The moment you walk into Akbar, you're greeted with the aromas of toasted spices and garlicky naan. This Indian restaurant in Old Town Pasadena makes what is easily our favorite Indian food in L.A. Each dish is hearty and redolent with whole star anise, cumin, and turmeric. One of our favorite treats are the crispy samosas. We slather ours with the house's coconut hot sauce--a chutney that we've tried many times to recreate but never gotten quite right. We keep asking for the recipe, but the servers just smile and shake their heads. They sure know how to get us to come back!
Other favorites are the saag paneer, bengan bhartha, and of course chicken tikka masala. The server will ask you about your heat tolerance. We like to go spicy, but be warned, even medium was too hot for some of our more tender-tongued friends. If you're sensitive, stick with the mild.