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Presenting Tantra , Silver Lake, Los Angeles

- By Kavita Moses

Los Angeles, the city of the Hollywood stars, glimmer and glitter, has several inviting areas that attract huge crowds every night.Sunset Boulevard is definitely one of the most picturesque and upscale streets in Los Angeles, housing quite a few famous restaurants and night-clubs, one such gem being the Tantra Indian Restaurant.

Tantra is one of L.A.'s current "in" destinations, both for its ambience and the fine cuisine. The Silver Lake area of Los Angeles has always been home to artists and art galleries, chefs, and hot spot restaurants—and for the past five years has gladly hosted Tantra, whose subtitle is “the art of Indian cuisine.”

As you enter through the massive copper doors, you will find yourself surrounded by a decor that takes its cues from the spices of Indian cooking. Rich saffron-colored walls invite you to lose yourself in the sensory experience that awaits, as iron-and-silk light fixtures, curtains of oxidized metals, murals of gender-fused beings, and black-and-white Bollywood movies shown on a giant plasma screen lend an unorthodox feel to the place. A beautiful portrait of an Indian mythological figure hangs above the hostess station, welcoming you with a huge smile. To the right is a cocktail lounge, with long banquets covered in gorgeous sari material, and a beautiful bar that serves specialty drinks such as Tears of Ganesha, Tiger’s Milk and Shiva's Revenge as the DJ keeps the hip mood alive. To the left is the dining area, and to reach this you have to cross a narrow pool strewn with orchid blossoms and floating candles!! Yes, an actual indoor pool, which makes the atmosphere even more mysterious and exotic!

Moving onto the topic of food, I think the chef has created a truly eclectic fusion menu that has its roots in indian cooking yet offers a contemporary dining experience. The entrees range from $11 to $16, and span across a range of typical and atypical flavors; from chicken to catfish, lamb to salmon and shrimp, and bhindi and eggplant to potatoes and paneer, there's something to appease everyone in the group. All the food is very delicately spiced, with one particular flavor dominating the dish; the chef offers some unique pairings like cardamom with homey mustard and dill, or coconut with cumin, ajwain and mint to name a few. The rich and creamy curries have the aroma of freshly-ground spices, and taste great with the choice of breads and naan. They also have a nice drinks menu to compliment your meal. The dessert offers decent choices; we really liked the Chocolate Crepes and the Tandoori Ananas (grilled pineapples)

The waiting staff is knowledgeable and professional, courteous and efficient. The owner himself is always present to preside over the dining experience. Due to its location and popularity, its advisable to make reservations in advance. The place offers valet parking as well as catering services and banquet facilities. Overall, Tantra offers a wonderful value for your money. It's trendy and stylish, yet brings you in touch with indian decor, and if you are lucky, you may even spot a celebrity enjoying themselves on Sunset Blvd!! Tantra Indian restaurant is definitely on my highly-recommended restaurants in Los Angeles list. Try it and see for yourself!

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