At Tava Grill and Lounge, owner and chef Punita Patel infuses her seasonal menu with Indian flavors and fresh, local ingredients. The paneer fajita tacos, for instance, ooze authenticity along with housemade cilantro mint chutney that can double as smelling salts for a food-comatose date. The seafood biryani paella evokes both India and Spain with a blend of shrimp, mussels, squid, and crab in a creamy curry sauce.
A separate menu in the lounge marries the food of India and California, as the atmosphere fuses nightclub and fine-dining establishment. Beside a softly lit bar, benches and ottomans are scattered around low tables, which break up regular tables and booths without the staff having to dig trenches around each.
Chennai Tiffins' namesake city, Chennai, is nicknamed The Gateway to South India. And while Chennai Tiffins may be situated in Cerritos, it's a gateway to South India, too—at least in the culinary sense. The vegetarian eatery's team specializes in dosas, ultra-thin Southern Indian crepes made from fermented rice batter, then filled with spiced potatoes and other savory delicacies. Chutneys and sambar, a South Indian–style vegetable soup, round out the meals, and they're found at a self-serve bar, a convenience only surpassed by self-cooking naan.
Namastey India looks like a small grocery store from the outside, but once inside, you’ll catch a delightful whiff of the OC Weekly's Best Indian Restaurant. According to the Los Angeles Times, owner, chef, and New Delhi transplant Ashish Pal grinds his own spices and bakes every batch of bread to order because he "wanted to do it authentic, do it right, do it the way it should be." Pal churns out regional fare such as channa batura, a spicy chickpea dish, as well as Indian staples, including samosas as perfectly crispy golden as if they were dipped in Midas’s fryer.
In the kitchen of India House Restaurant, Chef Bassi prepares lamb biryani, chicken tikka masala, tandoori shrimp, and other Indian cuisine. Located in the heart of Buena Park, the eatery welcomes guests with lemon-yellow walls and crimson tablecloths.
Chef Rafi did not create Fresh Kabobs to get rich. He finds his reward in the opportunity to share authentic Indian dishes, such as tandoori chicken breast and grilled whole tilapia, with families in a casual, welcoming atmosphere. Inside his kitchen, chef Rafi draws from his pantry packed with USDA-choice Angus beef, fresh vegetables, and lamb imported from New Zealand to prepare each dish to order. Seated at dark-wood tables in the brightly lit dining area, patrons split spicy curry bowls brimming with basmati rice and sip mango lassis freshly blended with yogurt and spices. The dining area's high ceilings seem to extend to the stratosphere, past the red-tiled eaves and sky-blue murals dotted with fluffy white clouds shaped like cubes of paneer.
Mined from the foothills of the Himalayas, Himalayan salt differs from typical table salt in about 80 ways. It’s the only salt to posses more than 84 minerals, which has made the 100% unprocessed seasoning gain the attention of health enthusiasts worldwide. The cooks at The Kabob Curry already knew this, though. This Indo-Pakistani eatery refuses to use anything but the pink stuff for its flavorful meals, balancing the salty zest with staples found on every spice rack in the subcontinent, including ginger, roasted garlic, and cumin.
The menu features a range of dishes as vast as the Himalayas. For starters, naan rolls wrap kebabs inside homemade flatbread, pulled fresh from the clay oven. Vegetarian options include chana masala bathed in a creamy yellow curry, and chicken, beef, or shrimp comes cooked in a spicy vindaloo gravy or the house specialty, masala. For dessert, chefs recommend the mango ice cream. Served on a salt plate, the treat mixes sweet and salty like a Valentine’s Day card written by Sam Kinison.