>> Makkah Market & Tandoori Grill | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday 31 May 2021

Makkah Market & Tandoori Grill


COVID-19 UPDATE: The market is operating as takeout only, as always. To avoid waiting, place your orders by phone ahead of time for pickup.

When there are trucks and SUVs parked at the Western Square plaza in Torrance, you may not even notice all the enticing photos of Pakistani foods that adorn the front wall of the Makkah Market. Their signage hints towards a restaurant, and once inside they tack on "Tandoori Grill" to the TV menu, but otherwise you would not be blamed for completely missing the delights contained within if just passing through.

And while those professional photographs immediately make your mouth water and are a lot to live up to, the kitchen inside the grocery store passes this test with flying colors, offering up some of the best South Asian foods in Greater Los Angeles to the communities in and around Torrance.

Do not bother searching for the kitchen, as it remains out of sight. Instead, the aforementioned menu is above the cashier in the front, where you can place your orders before doing a little shopping in the market. The other TV plays a Pakistani news channel, while a brand new Palestine flag hangs proudly over the area.

If you do not pre-order by calling in, it may take 15 or 20 minutes to cook everything, so wander back to the halal meat market or look through the refrigerated cases and dry goods for other items to buy. A freezer in front has kulfi in a few flavors if you want to have your dessert first.

As opposed to most Indian restaurants, you can get an assortment of beef dishes here, which are all done really well. Beef biryani is only available Saturdays, but you can get chicken biryani ($8.99, above) daily except for Sundays when the kitchen is completely closed. This is a massive amount of food and may be the best value on the entire menu, with basmati rice and chunks of bone-in dark meat cooked to perfection.

If you are in the mood for beef on a weekday, try the beef nihari ($7.99, below), which is full of the deep, rich flavors of bone marrow, plenty of spices, and the sourness of lemon. It is oily and thick and sticks to naan perfectly, but also can be paired with rice if you prefer.

This dish is popular during Eid al-Fitr, the festival breaking fast at the end of Ramadan which just passed a couple weeks ago, and was on the brain and very satisfying. Rice does not come standard with any dishes, as expected by their very economical prices, but a heaping portion of basmati can be purchased on the side for $3.99.

Also available in the beef category is their thick beef haleem ($8.99, below), which comes topped with chopped peppers, cilantro, and fried onions. Even thicker than usual with barley and lentils, the stew is spicy and aromatic and just good.

Lamb should not be left out of an order here, and the perfect addition might be the mutton korma (9.99, below), made without a hint of gaminess and could be mistaken for beef if you are not paying attention. The gravy that large chunks of lamb swim in is thickened by dahi, or yogurt used to braise the meat, and made plenty spicy.

The meat is tender and obviously slow-cooked, while besides spiciness a lot of coriander and cumin come through in the lusciously oily gravy.

When meals can be eaten immediately, they have plenty of samosas and naan options to enjoy, as well as a Makkah burger, which needs a thorough investigation sometime soon. A sweet tooth can be satisfied with dessert options like gulab jamun and badam kheer.

๐Ÿ“ 22846 S. Western Avenue, Torrance, South Bay


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