Some Americans can be a little nervous about trying Indian food, feeling that it’s too exotic or different. Once they give it a shot, though, it’s more than likely going to become a new favorite, replacing the hallowed classics like pizza or burgers. The curries are so warming and comforting, and there are options for vegetarians, carnivores, and everything in between. If you’re looking for Indian restaurants Orange County, you’ve come to the right place, as we give you the shortlist of can’t-miss spots in the OC.
Rasoi Curry Point
If you go to El Camino Plaza in Tustin, you’ll find this tiny, casual hideaway, and the smell of curry wafting down the block will make it easy to pinpoint. You can get the food spiced to order, and there are many vegetarian and vegan options. The chicken 65 is the best appetizer, boneless pieces of chicken marinated with red chilies and yogurt and deep-fried, a South Indian specialty. For the main course, the traditional tandoori chicken might be a place to start for someone trying Indian cuisine for the first time, but if you’re a pro, the dal makhani, black lentils with spices and ghee is a must. Get it spicy and clear out your sinuses.
Masala Zone Fresh Indian Grill
On South Main Street in Orange is this neighborhood staple, which serves up your food quickly, especially during the lunch rush, as seating is limited. You’ll find biryanis, tikkas, and other favorites, the only downside being that the menu is not quite as expansive as some other Indian places around. They do the classics right, though. Start with the aloo tikki, mildly spiced mashed potatoes spiked with cheese, herbs, and spices. Move on to the chicken jalfrezi, boneless chunks of white meat poultry delicately spiced and mingled with a medley of vegetables. Eat lunch, and then do some window shopping, as there are lots of specialty and boutique shops around.
In Tustin on Red Hill Avenue, we would be remiss if we didn’t give this place its due, as some call it the best Indian in the OC. The magisterial splendor of the massive dining room will make you think you’re about to meet one of the maharajas of old. The menu is enormous, and many come here just for the all-you-can-eat buffet, available seven days a week. If you’re ordering from the menu, try the goat pepper fry with black pepper and onions, or the fish vindaloo with potatoes and tomatoes served Goan style. If you dare to order it spicy your mouth will be properly scalded, but hey, it’s all part of the fun.
At any of these spots you’re guaranteed to start a lifelong love affair with Indian food. If you dream of vegetable samosas the night after trying it, you’ll know that they’ve successfully made you a convert. That’s a good thing. Our goal should always be to broaden our horizons.