Indian food goes fast-casual at Bollywood Zaika in Redondo Beach – The Daily Breeze

By on August 16, 2019

For as long as I can remember, Addi’s Tandoor, on Torrance Boulevard in Redondo beach, has been the premier Indian destination in the South Bay — a casually elegant destination for both classic Indian dishes, and for a taste of the cooking of the Indian state of Goa, unique for its Portuguese influence.

And then, back in the spring, Addi’s closed, with a sign that it was being replaced by “Addi’s Darbar.” The original Addi’s is gone. But Addi’s will live on.

And in the meantime, it lives on in a fast-casual incarnation, in a busy mall at the cusp of Hermosa and Redondo beaches, called Bollywood Zaika. Which is where owner Addi Decosta has found happiness doing what so many chefs have done. Which is to expand their upscale operations into a far more casual concept — in this case, Indian cooking meets Chipotle.

Which is to say, no waiter service, food ordered from a cafeteria line, a limited choice of dishes that are easy to make, easy to serve, and travel with ease as well.

In doing this, Addi follows in the well-trod footsteps of more restaurateurs and chefs than I can name. Wolfgang Puck, of course, has his Wolfgang Puck Pizzerias, Wolfgang Puck Bistros, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grills and Wolfgang Puck Expresses. TV superchef Bobby Flay has opened nearly 20 branches of his Bobby’s Burger Palace. And hyper demanding sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa is far less demanding at his Sugarfish chain. The list goes on. Chefs like casual. It’s so much…easier.

In the case of Bollywood Zaika (“Bollywood” is, of course, the eternally amazing Indian movie industry; “zaika” is Hindi for “taste of” — “Taste of the Movie Industry”…I guess…), the menu has been winnowed down to a greatest hits list. Sort of.

I say “sort of” because there’s no tandoor chicken on the menu. Though there is a chicken kabab served without sauce, which certainly comes close. And with its marinade of yogurt, ginger and garlic, it comes very close.Notably, it’s chicken that dominates the main courses on the small menu. There are nine entrees, and five are chicken. Three more are built around vegetables — Goa, as a state in Southern India, has a strong leaning towards vegetarian cooking — and one is a Goan style fish, a filet tossed with regional herbs and spices, then seared.

Servings of curry and more at Bollywood Zaika (Photo by Merrill Shindler)

It‘s made to order, so it might take awhile. Which makes it the exception, rather than the rule of the cooking at Zaika, where the numerous dishes sit on the cafeteria line, ready to be ladled out — for eating in-house, for taking home or, thanks to the very affable staff, for tasting.

If you’re not sure, they give you a sample. Which is a fine way to decide if the chicken vindaloo, traditionally one of the hottest dishes served at local Indian restaurants, is too spicy for your delicate sensibilities or not.

It’s not the hottest vindaloo I’ve ever had; it didn’t reduce me to tears and sweat. But it definitely makes your taste buds stand up and take notice. Which is why it’s a good idea to get a side order of the yogurt and cucumber sauce called raita, which can cool you down with amazing ease.

And drinks like the mango lassi, a thick mango flavored malted, that’s about as soothing as a beverage can be.By all means, do order some of the pastries to begin your meal — the crispy vegetable, spinach and cheese, or chicken samosas; the chapatti and the paratha; the naan both plain and garlic.

I’m rather mad for garbanzo beans, and so is Indian cooking — the garbanzos with tomatoes in the chana masala is a happy creation.

In terms of the meal proper, the best way to go is certainly with one of the three schools of combos — the wraps, the bowls and the plates. In each case, you have a choice of three main ingredients — chicken, fish or vegetables. And in each case, they come with sides and condiments.

The wraps, in tasty Indian paratha, are more flavorful than most; in this case, the wrapper doesn’t taste like a page from the phone book. The bowls come served over rice or greens. While the plates come with rice or greens.The rice is basmati pilaf, pretty much the standard in traditional Indian restaurants. But then, this is a variation on the same old same old. And so, there’s also a brown rice and quinoa rice blend. I’m honestly not sure there’s anything in Indian like that. But then, I’m not sure there‘s anything in India like Bollywood Zaika.

All that’s missing here are Bollywood dance routines put on by the staff. But then, a cast of hundreds is needed for that.

Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Send him email at

Bollywood Zaika

Rating: 2.5 stars

Address: 633 N. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach

Information: 424-398-0056,

Cuisine: Indian

When: Lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday

Details: Soft drinks; no reservations

Atmosphere: The owner of the much-loved Addi’s Tandoor downsizes to a minimalist Indian fast-casual restaurant in a busy mini-mall at the cusp of Hermosa and Redondo. Convenient for eat-in, but mostly for take-out.

Prices: About $12 per person

Suggested dishes: 8 Appetizers ($1.50-$5.95), 9 Main Dishes ($6.50-$11.75), Wrap/Bowl/Plate Combos ($7.95-$13.75), 14 Sides ($1.75-$5.25)

Cards: MC, V

What the stars mean: Ratings range from 4 stars to zero. 4 stars is world-class (worth a trip from anywhere). 3 stars is most excellent, even exceptional (worth a trip from anywhere in Southern California). 2 stars is a good place to go for a meal (visit if you’re in the neighborhood). 1 star is a place to go if you’re hungry and it’s nearby. Zero stars is not worth writing about.


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