The Best Indian Restaurants in Southern California

Southern California is home to some of the best Indian restaurants in the United States. From traditional South Indian dishes to modern takes on classic Indian cuisine, there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a romantic evening out, these are the most highly rated Indian restaurants in Southern California. Namaste Spiceland is a one-stop grocery and restaurant store located in Pasadena, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks. It's a great place to stock up on rice, lentils, and frozen staples, and stay for dinner.

Public favorites include their South Indian dishes, especially the Dosas, or the street food of Bombay. The trick is to first order the chaat, who pursed his mouth, so as not to go shopping on an empty stomach. Specializing in South Indian cuisine and featuring vegan and healthy options, this award-winning gem from the Culver City mall has stood the test of time. Dishes rich in cumin, coriander and turmeric predominate, as well as creamy stews that balance more sour than sweet. In its huge menu, which includes halal and vegetarian options, you'll also find excellent versions of regional specialties, such as uthappam, a pizza-like pancake that includes several ingredients cooked in a spongy dosa dough, and Kerala-style fish curry with pieces of bubbly and ultra-light appam. For years, this family-run Pakistani restaurant has been preparing delicious portions of halal food, including an outstanding Karachi-style chicken biryani and tons of specialties.

Call ahead to find out what's available that day, which includes a brunch plate only on weekends with sweet carrot-based halwa, chickpea-based curry and a hand-rolled and fried puri. The elaborate dishes of Gujarati cuisine are the reason why Rajdhani stands out from the rest in Artesia's Little India area. Despite being located by the sea, the western Indian state is known for its vegetarian dishes, not seafood, and Rajdhani is no exception. The waiters bring the dishes to the table (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 plenty of vegan, gluten-free and Jain options (without alium). End your meal with the restaurant's excellent desserts, such as rose ice cream topped with basil seeds or sugary gulab jamun balls. Jay Bharat has specialized in a mix of high-quality Indian sweets and vegetarian Gujarati cuisine since 1988. The always-busy Little India restaurant offers thali dishes to eat at home or take away as well as a varied collection of sweets available for shipment across the country.

Order sticky jalebi spirals, milky white squares of kaju katli and other hard-to-find candies. This street food takeaway inside Westfield Culver City first gained recognition throughout the city as a beloved gas station that sold franchises. Now, the family-owned Bombay Frankie Company offers an excellent fast-casual restaurant with homemade hot sauces, locally sourced products and freshly ground spices that enhance the flavor of every North Indian treat wrapped in aluminum foil. Available both for takeout (curbside pickup included) and for home delivery. More romantic than Electric Karma? Probably not. The Beverly Grove restaurant serves Punjabi cuisine in a dreamy setting with flickering candles, garden umbrellas with tassels and lanterns that create the ideal atmosphere.

At night, Bollywood movies are screened above the main dining room while world music plays softly in the background. Start with some appetizers that include traditional vegetarian samosas seasoned with hot tamarind sauce and sweet tomato sambar soup. Located in a small shopping center in East Hollywood is India's Restaurant. Best known for its incredibly creamy and vibrant red chicken tikka masala, it serves a variety of solid quality lamb samosas, a sweet vegetable curry, plenty of tandoori options, and Balti specialties including boneless chicken, shrimp, fish and other protein options in hearty stews. Badmaash is the second outpost of this hipster Indian-style hangout (the first is on 2nd Street in DTLA) located in Fairfax. Created by chef Pawan Mahendro and his two sons Nakul and Arjun its menu combines traditional Indian dishes (think chicken tikka tandoori saag paneer and buttered chicken) with completely new versions of Indian cuisine.

Cassie Vandivort
Cassie Vandivort

Typical music practitioner. Unapologetic web junkie. Amateur music maven. Bacon maven. Total tv fanatic.