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Natraj Cuisine of India: Some Like it Hot!
by: Michael Varma
Some like it hot; Natraj diners like it even hotter!
Some like it hot; Natraj diners like it even hotter!

Some like it hot. Some like it mild. At Natraj, flavor is king. Zagat’s declares the restaurant “Excellent” and, growing up on fine food from India, both homemade and restaurant prepared, I thoroughly agree. Taste the rich and spicy Indian specialties and still carry on coherent conversations with your dinner guests at Natraj Cuisine of India of Laguna Hills.

Escape from the busy Big Lots parking lot and enter an oasis complete with soothing Indian music, tables covered in white linen adorned with fresh flowers and an attentive wait-staff ala Taj Mahal. It’s an excellent choice for a romantic get-a-way, family dining or professional business dinner.

Begin with large and light samosas – crisp pastries filled with mildly spiced potatoes and peas – to ready the palate for a generous and flavorful feast. A biryani dish made from aromatic basmati rice, saffron and cumin seeds can accompany your main entrée, or add chicken, lamb or shrimp for a nominal charge.

Vegetarians have an abundant selection from aloo gobi (tender cauliflower and potatoes sautéed in herbs and spices) to saag paneer (creamed spinach and homemade cheese) to bharta (roasted eggplant with tomatoes and onions) and a dozen more divine dishes.

Choose main entrées from chicken, lamb, seafood, and tandoori (cooked in clay oven) specialties. Chicken tikka masala – roasted chicken breast meat in a velvety sauce of tomato, cream, onions and light spices – over savory saffron rice with a little raita (yogurt with cucumbers and tomatoes) is a mouth-watering delight. Enjoy the selection accompanied by naan – leavened bread freshly baked in the clay oven – and you’re headed for heaven.

Michael’s meal deals are two: the extensive lunch buffet from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, $9.95, and Sunday’s champagne brunch, $13.95, or the dinner for two, $47.95, – which I believe actually feeds four or more.

While this review is only for the Laguna Hills restaurant – make it an adventure and try Natraj’s Tandoori at the Foothill Ranch or Irvine locations.

949.581.4200 | 24861 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills |

Michael Varma is a freelance writer, professional magician for more than 20 years, and an award-winning distinguished Toastmaster and knows what it takes to entertain an audience. Varma is a published author of educational puzzle books and games and frequently performs at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, Calif.

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