Have you been to downtown Culver City recently? It might look a lot different than the last time you were there. This unapologetically suburban neighborhood can’t keep a restaurant open longer than 16 months. Most spots currently here are fast casual, aggressively corporate, and largely unremarkable. But then there’s Mayura, a family-run Indian spot on the edge of downtown Culver City that has survived the test of time not by pandering to the local studio lunch crowd, but by simply being great.
Located amongst a never-ending row of stripmalls on Venice Blvd., Mayura isn’t going to jump out at you. It’s wedged between a title loan shop and a hair salon, and from the outside, seems like it would seat about 15 people. But Mayura is actually quite big, and after some decor upgrades, is modern and colorful and straight out of last quarter’s Ikea catalog. But it’s hardly lost its charm - the same family who’s been running it all these years is still there, providing great service, and making the best Indian food you’ll find in Culver City.
Mayura’s menu is massive. If you want to go the route of chicken tikka masalas and saag paneers, you’ll find them and you’ll be happy. But Mayura stands out because of all the things you can’t get everywhere else. The menu leans more towards Southern Indian food, specifically the Kerala region - where the owners are from. The fish curry is tangy and sour and unlike any curry we’ve had before, and the utthapam is a giant rice pancake that, when topped with cheese and vegetables, is basically an Indian pizza - and it’s wonderful. And then there’s the avial special, which is vegetables sauteed in coconut and spices and the best thing on the menu. Mayura’s food isn’t just memorable because it’s different, it’s memorable because everything tastes fantastic.
In a neighborhood where every third door leads to a salad bar, Mayura is refreshing for simply being different. They have a full buffet during lunch, free delivery all day, and downright delicious food you won’t find in many other restaurants around town. And that alone always wins out. Your move, build-your-own chicken wrap nightmare.
Arriving to the table about a foot tall looking like a giant bread tee-pee, this is a necessary first-order for the table. It’s buttery and flaky and has the density of a crepe, so fears of carbo-loading too early should be ignored.
Don’t leave here without ordering this. It might just look like a plate of curried vegetables, but it’s rich, spicy, and fantastic. We could say it’s good for the table, but you’re not sharing this with anyone.
This rice pancake topped with cheese and vegetables is one 30-second stint in the wood-fired oven away from being a full-on Indian pizza and we approve. This is worth driving across the city for.
On their own, these deep-fried lentil donuts aren’t actually all that flavorful. But mixed and dunked into the two sauces that come with them, these will be gone in no time.
This is essentially a bowl of buttered rice with lentils and cashews and spices and it’s every bit as good as that sounds.
Even if you eat curry on a consistent basis, chances are you haven’t had one quite like this. The fish itself is solid, but the curry broth is tangy and sour and incredibly addictive.