I don't know if they were having an off day when I went, but these positive reviews don't ring true to me. The buffet had only three options, and all were tepid and incredibly bland for Indian food. My wife ordered her favorite Indian dish, chana masala, and was charged extra for a small serving of steamed white rice.
I loved the food, and the buffet is so cheap! Only around 8 dollars. I would eat here all the time if i lived in LA, not only for the great food but also because of the wonderful staff! Our waiter was just so nice and helpful!! He told us that the buffet was gonna be free the next day because it was an indian holiday, unfortunately we were leaving LA and couldn't come back. But I mean, what restaurant offers free buffets? It's amazing! And if you go here you MUST MUST MUST try the mango lassi. It's really the best one I've ever had.Pros: Mango lassi, Friendly staff, Great food
I had first read about this place on happycow, and here's Chandni my review.
My family, friends, and I have eaten at Chandni's many times over the years. It's been in business for a long time, and it continues to be one of the only few pure vegetarian restaurants around here (the only one in Santa Monica). Coming here and seeing familiar faces is nice.
The dining space is causal with booth as well as table seating. The decor is a bit old-fashioned. There is free parking in the back.
The owners are Indian men who also run the kitchen and dining room. The food seems to be a bit mild or toned-down to suit American taste buds. Whenever I come here, I only see Caucasians and non-Indians.
Everyday there is a lunch buffet that's all-you-can-eat. The selection is small, but the price is super cheap. On the weekends, they add fried fritters to the buffet, which is a treat. Usually 3 to 4 hot dishes in addition to a white basmati rice, freshly baked naan, salad greens, and yogurt.
A la carte menu available all the time. Your server will tell you which dishes are vegan-suitable. For me the food here is a bit too mild, not very exotic or spicy. But I do like supporting this business, and the guys are very courteous and gentle.Pros: inexpensive, friendly & relaxed, vegan upon request
Cons: flavors too mild for me
We took our lunch here on Monday March 22, 2011. We arrived at 11:40, pulled into the alley that runs parallel to Wilshire to access the restaurant's parking spaces, and headed in through the back for a wonderful lunch. Their buffet consists of a 4-dish menu that rotates daily along with white basmati, salad, raita, rice pudding, and naan. Call ahead if you want to know which day they offer a particular dish. On Mondays they offer Chana Masala, Saag Paneer, a Pakora dish, and "Aloo Bell Pepper". Overall, the approach in the Chandni kitchen appears to involve using slightly less spicing than usual (although there was some heat in the chana) so as to let the ingredients speak for themselves, so if you want really spicy pakora or really salty salt lassis then look elsewhere. We liked the Chana Masala the best as their version brought out the chana flavor more deliberately than usual, without adding a lot of bells and whistles. The raita and rice pudding were great too. We strongly recommend arriving slightly before noon partly so that you can get parking, and partly so that you get their tasty naan straight from the oven--yumm!
The quiet and thoughtful ambiance matches well with the reserved approach to spicing, and the mellifluous chants that they played in the background were great for calming us down.
The price for two buffets and two lassis was $22.81 without the tip. We would return regularly if we didn't live outside the LA area.Pros: super-friendly staff, excellent plain naan, calm ambiance
Cons: small parking area
This place is one of the better indian joints I've been to lately. Prices are super reasonable. The garlic naan was great. The waiter was also super great at directing us to which dishes were vegan and even had the cook modify a dish to make it vegan for us. the whole experience was really nice.
The only hard part was finding it. Google gave us the right address but plotted the location about 3 blocks west of where it actually is. It is on the block between 19th and 20th if anyone else has this problemPros: tasty, friendly staff
Chandni has been one of my favorite restaurants for many years. The food is extremely flavorful, the service is If I could, I would eat here all the time!Pros: GREAT food, Great prices, very nice service
Cons: NONE, really!
This has been my favorite local Indian restaurant for many years. Even with the increased price (up to $8-9) for the lunch buffet, it's still a great deal. Amazing unlimited nan is included. The food is definitely not uber-spicy, which some will see as a plus, and some as a minus. For me; I find their use of spices just fine. For the buffet, the dishes change each day (ie, Mon. is different from Tue, which is different from Wed, etc), but it's pretty consistent from week-to-week (ie, the menu will be the same each Mon). My personal fav is on Fridays, with a wonderful muttar paneer, and the best dal I've had. The rice pudding dessert is not too sweet--a perfect ending for an Indian meal. The staff is smiling, polite, and friendly. The number of choices at the buffet is more limited than at some buffets I've seen, but for me, is always just fine (I rarely want to eat more than 4 different dishes at one meal.).Pros: Food's taste, Price, staff
Cons: Food so good, I always over-eat.
great restaurant. the staff were giving us plenty of banter about slumdog millionaire, telling us it was helping business.
good north indian cuisine, with good selection of breads. reay nice waiter, who we chatted with at length. it's a bit of a way out of town, but worth the trip.
. . . if you want decent Indian food. I went to the luncheon buffet yesterday, and not only was the offering ungenerous (basmati rice, 3 dishes, and naan, with some iceberg lettuce as 'salad'), and overpriced ($8), the food was what I can only describe as awful. There no heat to it (which I could've tolerated), but even worse there was NO spicing! All 3 dishes (none of which was labeled BTW) were so overcooked they were mush, and they were BLAND, BLAND, BLAND. I've been to mediocre Indian restaurants before, but I've never encountered allegedly Indian food that was so tasteless -- at least the other restaurants TRIED to utilize the wonderful array of Indian spices.Pros: NONE
Cons: Awful food
Wow first time and they are so nice and polite. They write VEGAN on your ticket and are very knowledgeable. They even did our dishes oil free!!!! WOW! That is SO RARE in LA's fatty vegan restaurants. I'm going to be a regular for sure! We did the Papdam / Roti / Alogobi / Moong Dal and Basmati Rice all were fantastic. Next time we'll get them spicier, though! Parking in the back!!!Pros: vegan friendly, can do oil free, parking in back
Great vegetarian food at a reasonable price. My son and I were visiting Santa Monica and read the reviews on this site, so we tried it. We had a wonderful meal. If we were in Santa Monica again, we would go out of our way to eat at this restaurant!Pros: great food, fast service, friendly waiters
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