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Chandni

  • Vegetarian
    ( 14 reviews )
Contact 310-828-7060
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1909 Wilshire Blvd (at 19th St), Santa Monica, California, USA, 90403

Vegetarian Indian restaurant Chandni means "moonlight" in Hindi. Features an all-you-can-eat daily lunch buffet. A la carte dinner menu includes snack appetizers, assorted hot breads, vegetable and lentil dishes, and desserts. Try the samosas, garlic naan (not vegan), and eggplant bharata. Casual dining. Parking available behind the restaurant.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Indian, Buffet, Beer/Wine, Take-out

Reviews (14)

First Review by emurphy

Okay Indian Buffet - Edit

This was more of a 3.5 for us, but you can't really beat the deal that is their lunch buffet, so it rounds up to a 4! Their lunch buffet is small, but has just enough options to satisfy. Our favorite part is that you don't leave with a stomach ache, because their food is not too greasy or oily. We've had black eyed peas, daal, aloo gobi, peas in sauce, saag paneer, roti and fresh vegetable salad. Everything is flavorful and layered in spices without being heavy. The buffet comes with naan, but they've whipped us up roti upon request without charging extra. It has no butter and is perfect for dipping in their sauces. Indian food is comfort food to me and this does the trick!

The buffet works out to about $9/person and it is unlimited. We've been stuffed each time we've eaten here. I'll say the inside of the restaurant could use some work. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is stuck in another era and hasn't been updated in many years. The inside is definitely clean, but doesn't feel quite as sparkling clean as other restaurants in the area. We've also gotten takeout when we had family in town (for dinner), and the servings were quite hefty we were given and everyone was satisfied. Not too much cream but lots of flavor. Service has been friendly each time we've gone too.


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Chandni Rocks! - Edit

I love Chandni. Since discovering this place we eat here at least 1-2x a week. This is not a fancy overpriced Indian restaurant. It is very down to earth and affordable. The food is wholesome, delicious, and very authentic. You know you are eating authentic cuisine when a large percentage of the customers are Indian. The staff is very sensitive to vegan needs and will go out of their way to prepare the food according to any dietary needs or preferences. I love eating in a place that serves no meat because I just don't have to worry. But best of all are the wonderful people who run this place. Mahesh, Kumar, and the whole gang - these are kind and spiritual people. Twice a year they do a free community feeding (Narayana Seva). Free to everyone and they take great joy in being able to give back to the community. They have a daily lunch buffet which is delicious. I don't usually eat buffets because I don't like stuff that has been sitting around - but they cook the dishes in very small batches and continually refresh them throughout lunch. They walk around with freshly made naan bread and are very attentive. This may not be the most luxurious or romantic place to take a date but if you want delicious, veggie/vegan, conscientiously prepared food served by kind people you can't beat Chandni.

Pros: Authentic, Delicious Food, Wonderful Staff, Very Affordable


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Unimpressive - Edit

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.


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Love it! - Edit

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


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Santa Monica's Only Pure Vegetarian Indian - Edit

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


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Simple flavors, calm ambiance, great service - Edit

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


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great little find - Edit

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 problem

Pros: tasty, friendly staff


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my favorite! - Edit

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!


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excellent food - Edit

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.


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naantastic - Edit

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.

Pros: great staff, great food

Cons: location


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DON'T GO FOR LUNCH . . . - Edit

. . . 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


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Outstanding Vegan Friendly and can do Oil Free! - Edit

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


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Great food! - Edit

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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