A Review of Vegetarian Indian Cuisine In LA

A Review of Vegetarian Indian Cuisine In LA

Okay, to be fair only one of this restaurant is in LA. The city of Angels is a huge city and the traffic is barbaric. VJ was so frustrated to drive around that he missed Kansas for a little while. Getting to LA was irritating too. I never knew traffic like this until I visited Los Angeles. But the city was HUGE! There were so many people, so many cars, so many people and JUST SO MANY CARS! We stayed at the hotel that was right beside the airport and every road in and out of the airport was blocked. When I mean blocked, I mean not one car moving for nearly thirty minutes. The view from our window into the road was simply amazing. Arlo just sat at the window staring out at all the cars and the flights taking off. He just loved all the cars in one place and fell asleep watching them.

Visiting LA wasn’t our priority but VJ made sure we visited Universal Studios. He took me to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, where at the Christmas Lights show I finally cried. It started out as the worst day in my life but continued to be so amazing. I even have the picture of drinking my first butterbeer, and let me tell you the whole deal about Butterbeer – IT IS AMAZING!!! It tastes DELICIOUS! It tastes like… I CANNOT EXPLAIN BECAUSE IT’S SO GOOOOOD! Now that I have gotten that off my chest, Los Angeles is amazing and I just don’t mean the city. Even at ten in the night it was bustling and rushing. The tourists didn’t seem to mind the cold and Hollywood Boulevard seem to be the only place in LA where they wanted to be. Everything was near yet so far. Santa Monica Pier was amazing! Watching the sun set made me contemplate on a lot of things that I seemed to forget now.

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier while my boys enjoyed the water


I don’t even know why I picked this place. It wasn’t in LA, and it wasn’t on our way, but I thought it would be amazing. It took us ten whole minutes to find this place and even when we were right in front of it we missed it. The location of the restaurant is a huge drawback, but people seemed to be coming in a lot. It was situated in the middle of a ‘downtown’ looking area. Technically this restaurant is almost an hour out of LA and with traffic it could be more. We had quite a heavy breakfast but by the time we reached there we were starving. They didn’t have a high chair or a child booster seat, which was a major inconvenience. Holding Pranay and eating was so uncomfortable that we gave up on eating half way. The restaurant manager/owner was clearly frustrated when I asked him questions. I couldn’t find the staff to help me find something to drink – even water.

What We Ordered: They only had buffet so we were forced to eat from there.

What We Expected: When I got there I was really excited but as soon as I entered I knew I made the wrong choice in picking the restaurant. VJ left the choice of choosing restaurants on me and as soon as I entered I could feel VJ’s disappointing gaze. VJ is not a picky eater and if he didn’t like it that means a lot. I expected a restaurant that I could sit with my family and have a complete meal. But there wasn’t even a place for my child to sit. Two appetizers, three main dishes and some rice and dessert was what I would have wanted to see.

The buffet plate with pulav, malai kofta, veg korma, masala dosa, pakora and two chutneys
Pulav with Raita, Paneer curry and Dal Makhani

What We Got: Nothing. Literally Nothing. They gave us a dosa on our plate and when I asked for one more for Arlo I was given dirty looks. I don’t think VJ got his dosa until I pointed it out to them. The food at the buffet table was minimum. It looked like they only catered to the needs of employees from the nearby offices and not to tourists or people with children. The food was just okay. The pakora was absolutely disgusting. It wasn’t cooked in the middle and I had to leave it. They had two chutneys for the masala dosa and the pakora. There was no spices, there was no salt in a few dishes but the only good food was the dosa. The pulav was good which wasn’t spicy and Arlo enjoyed it too, but it was just too bland. The malai kofta was a little better than the pulav. The veg korma was good but didn’t go well with the pulav at all. The dal makhani was just a gooey mess. Even Arlo didn’t want to eat it and VJ just left it alone. There was a paneer dish, that tasted a little sweet but was just mediocre. They had desserts but after the upsetting appetizers and main course, we skipped it. If you are starving for Indian food and there is nowhere else to go then Vishnu Catering is the right place to be.

Rating: 2/5


Did I mention the super fun part of being in Los Angeles? It’s the Butterbeer at Universal Studios. That’s the best part. December 27th of 2018 is the best day of my life – apart from Arlo being born and then I guess my wedding. After spending a whole day at Universal Studios, the bitter cold kept getting bitter, the wind was hitting us in the face. So we decided to call it a day and head out for dinner. We waited until the lights show at the Hogwarts Castle, where I shed a few tears and then we started driving out. It was beautiful. The lights not just on the castle but in the city. I just wanted to keep staring at everything outside. As VJ drove into and outside the city, the busy city kept on getting busier.

My cousin H who is living in LA for a short time suggested me a few restaurants and we decided to hit Mayura restaurant. The outside was absolutely scary and no places to park. As soon as we entered I was blown away. The restaurant was beautiful. There were pictures everywhere and I saw that the pictures were of the owners and famous people like Dr. Kalam, Mindy Kaling, Frieda Pinto, and even A.R.Rahman. The owners were right there asking how everyone was doing and even taking up the orders. It was a warm, cozy place that really felt like home. The menu was extensive. There was so much to choose from and so little time and such tiny tummies. I wished my tummy was bigger to taste more, or I was for a longer time in LA just to taste all that delicious food at Padmini Aunty’s Restaurant – Mayura.

What We Ordered: Fresh Lime Soda, Onion Chilli Dosa, Idli, Bhel Puri, and Onion Uttapam.

What We Expected: Soft Idlis, with at least one chutney and some piping hot sambar with Idli’s being hot too. Arlo loves Idli’s so we ordered first for him, as it was getting a little late. I was just expecting some sweet lime soda since I haven’t had any good lime soda like the taste in India for years in the US. Bhel Puri, I expected to be a little spicy, yet sweet with a lot of crunchy stuff. Onion chili dosa emphasis on the onion that is cooked soft yet crisp on the outside. I ordered the Onion Uttapam to go on a whim since I hadn’t ordered anything from the main course but didn’t want to eat there. We just expected some good South Indian food that I have been in search of for the past few years in the United States of America.

Idli with Sambar and Chutney (one was being devoured by Arlo)
Fresh Lime Soda
Bhel Puri
Onion Chili Dosa
The Chutney and Sambar
All the famous people at the restaurant
Mindy Kaling was here… Twice.
Arlo, Padmini Aunty and me.

What We Got: Exactly what we ordered. Exactly how I expected it. Exactly how we thought it would taste. The idli was incredibly soft, and were as if I made them at home. They aren’t the traditional idli rava idli’s but are the idli’s that you typically find in the little Bhavan’s in Chennai. They were absolutely perfect. Oh and that fresh lime soda was actually a Fresh Lime Soda. I can taste the freshly squeezed lime and the bubbles from the soda. Next came the Bhel Puri which was surprisingly spicy. Arlo had a few bites and didn’t want any more as he found it a little spicy. VJ and I thoroughly enjoyed the bhel puri. I wish it had a little more tamarind sauce to make it a little tangy, but it was well balanced and tasty. The Onion Chili Dosa was amazing. The chilies were actually the Indian chilies and not jalapenos that are usually used. It was spicy, crispy and tasty and delicious! The onion uttapam (that I did not take a picture) was tasty. The chutney and sambar were amazing. Though they were the same for the idli, dosa and uttapam they still tasted different with each of the items. All the servings sizes were quite a decent size. I would definitely say that Mayura is where you recieve what you pay for.

Rating: 4.5/5


So, technically this restaurant isn’t in LA. It is a little outside of Los Angeles in Tustin which is approximately an hour away. Even though we hit some traffic we made it in an hour. Again this restaurant was recommended by my cousin H. Though we wanted to eat at one of the many amazing restaurants in LA, we had to get to our Whale Watching Tour, which seemed like just twenty minutes away from the restaurant H suggested. Another reason for choosing a restaurant so far from LA was because we couldn’t have lunch at 10.30 AM and the drive would give us enough time to get hungry for lunch.

I don’t know how H knows about all the best restaurants, but she does and it helped us a lot. Dosa Place was easy to find, and quite a decent place. The place inside wasn’t very big. It was cozy. When we went in for lunch they were serving just the buffet, but weren’t offering anything from the menu (not that we asked anyway). The buffet looked promising and ravishing. We waited for a while before diving in as we were waiting for H to join us. She was very kind in meeting us in a location so far from her place, but since it was her suggestion I’m sure she didn’t mind. The service was quite okay and most of the staff was quite attentive. The restaurant was clean and the staff was cleaning up fast too. The buffet tables were quite clean and the food that were dropped was picked up.

What We Ordered: We ate off the buffet.

What We Expected: At least two appetizers, preferably South Indian (as we were at a South Indian restaurant) that were different from other restaurants’ buffet. At least two entrees that are at least a little spicy. After Mayura I wanted something that was on par with the taste there. I wanted to see some rice item, VJ wanted to see Biriyani and Arlo wanted sauce (he means ketchup). I also wanted to see some desserts. VJ wanted some chai to go with the buffet which he really loves to wash down after the heavy buffet food. I wanted to have some mango lassi that I forgot to order so we took it to-go.

Idli, Pakora’s, chutneys and sambar with a side of dosa brought to your table
Sambar, coconut chutney, ginger chutney, peanut chutney and curry leaves powder with idli
Fresh Dosa with Masala on the side, a side of Hot Pongal and Podi with ghee!
Biriyani with a side of Gutti Vankaya (Stuffed Brinjal), Matar Curry (Peas Curry) and Onion and Lime
Biriyani (AGAIN!) with a side of Gutti Vankaya and Raita
Curd Rice (Yogurt Rice) with the Desserts – Payasam and Mysore Pak
Mango Lassi

What We Got: Exactly as it looks. It was absolutely lip smacking. I wish there was more time of us to spend at the restaurant so that we could take a few breaks and eat more. The dosa’s were very crisp and piping hot that even Arlo loved them. The idli’s were soft and resembled the one’s mom usually makes at home with Idli Rava. The chutney’s need a special mention along with the podi’s. They were absolutely gratifying and a treat to my mouth with the idli’s and the dosas. I was not expecting pongal to be so yummy, but it tasted really good, especially with a spoon of ghee all over it.. The appetizers would have been enough to fill our tummies, but the biriyani and the stuffed eggplant looked so inviting. So I loaded my plate with some biriyani – which was amazingly spicy. The biriyani paired excellently with the gutti vankaya. I don’t usually load up my plate with biriyani, because it’s not my favorite, but at Dosa Place the biriyani was just amazing and perfect which made me load up my plate twice. The mysore pak was a little hard but melted right away in my mouth. Everything was perfect and amazing. Despite the buffet being a little on the expensive side, we felt it was okay since it was our first time. There were quite a number of items in the buffet which made it worth our while and our buck.

Rating: 4/5

Wow! What a trip it was! I am absolutely delighted and wonderfully rested, even though I’m exhausted. This was a much needed break that I needed from the kitchen. Though I love cooking I just needed to get a break from the cleaning and cleaning. Though VJ does give me break almost every week, by taking me out or by making a surprise breakfast, I still feel so tired from all the chores. The sunsets, the beautiful beaches, the butterbeer and the food sent me down a road that I will never forget. Please do not forget to leave your comments on the restaurants that I could try in LA the next time. I plan to come back there soon, maybe not that soon – but soon.


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