If you think of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, images of swanky dining rooms, which require reservations months in advance, come to mind. One of the last places you’d expect to make the list is located in a drab strip mall at the corner of Overland and Venice. Welcome to Mayura, an Indian restaurant which has made L.A. Times and Pulitzer-prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold’s Gold List of the Top 101 restaurants in L.A. for the past 5 years.
There is nothing pretentious about this family-run restaurant specializing in Kerala (South Indian) dishes. Their menu is quite extensive, so if you have problems making decisions, an easy way to try Mayura is with their lunch buffet. Lunch buffets seem to be standard at Indian restaurants, but this one has some dishes that are pretty unique.
There were three dishes that were non-vegetarian – the chicken curry, the tandoori chicken and fish curry. The rest were vegetarian, which made it quite vegetarian-friendly.
The tandoori chicken was pretty typical – the meat still moist. What was more unusual was the chicken curry, which came on the bone, instead of being boneless. The saag dish was much spicier than the saag I am accustomed to eating, and the vegetable curry was also different, with a coconut milk base.
Perhaps because Mayura specializes in South Indian food, there was fish curry, which I have never seen in any Indian buffet. Made with swai, the curry made my pesco-vegetarian husband very happy.
In addition to the standard naan, there were papadums, which I’m glad I didn’t discover earlier because I would have snacked on them the entire meal.
The most unusual item I saw were the appam – a gluten-free bread made of rice batter and coconut milk. By that point, I was too full to try one.
The service was quite friendly, with the waitstaff eager to assist you with any questions you may have about the food. The woman behind the front counter, dressed in a beautiful brightly colored sari, will even fuss over your children as if they were her own, making you feel like you’re part of the family.
If you order off the menu, the food is suppose to be even better than what you’ll find in the buffet. Still, the lunch buffet is a great way for beginners to take a crash course in Kerala food, dining at one of L.A.’s best restaurants for under $20 a person.
Location – 10406 Venice Blvd., Culver City 90232
Website – http://www.mayura-indian-restaurant.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes