Pretty solid Indian at Rita's in Santa Monica

Parents-in-law have been talking about their new favorite Indian place for a couple months, Rita’s (possibly Rita’s Gate of India or just Gate of India? It’s not 100% clear), and we finally tried it with them tonight. No pics unfortunately, but we had:

Bhelpuri: I had never had this before. An appetizer that is kind of a carb-y salad, with crispy noodles, potatoes, onions, tomato, some herbs, and a tamarind sauce. I wish the noodles were a little crispier, but I did really enjoy the tamarind sauce; it was sweet but with just enough tang to not be cloying.

Coconut Lamb Curry: This was probably my favorite dish. Relatively sweet, with a really bright, complex flavor that I think is often lacking in westside Indian. I basically forced myself to stop eating this so I could have some for lunch tomorrow.

Aloo Gobi: Again, I thought the flavors were just really fun. Whereas I feel like Aloo Gobi is basically just healthyish (bland) tasting cauliflowers and potatoes, these were cooked to the point the cauliflower were nearly dissolving into the curry, which was fantastic.

Chicken Tikka: Maybe a tinge undercooked and the least exciting taste of anything we had. Still fine and I did appreciate that it wasn’t dry at all, but much more generic-tasting than anything else we had.

Vegetable Biryani: I didn’t have a ton of this, but what I did have appeared to have good flavor and veggie distribution throughout the biryani.

Raita: Not as electric as some, but perfectly acceptable.

Service is super nice but a little slow. Considering how bereft Santa Monica has been of Indian, this was a pleasant find indeed and saves the drive to Lawndale or Culver City.

Rita’s (Gate of India) 1450 5th St, Santa Monica

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If it’s the same Rita who operated Gate of India right by the water (next to Thai Dishes and a Greek place), once upon a time she tried to set me up on a date with her daughter. It was a bit awkward as I was dining with my girlfriend at the time. I’d spoken with Rita in Bengali and she’d asked me who the person I was with was. I said, “a friend” (not wanting to get into personal details) upon which she called her daughter (rather attractive) over. It took the daughter about 3 seconds to size up the situation (not that she had any interest in me anyway) but I’m not sure Rita did–she seemed disappointed I didn’t push the matter.

Lovely story, but, um, if this IS the same Rita, did you learn anything about how good her food is? :slight_smile:

This was the mid-late 90s–a long time ago. As curry house Indian went, it was not bad at all. The place was over the top with its decor though–lots of silk and other fabrics hanging from the wall.

And Google Maps tells me it is the same place! Does it still look the same?

For the OP: another curry house’ish Indian place I quite enjoyed at the time on the Santa Monica/West LA border was Chandni (on Wilshire, possibly close to another Thai Dishes). It was a vegetarian place and I recall they had a very good mushroom curry. Not sure if they’re still in business but all of this is making me very nostalgic for when I was a grad student with very little money.

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Chandni absolutely still in business. One of my Indian friends says it’s her favorite place on this side of town.

OP will have to answer if Rita’s still looks the same! I’ve never been.

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I bonded with the manager at Chandni after bumping into him at the English pub on Lincoln (whatever was its name?) in the middle of the night one time to watch India at the cricket world cup. They lost very badly to Sri Lanka but we didn’t really mind too much. I’m sorry–none of this has anything to do with this thread.

Actually, closer attention suggests they’ve moved up a few blocks from Ocean. Google, Yelp and Facebook reveal that it’s the same Rita, however (Rita Huda). Apparently, they’d closed for some time. And Yelp reviews suggest that the over-the-top decor of the location off Ocean is probably a thing of the past.

Cock 'n Bull?

I recall it well. Food was OK.

That’s it–we went there for Premier League football early morning on Saturdays and for cricket in the middle of the night when tournaments were on.

I’m not able to retrace my steps at the moment, but I had tracked the food/recipes from the old Gate of India to Taj Mahal of India on Pico in Pico-Robertson (I think maybe somebody who had cooked for Rita before moved there). The vegetable curries were nearly spot on from what I had remembered from Rita’s old location.

Of course, now I need to try Rita’s new location to verify.

The original Gate of India was in Hollywood, I think. But I only ever ate at the later Santa Monica incarnation.