What a shame the county line lies where it does; the best Indian restaurants in SoCal lie just five minutes from Buena Park, La Palma and Cypress, yet they're in Artesia, squarely in Squid Ink territory. Damn. Still, we have some good contenders, from Afghan to Southern Indian; it's just a tragedy that OC's Sri Lankan restaurant is no longer open to cap the list.
As always, if you don't like the contents or order of the list, let us have it in the comments!
10. Clay Oven Cuisine of India
15435 Jeffrey Rd. #116, Irvine; 949-552-2851; clayovenirvine.com.
9. Dosa Place
17245 17th St., Tustin; 714-505-7777; dosaplace.com.
8. Tamarind of London
7862 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach; 949-715-8338; tamarindoflondon.com.
7. Bismillah Halal Tandoor
Forker Niyaz Pirani, who's Pakistani, knows his people's food, and when he wants incendiary nihari, he heads here and scoops it up with the best naan in the county. Tip: the smart money calls the order in ahead; the dishes can take a while to cook.
8901 Knott Ave. #D, Buena Park; 714-827-7201; no website.
14550 Culver Dr., Irvine; 949-651-1144; miannapoorna.com.
13882 Newport Ave., Tustin; 714-669-1011; no website.
25262 Jeronimo Rd. #B, Lake Forest; 949-859-1778; chilichutney.com.
3. Punjabi Tandoor
327 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim; 714-635-3155; punjabitandoor.com.
14131 Red Hill Ave., Tustin; 714-508-5959; traditionsfood.com.
The best Indian restaurant in Orange County is barely a restaurant; it's a hot food bar in the back of an Indian grocery store on a high-speed stretch of Orangethorpe. Still, the food is absolutely top-notch and much more varied than the same-old-same-old chickpeas and spinach dishes. Your bread won't come at the same time as your meal, incidentally; they'll make it fresh to order for you.