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My search for a favorite Indian food place has finally yielded two contenders:) Agra Indian Kitchen and Mayura Indian Restaurant. I like to compare the same dishes to compare, just like a wine tasting of the same varietal. I ordered from both for delivery of the same distance through GrubHub.

The mixed tandoori grill from Agra includes chicken, chicken tikka, lamb tikka and sheek kabob for $16.95. A very generous portion that was easily enough for 2 or even three people. The flavors were good and the tandoori chicken was tender, albeit a bit dry.

The dal turka for $11.50 was delightful, redolent of the aromas and flavors which evoke an exotic destination half a world away from L.A. The order came with rice but I ordered garlic naan for $3.50 that was still warm and fragrant when it arrived.

 

Mayura is on Jonathan Gold’s list of favorite places, so it’s got quite a following after receiving the beloved Los Angeles writer’s blessing. The bright green chutney was a mix of mint, coriander, ginger and garlic that was a refreshing accompaniment to both the mixed tandoori grill for $16.95 and the vegetable samosas for $3.95.

I ordered a side of raita for $2.50 of onions, cucumbers and carrots in yogurt, just as as insurance in case any of the other condiments were too spicy (they weren’t).

The dal masala for $10.95 came with basmati rice and was delicious on the garlic naan for $2.95 as a savory spread.

The mixed tandoor grill consisted of tandoor chicken with bone in, boneless tikka, and lamb kabobs over a bed of sliced raw onions. Everything was moist, flavorful, and enough to easily feed two or three!

I only reheated HALF of the order for dinner for two and we could barely finish our food! That is the vegetable samosa in the upper left corner fo the picture (mostly potato), which was in and of itself enough to be a small meal for a light appetite!

I am so very happy to have found two places that serve very good Indian food, but that both DELIVER so that I don’t have to fight late afternoon traffic in Los Angeles to eat well!

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My friend Robin has periodic cravings for Indian food and doesn’t have an eating partner who enjoys dining on this exotic cuisine, so I joined her at Taj Palace. It’s fun to go eat with a regular patron because the owners and servers greet new guests as extended family.

Since Robin knew the menu so well,she suggested that we started with vegetable samosas, stuffed with spiced boiled peas and potatoes for $3.50. They were delightfully crisp on the outside and comfortingly tender and hearty on the inside.

For our entrees we chose the Dal, lentils cooked in garlic and spices for $7.95 (lower left) which became addictive; I kept using my garlic naan to soak up the dish and then refilling my plate.

The vegetable Korma, potatoes and vegetables cooked in a creamy curry sauce with cashews for $8.95 (lower right), was my least favorite of the dishes. It was too sweet for me and the main vegetable was the potato so it was more of a potato in curry sauce than a mixed vegetables dish.

The lamb curry for $9.95 (upper) was my favorite dish of the evening, with a spicy sauce (not overwhelmingly hot) that complimented the tender rich pieces of lamb perfectly. If I was to order only one dish here it would be this one.

We had the Garlic Naan $2.95 and it was as good as it looks. It has plenty of garlic taste and a very nice bite with a contrast of crisp bottom and soft upper.

This wonderful little dish was presented at the end of the meal and when Robin put some of the “confetti” in her mouth I was surprised that it was edible! It was licorice and absolutely delicious!

The service here was superb (and not just because I was with a regular, the other patrons also had smiles on their faces) and the value of what you get here is amazing, so this is a place that should be on your radar if you like Indian food, are on your way to LAX, or simply want to experience great service with good food.

Taj India Palace on Urbanspoon


I have driven past Bombay Cafe too many times to count. Although many people have told me how authentic the food is at this modest place, I never made a point to stop and try it myself until today. Part of my hesitation to having a meal here is that it is located on a very busy intersection and the interior seemed a bit stark. As it turned out both points were the only bad parts this restaurant because even with very uncomfortable chairs, paper place mats, and metal serving dishes, I would go back for the food.

Bombay Cafe offers street food from the Northern, Central, and Southern parts of India, so the menu has a bit of everything. They offer several lunch specials until 3pm which include vegetarian and meat dishes of varying degrees of spiciness.

I chose the Cauliflower Franki combination ($13), which is the Gobi-sabzi (cauliflower sauteed with green chiles, ginger, ground coriander, tumeric, and cumin), two chutneys, mixed with lime, cilantro, and onions wrapped in a home made egg washed “tortilla”. It was served with three pieces of the appetizer Sev Puri, which are small crackers topped with onions, potatoes, three chutneys, and crisp chickpea flour noodles (in the picture they look like rice). Sides included house made pickled cauliflower, a tomato, cucumber and onion salad, and nice raita (yogurt sauce with onions).

Every item on my plate made my taste buds dance with joy. The cauliflower in the Gobi-sabzi had a complex subtle heat that paired beautifully with the cool raita. The tomato, cucumber and onion salad had a nice vinegary pungency that was just strong enough to make it highlight the richer flavors on the plate. The outstanding Sev Puri was so simply addictive, I was tempted to order some to take home. The service is friendly, warm, and efficient with nice touches like a lime slice in the glasses of table water.

If this is Indian street food, maybe we can get them to join the food truck craze and literally take their food to the streets of Los Angeles.

Bombay Cafe on Urbanspoon

I’m back in Los Angeles, and for my first meal out, a friend and I went to Surya on Third Street. Surya was recommended by Chantal as her favorite Indian restaurant in Los Angeles, so since she had such great restaurant suggestions in Miami, I had to try her L.A. spot.

I ordered the tandoori prawn dinner ($24) pictured above, which came on a bed of raw onions, alongside dal, spicy chick peas, rice and warm nan. Everything was spicy but not overwhelming, and freshly prepared. The only fault I found was the shrimp were not warm by the time the plate reached the table.


Timing delivery of dishes is a crucial key to a good kitchen staff, and I think my friend’s order of chicken tikka masala ($18), cooked in a mild fenugreek tomato sauce took longer to cook than my dish, so the kitchen had trouble coordinating the delivery of both our dishes to our table at the same time without one suffering from a temperature fluctuation.

The dinner portions were ample to feed a very hungry person, and although we were both full halfway through our meals, we kept eating a just one more bite until we had finished everything, even sopping up every drop of the delicious fenugreek sauce with the nan. We had no room for dessert, so that will have to be left for a future trip.

Overall the food was well executed, the service was attentive (especially since there was only one server on a busy night handling about 10 tables), and the decor was as warm and exotic as the food.

Surya is a nice neighborhood find, even when it was found on a trip to Miami!

I’m back in Los Angeles, and for my first meal out, a friend and I went to Surya on Third Street. Surya was recommended by Chantal as her favorite Indian restaurant in Los Angeles, so since she had such great restaurant suggestions in Miami, I had to try her L.A. spot.

I ordered the tandoori prawn dinner ($24) pictured above, which came on a bed of raw onions, alongside dal, spicy chick peas, rice and warm nan. Everything was spicy but not overwhelming, and freshly prepared. The only fault I found was the shrimp were not warm by the time the plate reached the table.


Timing delivery of dishes is a crucial key to a good kitchen staff, and I think my friend’s order of chicken tikka masala ($18), cooked in a mild fenugreek tomato sauce took longer to cook than my dish, so the kitchen had trouble coordinating the delivery of both our dishes to our table at the same time without one suffering from a temperature fluctuation.

The dinner portions were ample to feed a very hungry person, and although we were both full halfway through our meals, we kept eating a just one more bite until we had finished everything, even sopping up every drop of the delicious fenugreek sauce with the nan. We had no room for dessert, so that will have to be left for a future trip.

Overall the food was well executed, the service was attentive (especially since there was only one server on a busy night handling about 10 tables), and the decor was as warm and exotic as the food.

Surya is a nice neighborhood find, even when it was found on a trip to Miami!

I’m back in Los Angeles, and for my first meal out, a friend and I went to Surya on Third Street. Surya was recommended by Chantal as her favorite Indian restaurant in Los Angeles, so since she had such great restaurant suggestions in Miami, I had to try her L.A. spot.

I ordered the tandoori prawn dinner ($24) pictured above, which came on a bed of raw onions, alongside dal, spicy chick peas, rice and warm nan. Everything was spicy but not overwhelming, and freshly prepared. The only fault I found was the shrimp were not warm by the time the plate reached the table.


Timing delivery of dishes is a crucial key to a good kitchen staff, and I think my friend’s order of chicken tikka masala ($18), cooked in a mild fenugreek tomato sauce took longer to cook than my dish, so the kitchen had trouble coordinating the delivery of both our dishes to our table at the same time without one suffering from a temperature fluctuation.

The dinner portions were ample to feed a very hungry person, and although we were both full halfway through our meals, we kept eating a just one more bite until we had finished everything, even sopping up every drop of the delicious fenugreek sauce with the nan. We had no room for dessert, so that will have to be left for a future trip.

Overall the food was well executed, the service was attentive (especially since there was only one server on a busy night handling about 10 tables), and the decor was as warm and exotic as the food.

Surya is a nice neighborhood find, even when it was found on a trip to Miami!

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