Clean Indian Food in Santa Monica

IMG-20120204-00032Jeffrey and I wanted to celebrate finding a new puppy today and go out for a pre Valentines dinner since the cost and going out that night is prohibitive.  We were running some errands near Main Street and the sign for Dhaba caught Jeffrey’s eye.

“I really feel like Indian food.”  I previously blogged about Dhaba restaurant takeout in my SELF blogs and had wanted to try it again so I thought “why not?”

The restaurateurs’ could not be friendlier.  If you want a great vibe of fun, friendliness and tasty food go to Dhaba.  You can order things a la carte or as a dinner.  We decided to order a la carte for the blog to try the more items.

We ordered an appetizer of hummus with cucumber/tomato/onion combo and some naan.  The hummus was different than traditional Middle Eastern hummus – thinner but just as tasty and went well with the vegetable dish.  I had a few bites of naan but it really was fine without it if you are avoiding bread/gluten.

We then ordered channa masala (garbanzo beans with onion/tomato curry/ginger), the special of the day, which was Kale with garlic/radish, and tikka masala (chicken tikka in onion/tomato curry).

The channa masala was my favorite – the combo of spices and beans is amazing and kills the appetite fairly quickly if you are looking to eat less.  I’m passing this along as a good thing since eating less is always challenging.

The Kale was a nice change from regular west side kale salad – quite spicy and filling.  The tikka masala chicken was just the right balance of protein with veggies and spices.  I had some chai tea, which had a wonderful taste and is a tad sweet but goes well with the balancing the spices.

I noticed a family which had ordered the dinner combinations and they reminded me of the “lunch box” look you get when you order at a Japanese restaurant – a fun combo of a lot of different things on the menu.

I would definitely recommend Dhana as a great “Clean Eating” Indian restaurant to add to your list to try.  They have organic local produce from the Farmer’s markets and use mostly organic meats.

My rating system is below and these are the numbers.

1. Clean Food (sampled) – 4.5

2. Clean Space – 5

3. Friendly Staff – 5+

4. Balanced proportions of protein/carb/fat – 4

5. No Food Hangover – 4.5

Dhana got a 4.6/5