Arth Bar & Kitchen tablescape
Photograph: Courtesy David TonelsonArth Bar & Kitchen

The best Indian and South Asian restaurants in Los Angeles

Craving samosas, chicken tikka masala or biryani? These excellent South Asian restaurants in L.A. have it covered.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Advertising

Eating Indian food sometimes feels like an exercise in Comfort Food 101. Pile up a plate with basmati rice, lamb vindaloo and a sizeable wedge of naan, and suddenly the plate is clean and you’re already making a second batch. Luckily for us, Los Angeles is rife with South Asian eateries serving excellent cuisine from across the subcontinent, with plenty of hidden gems scattered around the city.

When it comes to traditional Indian cuisine, the best of the best can be found in Artesia’s Little India as well as scattered on the outskirts of Culver City, though you can now find new-school takes on Indian cuisine at restaurants in Downtown and Silver Lake. From the valleys to the beaches, these Indian (plus Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan) restaurants are the city’s best.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Los Angeles

The best South Asian restaurants in L.A.

  • Indian
  • Southeast Cities
  • price 2 of 4

Elaborate platters of Gujarati cuisine are the reason why Rajdhani, of all the restaurants and sweet shops in Artesia’s Little India stretch, stands out from all the rest. Despite being situated by the sea, the western Indian state is known for its vegetarian—not seafood—dishes, and Rajdhani is no exception. Servers bring dishes tableside (there’s no buffet here), so you can get up close and personal with Rajdhani’s ever-changing thali—a selection of daal, chapati, okra stew and more, with vegan, gluten-free and Jain (allium-free) options abound. End the meal with the restaurant’s excellent desserts, like rose ice cream topped with basil seeds or sugary balls of gulab jamun.

  • South Asian
  • Hawthorne
  • price 2 of 4

Since 1998, this fully halal Pakistani restaurant down in Lawndale has offered the all-around best desi cuisine in the South Bay. Now-classic Indian and Pakistani dishes like chicken tikka masala, palak paneer and lamb korma are the move here, especially for weary travelers making the short 10 minute commute from LAX. Beyond takeout mainstays, spring for the harder-to-find Pakistani dishes like nihari—a spicy, indulgent braised beef stew peppered with ginger and jalapeño—and haleem, a hearty mash of chicken, wheat, barley, lentils, herbs and spices. Plus, Al-Noor’s garlic naan, which comes freshly baked and piping hot from the tandoor, serves as a welcome reminder of the humble flatbread’s highest potential.

Advertising
  • Indian
  • Culver City
  • price 2 of 4

Flavorful contemporary dishes make this newer restaurant in Culver stand out within L.A.’s South Asian dining scene, from chicken wings drenched in an Old Monk marinade (India’s iconic dark rum) to a lobster moilee, a rich coconut milk curry from the southern state of Kerala traditionally made with shrimp. Modestly priced classics like pav bhaji—vegetable curry sliders—and chicken tikka kebab come loaded with spices, and everything pairs well with Arth’s playful desi-inspired cocktails. We particularly enjoyed the jal-jeera mojito, which pairs the popular cumin-based north Indian drink with chili-infused white rum and a touch of peach liqueur. At the bar, a robust weekday happy hour (3–5pm) offers $7 well drinks and shaves $2 off cocktails and small plates like “sexier” curry fries and a crunchy, refreshing masala papad chaat.

  • Indian
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

Taking over from the Happy Foot/Sad Foot clinic, this Indian pizza parlor in Silver Lake is a razor-sharp distillation of everything great about dining in Los Angeles: fun, not too expensive and, best of all, gloriously unfussy. Though billed as a sports bar (you can’t miss the giant flatscreen TVs), Pijja Palace’s destination-worthy appeal lies in its playful, delicious menu of South Asian-inspired pizza, pasta, wings and cocktails. Rich in spice, though not necessarily spicy, each simple-but-complex dish tastes fresh and exciting, from the dosa onion rings dipped in mango chutney to vodka sauce-like malai rigatoni. Top the green chutney pijja (Hindi for “pizza”) with a shake of masala spice for extra kick, and don’t miss the cookies and cardamom soft serve.

Advertising
  • Indian
  • Culver City
  • price 2 of 4

Specializing in South Indian cuisine, with an eye to vegan and health-conscious options, this award-winning Culver City strip mall gem has stood the test of time. Dishes rich with cumin, coriander, turmeric pre-dominate, as well as creamy stews that sway more sour than sweet. On its massive menu spanning halal and vegetarian options you’ll also find excellent versions of regional specialties like uthappam—a pizza-like pancake that features various toppings cooked into fluffy dosa batter—and Kerala-style fish curry with pieces of bubbly, ultra-light appam. The giant, conical ghee roast dosa is also a must order for every table.

  • South Asian
  • Koreatown

This takeout eatery in Koreatown-adjacent Little Bangladesh (with a second location in Downtown L.A.) has little in the way of atmosphere, but the array of standout South Asian specialties, especially the sinus-clearing lamb biryani, are worth coming from out of the way for. Where other Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants might hold back on spices to appeal to a more general audience, Biryani Kabob House takes a no-holds-barred approach to adding coriander, cumin, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to all its dishes. The naan here is fluffy and warm, which makes for great dipping into stew-like dishes like nihari and chicken karahi. Even standard takeout dishes like saag paneer and chicken tikka masala get their due here and ensure you’ll remember that the surrounding area has more than just Korean food.

Advertising
  • South Asian
  • Hawthorne
  • price 1 of 4

For years, this family-run Pakistani eatery has cooked up delicious portions of halal food, including a standout Karachi-style chicken biryani and plenty of specials. Call ahead to find out what’s available that day, including a weekeed-only brunch plate with sweet, carrot-based halwa, chickpea-based curry and a deep-fried, handrolled puri.

  • Indian
  • South Park
  • price 3 of 4

With elegant Bollywood-inspired cocktails and an elevated approach to South Asian cooking, this New York City import is already upsetting L.A.’s Indian restaurant status quo. Led by international chef Sujan Sarkar, who’s also found success in Chicago, San Francisco and New Delhi, Baar Baar showcases a newer, more modern side of subcontinental cuisine in an airy Downtown dining room (previously occupied by Faith & Flower). Vibrant chaats—a family of savory, often crispy snacks—and fusion-style items like a duck birria taco deftly mix the familiar and novel for an upscale dining experience you won’t forget anytime soon. On our visit, we especially enjoyed the unusually nuanced butter chicken, made with red pepper and fenugreek.

Advertising
  • Indian
  • Southeast Cities
  • price 2 of 4

You’re spoiled for choice whenever you visit Artesia’s Little India, but we also love this full-service South Indian restaurant whenever we’re craving a huge, crispy dosa and chutneys that don’t skimp on spice. Open daily for lunch and dinner (plus breakfast on the weekends), the restaurant also executes the other half of its name equally well—you’ll find over a dozen different kinds of podis, a powdered condiment made of lentils, seeds and spices to accompany your dosas or idli (streamed rice cakes). Other dishes, like the chicken biryani and gobi manchurian (an Indo-Chinese cauliflower dish) are equally delicious, though first-timers should know that the wait for food here can be quite long. Also note that Podi Dosa becomes quite busy on the weekends, though you’ll likely have the place to yourself during weekday lunch.

  • Indian
  • Southeast Cities

Since 1988, Artesia’s Jay Bharat has specialized in a mix of high-quality Indian sweets and everyday vegetarian Gujarati cuisine. The always-busy Little India restaurant offers thali platters for dine-in, takeout and delivery, plus a diverse collection of sweets available for shipping nationwide. Order sticky swirls of jalebi, milky white squares of kaju katli and other hard-to-find sweets, or visit in person for an excellent selection of chaat—street food snacks that range from filled, deep-fried puris to khasta kachori, a type of crispy, flaky pastry stuffed with lentils and mung beans.

Advertising
  • Indian
  • Southeast Cities
  • price 2 of 4

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mrudula (@mudu_feed)

Specializing in Rajasthani cuisine, this newer addition to Little India has been making a splash with hard-to-find northwestern dishes like bajra ri roti (millet flatbread) and makki ri roti (corn flatbread) and a dizzying maharaja thali assortment made of dozens of components, including tiny balls known as bati meant for dunking into ghee or dal (lentil stew). The large menu might be borderline overwhelming, but it’s always fun to try at least one or two variations on chaat (crunchy street snacks) and puri (puffed wheat crackers, usually filled or topped with chutney, yogurt or spiced water). For a bite of comfort, order one of the kachoris—a crunchy, deep-fried pastry that can be filled with onions or lentils.

  • Indian
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4

A modern Indian restaurant marrying Toronto-style swagger and South Asian spice, Badmaash offers a delicious, carefully thought-out menu of Indian classics and more playful dishes, like a chicken tikka poutine and chili cheese naan. Run by the Mahendro brother-and-father trio, this isn’t your average Indian takeout-style fare. Take their double-fried chicken: Dusted with paprika masala, each piece is craggy, crunchy and out-of-this-world good when dipped into their side of serrano-cream sauce. No meal would be complete, however, without one of their poutines, which can be also topped with vegetarian-friendly channa masala. Time Out tip: Order the vegan-friendly oat milk chai, available by the bottle for takeout purchase as well.

Advertising
  • South Asian
  • Tarzana
  • price 1 of 4

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by LA Food Belly (@lafoodbelly)

Open mostly during daylight hours, Tarzana’s Apey Kade serves some of the most delicious Sri Lankan cuisine in Los Angeles. Run by husband-and-wife team Niza Hashim and Lalith Rodridgo, the no-frills strip mall joint offers a detailed bird’s eye view of the South Asian country’s staple dishes, from string hoppers (rice flour noodle discs) to lamprais (a portable banana leaf packet of rice, meat, sambal and curried vegetables). Most items let you choose your own protein, including an option for vegetarians, and there’s a hot case of various pastries if you’re interested in trying Sri Lankan-style patties.

  • Indian
  • Beverly Hills

With locations in Westlake Village, Woodland Hills, Encino, Beverly Hills, and Los Feliz, this mini-empire has offered delicious subcontinent-spanning Indian food for casual dine-in, takeout and delivery for close to three decades. A solid mix of North and South Indian dishes made with traditional clay oven cooking will sate your next takeout craving, from a spicy lamb vindaloo to sizzling platters of tandoori chicken.

Advertising
  • Indian
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Samosa House (@samosahouse)

What started as a large Indian market in Culver City has grown into a fantastic restaurant in Silver Lake, a cafeteria-style eatery serving incredible food. For vegetarians, it’s a safe haven to find meat-free dishes that don’t skimp on flavor. For non-vegetarians, well, it’s just as enticing. Samosas are large and fried to perfection, and you can get your money’s worth by opting for a combo platter: three sides with rice, bread and raita or soup. To wash it down, a mango lassi is your best bet (they even have a vegan version!).

  • Indian
  • Pasadena
  • price 1 of 4

In Pasadena, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks, this Indian grocery store and takeout joint is a locals’ one-stop shop for South Asian staple ingredients as well a rotating daily selection of affordable homestyle dishes that might include a Mysore masala dosa or bhalla papdi chaat—a crunchy afternoon snack that combines both sweet and tangy chutneys with papdi (fried crackers) and crushed peanuts. You can pick and choose to make up your own combination plate ($8–$11) or order à la carte, but don’t skip out on Namaste Spiceland’s dessert selection—the gulab jamun is especially enticing.

Advertising
  • South Asian
  • Northridge
  • price 1 of 4

Although Northridge’s Baja Subs and Deli might look like another strip mall deli and minimart in the Valley, owners Premil and Koshalie Jayasinghe have served a dual takeout menu of casual Mexican food and some of the best Sri Lankan cuisine in L.A. since 2016. On weekends, Baja Subs serves larger dishes, including a Sri Lankan-style biryani, which comes topped with caramelized onions, hard-boiled egg, cashews and pineapple chutney, and lamprais—a portable banana leaf packet of rice, meat, sambal and curried vegetables, though its exact components change on a weekly basis.

  • Indian
  • Pasadena area

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Carmen Yang (@craveitwcarmz)

Open since 2011, this San Gabriel grocery store and casual sit-down restaurant offers all the usual takeout favorites like chicken tikka masala, along with a few hidden gems from the family’s recipe archives. Try the chicken pakora—deep-fried fritters perfect as an appetizer—or Bhanu’s take on bhel puri, a sauced, herbaceous mix of vegetables and crispy pieces of popped rice.

Advertising
  • South Asian
  • Koreatown

Located not too far away from Koreatown’s Little Bangladesh, this cafeteria-style takeout eatery and market offers regional specialties like rohu fish curry and mughlai paratha, a stuffed flatbread and popular Bangladeshi street food. Other South Asian dishes with a Bengali twist like lamb biryani, vegetable pilau and chicken karahi are also available here, plus a small selection of sweets.

  • Indian
  • Culver City

This street level takeaway spot within Westfield Culver City first gained citywide recognition as a beloved gas station shop hawking frankies, a popular Mumbai street food known more commonly in L.A. as an Indian burrito. Now, the family-run Bombay Frankie Company runs an excellent fast-casual brick-and-mortar with housemade chutneys, locally sourced produce and freshly ground spices that elevate the flavor of every foil-wrapped North Indian treat. Available for both takeout (curbside pickup included) and delivery, the Bombay Frankie Company also offers plenty of gluten-free and vegan options, including a delicious aloo gobi (curried potato and cauliflower). 

Advertising
  • Indian
  • Culver City

Specializing in Burmese and Indian food, this halal takeout eatery and grocery store in Culver City offers a pleasing mix of everyday-priced Southeast and South Asian cuisine. Here, dishes like tea leaf salad and panthay khow suey (a Burmese version of Thai khao soi) complement more Indian-style dishes like flattened patties of shami kabab and goat biryani. Beloved by locals since its opening in 2008, the family-run spot also has an excellent bright pink falooda—an ultra-sweet rosewater drink perfect in the spring and summer.

  • Indian
  • West Third Street
  • price 2 of 4

Is there an Indian restaurant in L.A. more romantic than Electric Karma? Probably not. The Beverly Grove eatery serves Punjabi cuisine in a dreamy setting with flickering candles, tasseled garden umbrellas and lanterns that set the mood. At night, Bollywood films are projected above the main dining room as world music plays softly in the background. Start with a few appetizers that include traditional vegetarian samosas seasoned with tamarind and sweet tomato chutney, sambar soup and cheese naan with mango chutney, followed up by palak paneer with tofu, chicken frankies (a sort of tightly wrapped naan burrito) and masala dosa.

Advertising
  • Indian
  • East Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Tucked into a small East Hollywood strip mall, this beloved late night spot is framed by a string of lights that beckon diners into a red and gold banquet hall. Known best for their incredibly creamy, vibrant red chicken tikka masala, India’s Restaurant serves a bevy of solid standards—lamb samosas, a sweet vegetable curry, plenty of tandoori options—along with balti specialties that feature off-the-bone chicken, shrimp, fish and other protein options in hearty stews. Oh, and their garlic naan is perfect for some serious scooping action. You can also find the same cuisine at India’s Tandoori (Manhattan Beach, Hollywood and Brentwood) and Torrance’s Bombay Tandoori.

  • Indian
  • Torrance

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ramon Flores (@monflores11)

Found along a stretch of the breezy PCH, Bombay Tandoori & Banquet is a popular destination for South Bay locals—especially those in search of a solid lunch buffet for $13.95 (weekdays) and $15.95 (weekends). Fill your plate with basmati rice, lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka and shahi paneer, or order à la carte and tuck into creamy shrimp masala, gobi manchurian and goat biryani. Diners can order combos for dinner as well, like the Bombay Shakahari Bhojan, which includes naan, basmati rice, daal makhni, aloo gobi, and your choice of saag paneer or baingan bharta (roasted eggplant) and salad or raita (yogurt sauce).

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising