Pijja Palace – Restaurant Review

Much has already been written about the Indian food inspired sports bar Pijja Palace, located in the strip mall where Happy Feet used to be (RIP). Reservations, which are released at midnight a week before the day, are snatched up faster than Taylor Swift tickets, relegating the unlucky many to try their luck as a walk-in. I was one of those unlucky hoards who couldn’t score a reservation online, so I planned to meet a friend as a walk-in one Friday evening. Figuring on a line, I got there at 4:30pm, half an hour before the opening time and managed to be the only person in line.

However, this was short lived, as the line grew to 10 people within the next 10 minutes and to over 30 people by the time the restaurant opened. The couple behind me said this was their second time, returning to try even more items on the menu – high praise!

At exactly 5pm, the handful of those in line with reservations were called forward and seated, leaving over 20 of us to vey for the less than 20 bar seats open to walk-ins. Once settled into my stool, my attention went first to the inventive and unique dozen cocktails on the back of the A4 menu. It also has a good selection of wines Floats and many non-alcoholic Soda Fountain options for the non drinkers. With my pandan-forward Annapurna cocktail order in, my friend and I focused our attention on the menu. After ruling out the spicy foods neither of us can eat, we ordered Jaggery Tamarind BBQ Tenders and the much lauded Our Way Chutney Pijja. Since the other two chutney options either had Habanero or chile, we went with Pineapple. However, a word of caution to others who are sensitive to spicy foods – all Chutney Pijjas pack some heat, even the innocuous sounding Pineapple Chutney one.

The music was at an energetic volume, the multitude of TVs tuned into various games and the restaurant was PACKED. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and we were too talking to the amiable bartender and filling our bellies with… okay food. Both of us found the breading on the chicken tenders to be too thick, though the chicken itself was good and not dry. And like I mentioned, the Chutney pijja was a bit spicy but had a good thin crust, though not much aside on top than the chutney. It was also fine the next day in the toaster oven with a fried egg on top.

We definitely enjoyed our meal but were a little perplexed by the adoration and buzz. Is it a novel concept? Yes. Was the cocktail good? Yes. Was the food good? Yes. It just wasn’t wait-half-an-hour-in-line or wait-until-midnight-to-try-to-get-a-reservation good. If I could schedule a table a few weeks out on OpenTable like a normal restaurant, I would definitely go again to try one of their unique pastas and Dosa Onion Rings. And if you wouldn’t mind eating at 5pm after waiting in line for 30minutes with some friends, by all means, I recommend giving Pijja Palace a try.

About the Author

Barndi is a 1.5 gen Korean American Angeleno who lives for food, friends, family and her Fido, Minnie Pearl. She goes off on food adventures from her base camp in East Hollywood.

Categories: Food, Travel

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