Note: Raaga has closed. Indian Oven has opened in its location.
I was visiting my parents in the SF Valley this weekend, and my sister Kathy suggested that we go to Thai West for lunch, a favorite restaurant in the neighborhood. Alas, it was close for Sunday lunch, so we went hunting for another alternative. Raaga was the first such alternative we found – and I was glad we did.
We got to the small strip-mall restaurant around 12:30 PM on Sunday (July 2008). The place was deserted, and they were just putting out the lunch buffet. I hope people in the area are late lunchers, because no one came while we ate.
The food was very good. The buffet consisted of three meat dishes (chicken curry, goat curry and tandoori chicken), and 2 or 3 veggie dishes – I noticed a vegetable sambaal and some daal, I’m not sure if they had something else. There was also rice, vegetable pakoras, raita and things of the sort. They brought fresh nan to the table, and it was very good, thick and warm.
I loved everything I had. The tandoori chicken lacked the red dye that is usually used to give the dish its distinctive color, but it was juicy and very flavorful, without being spicy. Indeed, Mika, my picky 6-yo, ate quite a bit of it. The chicken curry was both rich and deep, a tiny bit spicy and somewhat sweet, with layers of complexity. It was not the sort of dish you tend to get in a buffet – I really enjoyed it. The goat curry was almost as good, well balanced, rich in flavor, giving you something new, yet familiar (to eaters of Indian food). Kathy tried the veggie pakoras and she thought they were very good as well, Mika even ate a couple of bites without complain.
Service was great, if silent.
The bill came up to $38 after tax. They only charged us for 3 buffets (there were 3 adults and 3 kids, but the kids mostly ate rice), and we had 4 drinks. In all, I thought it was very affordable for the quality of food.
10110 Topanga Canyon Blvd.