Dinner at Taj Mahal Cuisine of India in Encino
Upstairs in one of the weirdest “strip malls” in the San Fernando valley, is the Taj Mahal Cuisine of India restaurant. Climb the stairs (or ride the elevator) to this fantastic dining establishment and enjoy a wonderful culinary experience!
There’s usually street parking (metered 8am-8pm) available on Ventura Blvd. There are a few spaces in the small parking area in front, and many spaces in a very large underground garage below the mall…and it’s FREE. No valet parking surcharge!
The restaurant is a “mom and pop operation”: mom manages the restaurant and pop runs the deliveries and catering. The space has a sterile, modern design with big windows and lots of light during the day and it is always clean. When you enter, you’ll be greeted by the wonderful aromas of fragrant and exotic food cooking in the kitchen. They also have an outside patio dining area with a nice view of Ventura Boulevard and the Ralph’s parking lot across the street. (yes, it’s the valley)
Amazing Indian Food!
ON THE MENU: Crispy flatbread crackers served with spicy sauces, Chicken Coconut Curry, Chicken Tikka (Tandoori style), Bangin Bharta (eggplant), Basmati Rice, Peshwari Naan (warm flatbread with fruit and nuts), Raita (yogurt), Mango Chutney, and a Mango Lassi (smoothie).
For starters, there’s a crispy flatbread cracker served with spicy sauces and pickled root veggies. We like to order their mango chutney, which is sweet, tangy and delicious.
They have a wonderful selection of fresh baked naans and kulchas (seasoned breads) served warm out of the oven. I really like the garlic naan and onion kulcha, and they have a fantastic Peshwari naan with fruit and nuts baked in. Have it as an appetizer or with dinner.
They have terrific appetizers. I like the Samosas.
They have a great menu! There’s a good variety of chicken, lamb, fish and vegetarian dishes (no beef, of course). In addition to the tasty appetizers, they have wonderful soups and a unique dessert list.
Each flavorful entree is served with tasty basmati rice and raita (seasoned yogurt). My favorite dish is the chicken coconut curry, which can also be done with lamb. The Tandoori chicken is also a good choice, and is served sizzling on a skillet with grilled onions. Have it on the bone or served without bones as chicken tikka.
All of the food is constructed with a mix of spices that delivers a real taste of Indian home cooking. I’ve tried some of their other dishes on previous visits and without exception they have all been excellent. They use a wide range of ingredients and there’s something on the menu for every taste. The cooking is traditional Indian style, but the taste is extraordinary!
The Bangin Bharta is a spicy vegetarian dish made with eggplant and peas, and like all the main dishes you can request it “mild, medium, or hot”.
I love this restaurant and we come here often for dinner and sometimes have it delivered. They’ve also catered several large parties for us at our home. The food was excellent and it’s easy to serve buffet style (they’ll even provide the chafing dishes).
They also have the classic “all you can eat” lunch buffet and a champagne Sunday brunch at a great price! They advertise in local “coupon mailers” and offer discounts on the buffet and brunch as well as 2-for-1 entrees ($10 off) when you dine in with coupon. There’s also a nice selection of beer and wine available, again at very reasonable prices!
NOTE: the only thing that I’ve found to be annoying at Taj Mahal is the service. My advice is to request anything you need or want when there is someone at your table. If you ASK for ice, extra napkins, additional beverages, water refill, and the check, rather than waiting for service or someone to ask, you will have a much better experience!
There’s also one more thing I don’t like (this is my own personal opinion) and that’s that they’ll plate your food at the table for you, as part of the service. Some people enjoy being served this way, but I prefer to serve myself and determine my own portions and placement of food on the plate. So, I usually tell them “thanks, I’ll just serve myself.”
Taj Mahal Cuisine of India – 17815 Ventura Blvd, Ste 201, Encino, California 91316 818-345-2244 http://www.tajmahaldining.com
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UPDATE December 17, 2016:
We enjoyed “take out” from Taj Mahal last night and it was great!
This is, in my opinion, the best Indian food in the San Fernando Valley!
On the Menu: chicken coconut curry, chicken tikka masala, banging bharta (eggplant puree with peas), basmati rice, raita (yogurt with cucumber and dill), mango chutney and Peshwari naan (flatbread with dried fruit & nuts).
UPDATED Friday April 7, 2017
We enjoyed another fantastic dinner at Taj Mahal Cuisine of India tonight!
On The Menu: Chicken coconut curry, boneless tandoori chicken, banging bharta (eggplant dish), basmati rice, onion kulcha (flatbread), mango chutney, raita (yogurt), crispy cracker bread with spicy sauces and a mango lassi