Long Beach Indian: How Is It So Good? Part 1
2010-08-23 · By Chandra Clewley
Maybe it is because my name is Indian. Maybe it is because I have always wanted to visit India and experience the rich culture there. Maybe it takes me away to somewhere so far off and so different than Southern California, that I have always loved Indian food and have spent so much time trying to find the “best” Indian restaurants in Los Angeles? There are many too, of course with the Mecca being Pioneer Blvd in Artesia. Having moved from the South Bay and frequenting Addi’s Tandoor, we had yet to find a great Indian restaurant in Long Beach. Well, that day has changed, my friends. We have found not one, but two! Let’s start with the flagship that Long Beach locals seem to swear by, Natraj Cuisine of India.
Natraj Cuisine of India sits on 2nd Street, and has a wonderful open patio area, where we were able to tie the dog up, always a huge plus for us, and order away. I knew I had found a home at Natraj when I noticed the larger than life size mural of Aishwarya Rai on one wall. The most famous starlet in the world and hardly anyone knows her in the United States! We were warmly welcomed by one of the sisters in the family that runs Natraj and she sat us and immediately brought us Pappadum (a crispy cracker that comes instead of a bread basket) and a few chutneys and sauces to dig into.
We ordered our standard: Chicken Tikka Masala and Palak Paneer (Creamed Spinach with Cheese). We also ordered Garlic Naan to accompany it and were not disappointed. At one point, the entire family had helped us in one way or another, bringing refills, checking on our progress, asking us how we liked the food. The food itself was just perfect, the Chicken Tikka had the right amount of savory and cream-sweet, the Palak Paneer had just enough cheese for me to get my dairy fix for the evening. I felt so pleased by the service that I couldn’t help but smile as I ate. And part of the joy of eating on 2nd street, especially with a dog tied to the outside of the fence, was that people would stop and visit with us as we ate. I just absolutely adore the social aspect of eating on street patios up and down this street and any street for that matter.
I noticed when I used the restroom that there is a lunch buffet Monday through Saturday at Natraj, which is $8.95 with over 20 items! They also offer a Sunday Brunch for $11.95 that included bottomless Champagne from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
I absolutely adored the service, the family, the decadent food, the social sitting area, the dog-friendliness, and the overall ambience of Natraj Cuisine of India, and the prices are extraordinary too. I am determined not only to become a regular here, but to try every item on their huge menu at some point too! You must try this 2nd Street Indian, even if you don’t live close by!
Natraj Cuisine of India is located at 5262 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA 90803. Call (562)930-0930 for more information.