2104 Main St, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040534.006156 -118.488100
Neighborhoods: West LA, Ocean Park
Cold food, hot patrons – My friend and I dined at Dhaba on a Saturday evening. The restaurant was only about 75% full, but we were stuck right by the kitchen. Every time the front door opened I got a blast of cold air.
The decor was pleasant and the other patrons were exceedingly attractive (it's a place where pretty people eat).
The service and food, however, were beyond disappointing. Our sever took about 8-10 minutes to come around, even though we were clearly ready to order. It then took another 10-15 minutes for our food to come.
The chapatis were definitely store-bought wheat tortillas, and everything on the plate was tepid. My lamb lacked flavor and all the sides needed salt.
I usually give bad restaurants a second chance, but this experience was so disappointing that I won't be.
At Least It Stayed Down – I feel I know good Indian food. I've been to an Indian wedding and have eaten at many restaurants. I can sum up the whole meal by calling it mediocre. I was very hungry when we got there, and I wasn't hungry at the end--this is the sole benefit that I got out of eating there. The food was lacking in flavor--very bland. I noticed there was no salt on the table, and usually this is not something I go looking for. Their naan was thick and chewy--which I found strange, since it seemed partially uncooked to me.. Their chapati bread (as someone else mentioned) was really just a couple of whole wheat tortillas fresh from the grocery store. My yam and eggplant side was cold. The portions were strangely quite small, also. My lamb korma was such a small portion (only about half a cup of meat). It was not bad, but there was hardly enough to share with my girlfriend. At the end, the waiter asked, "How was it?" Though I'd told my girlfriend that it was Bland City, I told him, "It was okay." He looked at me like something was wrong with me. "Just okay?" he asked. I told him that it was just okay--not really that good. He appeared insulted and skulked away. The whole meal was $40--way too much for this quality of food. It tasted like something out of the frozen food section of Whole Foods; I believe you can get some tastier prepared Indian foods at Trader Joe's for a fraction of the cost. But as I said, it was all below average, but not horrendously terrible. I definitely don't recommend it; go to Indian Oven on Wishire before you waste any time here.
great indian – I was with a wanna be indian foodie... She LOVED this place. I have never been crazy about indian food- and I loved it. I have been back several times and always have the best service. It is cozy and warm- looks like a little house. There is a reasom this place has been around since the 70's!! Try it. :)
Poor delivery, cold food – I ordered from Dhaba for the first time, for delivery, and I am very disapointed. The food quality was OK, but it took twice as long to get my food because "the delivery guy got lost." I won't be ordering again from Dhaba.
Fake Low-Quality Indian Food – If you are looking for a truly undistinguished and mediocre Indian dining experience head on down. Most Indian restaurants at least get the bread right -- these guys will serve you 15 cent packaged grocery store tortillas and try to pass them off as "chapatis" -- SHAME ON YOU Mr. Dhaba!!!! To add insult to injury, the bread was served stone cold!!! I heard a woman from London at another table, telling the waiter "I know Indian food and this IS NOT GOOD."
This is really bad Indian food, and I suggest you avoid. It is amazing that they have been in business for decades, as they claim. As an Indian, I am deeply disheartened that Americans will mistake this for actual Indian food.
Still charming – After reading some of the other reviews I wasn't sure what to expect, but overall I was pleasantly surprised. I had been to Dhaba many years ago and the first thing I noticed is that they must have spruced up the place. It still has its old charm and relaxing ambience, but it seems much nicer than I remember. The food was great: generally light and tasty compared to other Indian places that can leave me feeling heavy. I tried their Idli Sambhar which was a special, and I enjoyed its delicate flavor. I also had the Saag Lamb and I thought that the preparation and quality of ingredients were excellent. Also, I feel obligated to mention that their naan was fine, not nearly as bad as the other reviews had mentioned. Perhaps they changed something recently...
Unusual in a good way – This is one of my childrens favorite restaurants and they often ask to be taken here. I live in Hollywood and it's a bit out of the way but when spending the day at the Santa Monica Beach or at the pier, it's a great way to end the day.
Horrible Indian Food – This is the worst Indian food I have ever eaten. The naan did not taste fresh. I agree with the previous reviewer about the Saag Paneer. I could not believe the bright green color and upon eating, it was tasteless. On top of all of this, it was the most expensive Indian food I have eaten. Why pay so much for tasteless food? This restaurant was a huge dissapointment.
Horrible with a Capital H! – I would consider myself a good critic of Indian food. Having grown up in India I have eaten the best Indian food and the worst. This food was the worst. The Nahns were not made fresh, in house. The Saag Paneer was made with Mint and what looked like canned radioactive spinach. The Dahl was so watery that I think we counted a total of Ten Beans in it. And it all tasted only of salt. The meal included, Two Plain Nahn, One Saag Paneer, One Dahl, Two Yogurts, and a rice cost me $40! When we called back to complain, the woman was extremely rude. We asked if we could return it as we were unhappy with it and her answer was "NO!" So let me give you a word of advice: If you are in the area and looking for some Indian Do not bother going to Dhaba.
We were very pleased! – Something about the food at Dhaba seemed different from other Indian restaurants. For example, Dhaba's saag was very green and tasted like fresh spinach. The Tofu Mattar was a nice surprise as well, with large cubes of tofu, plenty of peas, and a tasty sauce. We also enjoyed Tandoori Salmon ... fresh and perfectly cooked. We don't know how authentic this is as Indian food, but no-matter - we really liked it.
The service at Dhaba was friendly in an authentic-friendly sort of way (not the obsequious-friendly sort of way that an old neighbor of ours, who usually ignored us around town, used while greeting us at his restaurant)
The amount of food that we received there was generous - we were quite full and very pleased when we left.
The only negative to the food was some of the dishes could have come warmer from the kitchen.
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