Monday, November 1, 2010

Chandni: Vegetarian Indian in Santa Monica

Chandni is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Santa Monica that offers a bargain all you can eat (AYCE) buffet at lunch for only $7.39.  The buffet is limited (4 dishes plus salad, rice, naan bread and dessert) so if you need a large variety this isn't the buffet for you.

What it lacks in variety, it makes up in service.  The servers continually brought out fresh naan to the table and refilled our water glasses without prompting.  The level of service was the highest I have received at a buffet and they didn't attempt to upsell me and my dining companion on anything either.  When we had finished our meal, they let us know that dessert was included (all that and dessert too for $7.39?) and so we went back to the buffer to get some rice pudding.  It was situated in front of the salad and both of us had assumed that it was salad dressing, but a small bowl of rice pudding was a sweet way to end the meal.

Even after we had paid the check and had dessert an employee came by to be sure we didn't need any more naan.  They do not have the traditional tamarind and coriander chutneys on the table but if you ask, the waiter will bring you some.

My two favorite offerings were the carrot and pea dish and the potato in yellow curry dish.  There was ample food and the buffet was frequently refreshed.  It lacks the wide variety of dishes available at Bawarchi or the other Culver City Indian restaurants, but those restaurants typically do not have waiter service and are not all you can eat.  I consider Chandni to be a when in the neighborhood option for good, inexpensive, quick and reliable food.

Chandni also has free parking in back.

Chandni: 1909 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica. Phone: (310) 828-7060. Website:

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