I love Indian food with a passion. I'm not the best at cooking it myself, but I love having it prepared for me (i.e. Indian restaurants). I also love ethnic markets. Samosa House in Culver City is where these two wonderful worlds collide.
Chris and I discovered Samosa House around three years ago. It's a mostly vegan (with a few vegetarian options), cafeteria-style Indian restaurant with a wonderful market attached. The food made our stomachs very happy and the half hour I spent wandering the aisles of the market made my heart pretty happy. We were instant fans. We haven't eaten there since we became vegan, however, though I couldn't tell you why. I shop at the store all the time- it's where I get my jackfruit and exotic spices.
Samosa House recently expanded and now occupy the entire building (before, it was shared with a couple other shops). There is a huge seating area with more market items like kitchenware, jewelry and clothing. They also have a juice and smoothie bar now! We've been threatening to go back for awhile and a couple weeks ago, we finally had our chance.
They were pretty busy when we got there, so we had to wait in line for several minutes before it was our turn. We asked the lady behind the counter which items were not vegan and she showed us the few items that were not vegan-friendly. She also explained that the naan was not vegan, but we could have chapati instead. We each ordered the three-item plate, which comes with your choice of three items, rice, bread (naan or chapati), and raita. She offered us the soup of the day in place of the raita.
When they take your order, they first tell the kitchen your preference for bread before proceeding. Then they bring out your steamy, hot, fresh chapati (or naan) by the time you're ready to take your food to your table. It's pretty wonderful.
We also ordered a samosa to share. Their samosas are just the best. The mashed potato and pea filling is so moist and flavorful. It's large, but somehow very light and fluffy. Definitely one of the best items on the menu. It was even featured on the Food Network on The Best Thing I Ever Ate! They're only $1.50 each, so you have no excuse not to try one.
For my three-item plate, I got the chana masala, curried vegetables (which I wouldn't have gotten if I knew I was also getting vegetables soup, but c'est la vie), and my favorite item on the menu: Jackfruit Curry. It is very different from my recipe (and much better, in my opinion). The jackfruit is so tender and when piled on top of my chapati, it was absolute perfection.
Chris also got the curried vegetables, but he got the spicy "chicken," and the BBQ soy. I tasted a bit of the spicy "chicken" and it was pretty tasty!
Another bonus of eating there is that there are two big screen TVs playing Indian music videos. They're pretty fun to watch and provide for great conversation. Also, with the new remodel, there's plenty of seating next to the windows.
Samosa House has been around for over thirty years and they have a second location just up the street on Washington. The second location is just a restaurant with limited seating (no market), but I've yet to go to that one. With a big parking lot, Bollywood music videos, fantastic food, and a place to stock up on fennel seeds and jackfruit, the western location of Samosa House can't be beat.
Photography by Chris Miller
The wonderful Indian restaurant in our neighborhood also shows Bollywood music videos in the dining room--after the delicious food, it's my favorite reason for going there! They are just so colorful and so much fun to watch.
I love how positive and upbeat they are! You can't watch them and not smile. 🙂
Ginny @ Vegan In The Freezer
It sounds really great. I go around L.A. once in a while and I will definitely put this on my restaurant list. I am glad they had a line too.
You should definitely give them a try sometime, Ginny. The samosas are to die for!
It's so nice to see pictures of the place after the remodel! When we used to go there (2006-08ish), it was still kind of small and the cafeteria kind of dingy, but we still loved going there because of the FOOD! Their jack fruit curry and samosas are to die for! Jealous of Chris and yourself!
It's definitely worth going back soon! I've been thinking about the jackfruit curry all week! 🙂
I love Bollywood music videos! When David and I lived in Glendale, one of the public access channels would play them on the weekends. We loved to have breakfast and watch them. They have so much bombastic, over-the-top joy in them. You just have to feel good.
Speaking of feeling good, how much would I like to try that jackfruit curry? I am always happy to see jackfruit on a menu since it's not something you find every day. I haven't been to Samosa House, but it looks like the kind of place I'd enjoy. For my Indian market needs in LA, I always went to India Sweets & Spices.
I think you and Dave would definitely enjoy Samosa House. When I first moved to LA, I lived about 5 minutes from the Los Feliz location of India Sweets & Spices. I went there at least once a week! I know there's one not far from me in Culver City, but I can never make myself go when I have Samosa House so close. 🙂
I've never been... another one I must try..jackfruit on the menu is awesome =)
It's a nice little ma and pa place, but it is so worth the trip! 🙂
Beautifully photographed! I'm going to SoCal this weekend so I might just drop by Samosa House. I'm loving your restaurant reviews.
Thank you, Richgail! I hope you have a wonderful trip! 🙂
see this is one more reason i want to move to Cali. Amazing Indian food!! there are only limited and just about alright indian restaurants here. and for the bestest Samosas, you have to come with me to my home city, travel on a two wheeler, park in the alley and pick up a load of Samosas from Vrindavan. I could eat those from breakfast,lunch and dinner!
I bet samosas from your home town are amazing! And you KNOW I would eat them for every meal of the day! 🙂
What a fantastic little joint! I had chapati for the first time just last week, I made it off Shira's site. Where has it been all my life, all the Indian Restaurants around here just serve naan, I'm pretty sure none of them serve vegan naan. Everything looks so yummy!
Chapati is soooo good! I guess this means you just have to come to LA to visit. 😉
no kidding. you havent had chapati? :)) i eat it almost everyday:) well we get the pre-rolled frozen thing for most days. easier than rolling a 20 out everyday 😉
Holy Smokes this place looks and sounds amazing- I am a HUGE Fan of Indian Food too, like you I prefer to have it cooked for me rather than cook it myself....my Indian Recipes include Curry & Naan 🙂