The past few weekends something very rare happened in Los Angeles - it rained. For those of you who are unfamiliar, when it rains in LA our infamous traffic conditions suffocate the city even harder, massive outdoor film shoots are cancelled and the world’s best selfie lighting is gone for 24 hours. These are dark times for us, no pun intended. However, one benefit is that there are few things in this world better than a warm meal that tastes like your mom’s cooking on a rainy day! To prepare yourself for the next time you have this insatiable hankering, here are the 10 Best Indian Restaurants in LA.
10. Surati Farsan Market
When you ask anyone where the best Indian food in LA is, Surati Farsan Market is consistently in the conversation. It might have something to do with their very famous pav vada. It’s spicy and the bread is close to what you might find in the streets of Mumbai. Also be sure to get their falooda after your meal! If you don’t you are simply missing out.
9. The Indian Kitchen
West Hollywood is known for its amazing restaurants so it makes perfect sense that right in its centre is The Indian Kitchen. For classic dishes, with rich savoury curries and great service, this place has what you’re looking for. A local resident describes their garlic naan, chicken tikka masala and saag paneer as “a knockout combo that will send your taste buds on a journey through time.” That local is me. This place is great!
8. Lal Mirch
Lal Mirch is a romantic and usually packed Indian restaurant located in Studio City, a neighbourhood behind the Hollywood Hills. Their menu has many dishes that people love, however, the two entrees that get the most press are their lamb biryani and chicken tikka masala. If you’re looking to go out on a date, this restaurant might be perfect!
7. Bilal Tandoori
This very casual restaurant with tons of feel-good dishes is located just a two-minute ride from the airport so you can make it your first and last thing to do in LA. Bilal’s has the feel of an Indian restaurant in Southall, London. That might have something to do with the staff and decor but also in the food. The curries are very hearty and while they might give you a nice nap after, the flavour and spices are amazing. Whatever you fancy from their menu, it’s wise to start with any of their savoury samosas!
6. Zam Zam Market
This famous Indian - Pakistani market and restaurant has halal dishes that will make your mouth water as much as the recent weather. Their chicken karahi has been lauded as one of the best dishes they offer. If you go to Zam Zam Market, you’re not going for a scenic evening and a nice bottle of grape. You’re going for authenticity and flavours that hard to find outside of Southern Asia.
5. Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
Since moving to the world famous Sunset Boulevard in 1979, Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant has brought South India to East Hollywood. The most popular entree is their Tanjore Double that has a mini masala dosa (12"), idli, vadai, uppuma, vegetable curry, sambar, and a side of chutney. Hard to bet against a restaurant that has been satisfying customers like this for decades!
Located in sunny Santa Monica, Tumbi is a craft Indian kitchen. What does that mean? It means that Tumbi brings a modern and very chic twist to your favorite Indian dishes. Their food is all made with farmers market ingredients and you can pair it with fine alcoholic beverages. Fine dining has become very progressive and forward thinking, with the greatest chefs on the planet reimagining dishes every single day. At Tumbi, feel free to add truffle oil to your dosa. Or sink your teeth into a keema pav. That’s a minced lamb leg, coriander chilli, on a gunpowder seared pav. Haven’t even mentioned their apricot curry Patagonian toothfish masala with sustainably caught Chilean sea bass. I’m surprised you’re still reading this and are not on your way to Tumbi right now.
3. Spice Affair
Welcome to Spice Affair. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, this upscale restaurant has a variety of sizzling dishes that often attracts major Bollywood and Hollywood stars. In fact, several major reviews and publications have had Spice Affair in the running for one of the best Indian restaurants in America. They boast a vast fusion menu as well as your favourite traditional dishes. So in addition to butter chicken, you might try their truffle chicken tikka, tandoor artichoke hearts, or their lobster.
Mayur (translation: peacock), unlike Tumbi, is very traditional. The feel of this restaurant once you start eating takes you back to India instantly. The dishes and presentation certainly fit well with the already authentic entrees. This is a small restaurant, so it’s often a good idea to call ahead. The private dining experience, how salivating their soul food is, and the multiple rave reviews make Mayur a hidden gem.
Currently, the most talked about Indian restaurant in LA and for good reason. Located in downtown Los Angeles, Badmaash also brings a modern take to Indian dishes. The owners of the restaurant Mahendro family are not afraid of breaking the rules and showcasing their style and vision. The combination of their beverages and incredible ambience and unreal food are why this place is always busy. Go to town on a lamb burger with paprika mayo and finish it off with an ice cold Thumbs Up. Sink your teeth into a butter chicken samosa, or if you want something else maybe go for the masala potato fries. Personally some rosemary naan and their “good ol’ saag paneer” would do the trick.