L.A. TACO is about to embark on its biggest mission yet: to create a taco or food guide for every single neighborhood in Los Angeles! Along the way, we will also be releasing brief histories of each neighborhood to understand L.A. a little more and why each and every neighborhood that makes our fine city is unique in its own way. Check out five things you may not have known about Artesia's history published earlier this week.
For many, Artesia is synonymous with the “Little India” portion of Pioneer Avenue, where a wide spectrum of Southern Californians makes the drive to browse saris, Bollywood movies, jewelry, and sweets, interspersed with lunchtime dosas and thalis, one of many boons of the boom of immigration from the subcontinent that began in the early 1980s. While only about 10 percent of Artesia's 16,000+ population identifies as South Asian, it has become a destination for its extremely regional and diverse options for Indian food and family-owned Indian grocery stores. It can be overwhelming, so here is a guide to the eight best restaurants to get a sense of this southeast L.A. neighborhood. And yes, it is worth the drive.
Yantra is like the Republique of Little India but without the perpetual line and the commotion in the dining room. Originally opened by the Bhindi Jewelry family in 2020, the chic restaurant, not in a strip mall, retained its Europe-trained chef even though the management changed during the pandemic. Here, care is exhibited through a menu featuring the greatest hits from the entire Indian subcontinent. There is creamy Goan coconut lamb curry; there is a “king” papdi chaat; there is a brief section of Indo-Chinese food along with house-designed cocktails; there’s even a pani puri cart outside, as if to say Yantra is also for the streets. The future of Indian American cuisine seems to rest on the courage shown by Yantra’s cooking. 18511 Pioneer Blvd Artesia, CA 90701
Chennai Dosa Corner
If you love having an overwhelming variety of dosas to choose from, then Chennai Dosa Corner will be your favorite dosa shop on the strip. All of them are particularly delicious, respectively, but there are no translations so you’ll have to eat your way through them all to see which ones you love the most. We also love their shaheer paneer to round everything out.
18414 Pioneer Blvd.
On the Southern end of Little India, Jay Bharat has been the stalwart of Gujurati food for over three decades. Come for the popular Gujarati thali—a stainless steel large mixed plate of several vegetarian curries, soups, and desserts—but feel free to try extremely crispy Southern rava (semolina) dosa crepes that the family has somehow also mastered. They have have hard-to-find flatbreads made from millet that are a textural experience. The counter service is brisk and efficient, while the rear lot offers plentiful parking. 18701 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia
Ambala Sweets & Snacks
Ambala Sweets & Snacks may not be the king of everything—but they are open on Monday. If you don’t know, a majority of Indian restaurants and grocers in Artesia are shuttered on Mondays. But Ambala, with its wide menu of chaats and mithais, remains open to appease your weekend craving for mango lassi and jalebi. Here, it’s best to skip the more complex dosa and parathas; stay with the likes of sev puri aloo tiki chat. 18433 Pioneer Blvd Artesia
Rajdhani, most likely named after a historical vegetarian thali restaurant chain in India, serves world-famous AYCE Western Indian vegetarian (and vegan) dishes. After decades, it remains the only restaurant in Little India to feature roaming servers who dish ladle after ladle of daal directly onto your thali. Observant Jains flock from all over North America for the lacto-vegetarian cuisine that adheres to their strict dietary guidelines, which restricts root vegetables and alliums. Rajdhani was also a Jonathan Gold favorite in Little India. 18525 Pioneer Blvd 2nd floor, Artesia
Wok N Tandoor
Chinese cuisine has had a huge influence in India since Chinese immigrants settled in Calcutta around the 1700s. Wok n Tandoor, operated by Rasraj, a popular Little India restaurant, serves up a spicy “Chinese” hot and sour soup unlike any from an actual Chinese restaurant. Follow that first course with “Szechuwan” spicy paneer and Manchurian veggie balls for a complete vegetarian Indo-Chinese cuisine not found anywhere else in LA. Decoration bonus: the water is served from empty Johnnie bottles because there is a full bar in this semi-formal room. 11833 Artesia Blvd, Artesia
One of the most famous restaurants and take-aways in Artesia, Surati Farsan, serves more than the namesake of salty snacks from the city of Surat in the Gurajat state of India. The massive menu covers all sorts of chaats, but the most prominent feature is the bins and bins of sweet snacks within the glass case. With Bollywood hits blasting indoor and out, Surati Farsan has maintained its position as the hip captain of the neighborhood. Expert tip: try the eight to ten rotating Gujurati shaak (curries) accompanied by paratha or bhatura after you’re tired of the classic street snacks. 11814 186th St, Artesia
London’s Pub is the only British-Indian sports bar in all of Los Angeles. Locals come for populist dishes such as fish and chips and bangers and mash, but Indian patrons also come for excellent chicken tikka masala, lamb samosas, and spicy Indian chicken lollipops. Staying true to the British theme, both Boddingtons, Harp, and black and whites are available from the taps. And yes, there is football (soccer) matches on the telly. 11651 Artesia Blvd Artesia
Anjappar Chettinad Restaurant
There are several Anjappar restaurants in California, and they’re all known for famous Chettinadu cuisine from the Tamil Nadu state of India. Though Chettiars have historically been majority vegetarian, the focus here seems to be mutton as well as coastal ingredients of fish and prawns, cooked with Chettanadu masala that features black stone flower and dried flower pods. The meaty mutton biriyani, Chettanadu mutton masala and mutton sukka varuval form a very distinct perspective on Southern Indian food that is not found in the vicinity. 18128 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia
To open a non-Indian restaurant in Artesia makes you immediately stand out, especially if you are the first caldo-centered restaurant that we've seen in Los Angeles. This six-month-old strip mall gem has albondigas, caldo de res, caldo de pollo, a birria made from beef and goat (mixed), and more. The family that owns it is from Uruapán, Michoacán, and the caldos are the most homestyle you can get served in a restaurant environment. If you need a
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