in at around $8, providing enough food to pack up and take home for a spicy lunch the next day. ((562) 809-3131)
4 Chakra Cuisine
This colorful, seductive space provides a warm, inviting setting for sampling Chakra's own brand of unique Indian cuisine. Effortlessly melding new flavors with traditional spices and recipes, the restaurant prides itself on dishes possessing universal appeal. Tandoor-grilled tofu tikka is an unexpected, healthy entree; tandoori chicken and seekh kebab "gilafi" (lamb mince with herbs and spices) are classic but no less appealing choices. A hip bar and lounge offer places to mix and mingle after dinner. (310-246-3999)
3 Bombay Palace
This pleasant, open room, filled with tables, gets crowded during lunch and dinner rushes, when hungry diners line up for a phenomenal midday buffet and order well-crafted traditional Indian dishes in the evening. Begin your meal with a helping of clay oven-baked naan or alu paratha, Indian breads that are delicious on their own and are also perfect for disposing of extra sauce. Main dishes like lamb nilgiri (a mint-seasoned meat and vegetable stew), saag paneer, and seafood vindaloo satisfy regulars and first-timers alike. (310-659-9944)
2 All India Cafe
As the name indicates, you'll find dishes from all regions of India served at this aromatic cafe, a joint venture between two brothers, one of whom was once chef at L.A.'s popular Bombay Cafe. All India boasts authentic touches of native artwork, but the cuisine -- potato pancakes, tandoori dishes, and curries -- keeps diners coming back. The fact that lunch can be served in under an hour is an added plus. After enjoying the spicy cuisine, try a dish of their homemade Indian ice cream to cool your palate. (626-440-0309)
Tandoor-A-India is the go-to spot for great Indian food in Playa Del Rey. Although parking is daunting to maneuver, once inside the atmosphere is quiet, quaint and inviting. Try the Tikka Masala and remember Naan costs extra but is worth the spend. Tandoor-A-India offers takeout, free delivery catering, lunch, and dinner, as well as a lunch buffet for $8.95. ((310) 822-1435)
About Alison Widdoes
Alison is a licensing professional, yogi and travel writer based in Los Angeles. Her Bachelor’s degree in French fueled an early desire to travel, while her Master’s in Business Administration later served her career. As a 500-hr certified yogi, her passion for yoga and travel has led her on retreats around the world from Bali to Brazil. When not working or yoga’ing, Alison writes for jetsetextra.com, 10best.com, hotelchatter.com and her blog at http://anecdotali.wordpress.com. Alison’s life mantra is to stay lighthearted, with an eye toward laughter and never taking oneself too seriously. Follow her on twitter @anecdotali.
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