If you plan to eat dinner at a Best Western, you could do worse than Aashiana, the Pakistani eatery located in the hotel’s Diamond Bar location (23488 S. Gentle Springs Lane, Diamond Bar). Technically, Aashiana claims no affiliation with the hotel, and its owners acknowledge that guests may be surprised to find nehari rather than continental breakfast.
Other than the occasional confused tourist, Aashiana is frequented by locals seeking out sizzling tandoor-cooked meats and crisp breads saturated in ghee. That nehari, the formidably spicy beef stew informally regarded as Pakistan’s national dish, is pretty good, too.
Aashiana is not exactly an anomaly. This stretch of Diamond Bar has more Indian grocery stores than Albertsons, more dosa spots than IHOPs and more Gujarati than English. It’s not Artesia’s Pioneer Boulevard, but if you look in the right places you'll find the likes of Bollywood video stores, North Indian banquet halls and sari shops. And you'll find lots of Indian food that's worth the trek.
India Coffee & Snacks (23371 Golden Springs Drive, Diamond Bar) is the local place to find Mumbai snack foods, South Indian dosas and uttapam pancakes studded with onions and chile. It also serves the beloved Mumbai street snack pav bhaji, essentially mashed potatoes amplified with spices and served alongside liberally buttered bread. There’s a version of samosa chaat, where a couple of samosas are buried under an avalanche of crackers, sev and chutneys. And there’s the family of puri snacks: pani puri, where shells are filled with tangy water; dahi puri, where the crackers are splashed with yogurt; and bhel puri, where puffed rice is mixed with practically everything a cook can find in a Gujarati kitchen.
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Diamond Bar’s best Indian restaurant might be Dilliwala Indian Kitchen (303 S. Diamond Bar Blvd., Diamond Bar), which is trying to be both the neighborhood North Indian joint (free delivery within three miles!) and the neighborhood hot spot. The menu is basically what you find at most any other local Indian restaurant, but everything tends to be well executed, even if your lamb vindaloo is a couple more dollars than you'd prefer. The eggplant dish baingan bartha is wonderfully smoky, and the lamb in karahi, the famous North Indian curry, is so drowned in ginger and chile that it feels refreshing.
For dessert, you could drop in next door at New India Sweets & Spices (303 S. Diamond Bar Blvd., Diamond Bar), which is a grocery store but also a passable option for yet more fresh dosas, samosas and puris. If you can’t find the particular sort of spice mix you’re looking for, head to Rani’s World Foods (23377 Golden Springs Drive, Diamond Bar), a small grocery store chain that claims to supply Culver City’s Samosa House with those samosas John Travolta likes.