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.
Festooned in red and green and warmed by heat lamps, The Great Onion cultivates a festive atmosphere on its covered patio that is only elevated by the sizzling dishes served to smiling patrons anxious to dive into the fresh food. To customize their dining experience, patrons can build their own combo, which may include enchiladas, hard or soft tacos, or taquitos and is always served with rice, beans, and guacamole. The chefs specialize in seafood dishes and also whip up specialties such as steak fajitas or chicken molcajete and the aptly named Great Onion Delight burrito, stuffed with steak picado and chile rellenos and served wet with red or green salsa. And to keep the festive atmosphere going, The Great Onion offers a happy hour everyday and a lunch buffet that entices large groups to come in for a meal and stay for a group hug.
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.
Using only fat-free vegetable oil, seasonal vegetables, and fresh meats, the chefs of Nirvana Indian Cuisine whip up authentic Indian dishes in their sunny, open space. White table clothes set the stage for heaping plates of curries and naan, and lunchtime diners can sample bites of everything during the lunch buffet.
The decor of Habiba Abdi’s restaurant, Gendershe Cuisine, is not ostentatious—she tries to impress the four senses besides sight. The aroma of all-halal meats marinating in signature spices tints the air, heralding Somali entrees such as the hilib ari, a goat dish that OC Weekly deemed "gamy and glorious." Mango lassis cool the tongue with a mix of almond milk, fruit pulp, orange juice, and vanilla. Pieces of bur—somali fry bread baked onsite—engage the hands, encouraging patrons to soak up lingering sauces with their dough instead of a friend's shirtsleeve. All the while, guests absorb the sizzling sounds of salmon and tilapia being sautéed in the kitchen's special "mother sauce."
Named after the Somalian city where Abdi’s father grew up, Gendershe Cuisine is an outpost of a kind of cooking rarely found in the United States, much less Orange County. Even so, Somalia’s rich culinary tradition—influenced over the years by Italy, India, and surrounding East African cultures—means that many dishes may look familiar even to the uninitiated. Crispy, triangular sambusas are relatives to indian samosas, ethiopian injera pops up beneath stews of beef, chicken, goat, or fish, and spaghetti and lasagna lie under sauces subtly spiked with Somali herbs and spices.