The talented chefs at New Delhi Palace dish up an eclectic menu of authentic North Indian cuisine crafted with fresh, natural ingredients. Diners can prep globetrotting palates by diving face first into homemade paneer pakora ($6) or delving tiny shovels into a kachumber salad with a blend of onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes ($5). A crisp array of vegetarian dishes bedecks empty stomach space with decorative greenery ($10–$11), and curry connoisseurs can fix fangs into a savory chicken masala ($13)––the owner’s favorite dish and least favorite hat. Prepared in an authentic clay oven, New Delhi’s tasty tandoori dishes include a tikka kebab with boneless chicken cubes ($14) and an Australian charbroiled rack of lamb ($20).
Peacock Garden’s executive chef Gurpreet Singh—who carries a James Beard Foundation win under his belt—calls upon his culinary expertise to curate a menu of spice-laden sauces, colorful curries, and tender tandoori. Creamy kormas and masalas flecked with spices can all be accompanied by a variety of proteins, such as goat, lamb, seafood, and chicken. Vegetable dishes mingle cheeses and cream with bunches of cauliflower, slices of roasted eggplant, lentils, or beans. The richness found in Peacock’s dishes can also be found in its ambiance—gilded, velvety chairs, gold trim, and plush drapery let guests dine regally sans ill-fitting crown and surcoat.
Authentic Nepalese cuisine can be found at Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine, a cozy, hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Venice Boulevard in Palms. Tara’s stands out with its thatched “hut” roof over its porch, and though the space inside can feel a bit cramped, the large outdoor patio is heated and comfortable. Tara uses fresh ingredients and light seasonings to create Indian-influenced dishes, mostly with a vegetarian lean. There’s the garlic tofu and vegetable momo, tiny steamed or pan-fried dumplings filled with mushrooms and served with a sweet tomato coulis known as achaar. Menu items are reasonably priced, especially at lunchtime, when you can order a thali, a combination plate with an entrée, mustard greens, basmati, daal, raita and naan. Other staples like chicken masala or vindaloo are found on the menu, along with more unusual items like the Sherpa Stew, vegetables simmered in a hearty broth with spices, and served with noodles.
Baba Ji, the proprietor of Silverlake Juice and Tea, explores a new frontier in fusion with the food at Cowboys and Turbans—the tantalizing blend of South Asian, American, and Mexican cuisine. The menu unites antipodal parts of the globe with hearty samosas wrapped in flour tortillas instead of samosa dough, tacos filled with tandoori meats and chutneys, and pizzas made with a chewy tandoori naan crust. Towering doors of wood and iron lined with intricately carved columns reveal an open-air patio, which surrounds visitors with flickering torchlight and a canopy of multicolored cloth. Statues of animals and deities ring the courtyard, patiently waiting to ask if diners are going to finish their masala burgers, tandoori cornish hens, and aromatic vegetarian and seafood curries.
Jaipur Cuisine of India shares more than its name with the bustling city of northern India: it celebrates the region’s culinary heritage. To create its menu of authentic tandoori treats and chicken, lamb, and vegetarian dishes, the owner dutifully shops for fresh ingredients and spices himself, choosing components that are free of artificial flavoring, colors, or bionic implants. What results is a smattering of curries, vindaloo, biryani, and house-made desserts that speak to both authentic Indian tastes and the Californian palate. The soft pinks and golds of Jaipur’s décor encourage relaxation as guests munch on piquant masalas, creamy paneer, and fresh bread from its toasty clay oven.
A favorite option for Westwood residents and L.A. Westsiders in general, India’s Oven has more than ten years of experience in serving up curries, masala and naan. Weekdays are the busiest in the room’s burnt sienna dining area, thanks to an all-you-can-eat buffet that lasts for three-and-a-half hours. The vegetarian entrées also set the restaurant apart, with at least seventeen different items listed for a la carte dining, while the Vegetarian Delight remains a favorite dinner combination. Diners can stop by the Oven’s Westwood Boulevard storefront for a night of vindaloo and masala, but for those not willing to search for street parking, neighborhood residents have also made the restaurant a go-to delivery option.