Helmed by Los Angeles native Avish Naran, who wanted to create a local Indian food scene to rival San Francisco and NYC, Pijja Palace took over a former podiatrist’s office on Sunset Blvd and transformed it into an inviting, terracotta- and jade-hued den that slings Indian-inflected pizzas, pastas, and wings, with flat screens blaring LA sports teams in the background. Somehow this amalgamation of vibes works, in no small part because of the attention given to flavors and ingredients—the Tandoori Spaghetti belies your usual definition with smoked chili, garlic, charred lime, and breadcrumbs, while the Green Chutney Pijja features a spotted, cracker-thin crust doused with a vibrant green chile chutney, mozzarella, and crunchy masala. The drink menu is worth its own separate visit, with Indian whiskey, gin, and rum featured heavily throughout, though the natty wine selection also pairs well with the aromatic dishes. Go with a group so you can order a bit of everything and definitely save room for the Cookies and Cardamom and Malted Chai soft serves for dessert.
The second stop on your Sunset Blvd tippling tour is Pijja Palace, which bills itself as an Indian sports bar, but is delightfully flexible depending on what you’re looking for. Yes, there are mounted TVs playing live sports behind the bar and on several walls, but the pale wood details and pastel color palette create a welcoming aesthetic that is sure to draw anyone who finds themselves intrigued by the concept of Indian-Italian fare. There’s a selection of draft beer and wines by the glass and bottle, but it’s the cocktail menu that truly deserves your attention. Gin is featured prominently, as is Indian whiskey, in worthwhile creations like the Port O Pine with Ford’s Gin, Ruby Port, mango, and lime, and the Chai Whiskey Sour with Henebery Whiskey, chai, darjeeling, lemon, and egg white. The food menu offers a new take on your usual bar foods, with items like Okra Fries and Lamb Kebob Sliders, as well as altogether unique plates like a Malai Rigatoni drenched in a rich tomato masala sauce and spiced with coriander.