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.
Born and raised in New Delhi, Chef Sabherwal has spent more than two decades perfecting the art of integrating centuries-old Mughlai cuisine into a modern culinary aesthetic. He's practiced his craft in kitchens all over the world, to the delight of many distinguished diners. With such an esteemed talent behind the tandoor, it's no surprise that his current professional home derives its name from the Hindi word for "chef." Past the giant bay windows waits a wonderland of Northern Indian delicacies, such as specialty chicken pakora deep-fried with chickpea dough, and Punjabi missi roti??a tangy, pancake-like dish served with onion chili salad.
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.
Inspired by the authentic home cooking of specially trained chefs in India, Mayura excites lethargic taste buds with traditional South Indian dishes cooked to satisfy vegetarians and carnivores alike in two separate kitchens. Delicate dosa, a crêpe made with rice and lentil, wraps itself around spinach, garlic, and potatoes in the spinach masala dosa ($6.95) and paginates itself with spiced potatoes in the paper masala dosa ($7.95). Spice seekers can ignite savory glands with the chicken tikka masala, a dish marinated in spices and roasted in a clay oven ($9.95), or the haleem—chunked, marinated meat cooked in curry sauce ($8.95). A selection of beer, wine, shakes, and lassi, a yogurt-based drink, complement Mayura's fiery cuisine and calm the contentious battle between liquid and solid foodstuffs.
Chef Bhupender Singh's menu features popular Indian dishes, which are all made fresh daily and incorporate a delicate balance of spices. A bevy of dishes, such as vegetarian and chicken curries, saag paneer, and chicken tikka masala, can rest their tastes atop a bowl-sized serving of basmati rice ($5.95). Or sidle up to two dishes served with basmati rice or a salad on a combo plate ($7.95). The tandori chicken platter features tender chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, then roasted in Saffron's tandor oven ($9.95), and hot samosas ($1.95) and plain or garlic naan ($0.95) play sidekick to the mealheroes. For cleansing spice-sodden palates, chai tea ($2.75) and fresh mango lassi ($2.95) can be swished around mouth chambers. Saffron also boasts a chutney bar full of homemade chutneys and hot chilies, allowing anyone to spicy up dishes or coat their arms in an ineffective sunblock.