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Pasadena’s 20-Year Indian Food Legend Akbar to Reopen After Closing in 2018

A new location for the two-decade-old restaurant will see owner Avinash Kapoor serve along S. Arroyo Parkway

An overhead shot of butter chicken and rice shown on a heavy white plate.
Food from the former Akbar Cuisine of India in Pasadena.
Akbar Cuisine of India
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

After nearly four years away, Pasadena’s two-decade-old Akbar is coming back home. The previous Akbar Cuisine of India restaurant stood for 20 years at 44 N. Fair Oaks Avenue as a stalwart of the San Gabriel Valley’s Indian food scene, before shifting its name and menu slightly as part of a move to the edge of Chinatown in 2018. Now, it’s coming back.

Ownership for Akbar reached out to inform Eater of the planned return, which will put the restaurant at 404 S. Arroyo Parkway, inside the former Galanga Thai and almost directly across the street from Whole Foods. The group also announced the return of the restaurant on social media, though more firm details about the reopening are still to come.

Since 2018, Akbar co-owner Avinash Kapoor has run Kapoor’s Akbar at 701 W. Cesar Chavez, transitioning the restaurant from the Pasadena location down to Chinatown while also revamping the menu a bit. As DTLA News noted earlier this year, some of the staple dishes have remained even as Kapoor has embraced street food and a more fast-casual dining model during the ongoing pandemic. Another affiliated Akbar location exists in Marina del Rey as well.

The return of Akbar is not only good news for diners eager to see a local favorite come back to Pasadena, it’s a good sign for small, longtime, and locally-owned businesses that have continually struggled during the ongoing pandemic. Much like Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Pasadena has been rich with new restaurant openings over the past year, and the arrival of Akbar to Arroyo Parkway puts them adjacent to everyone from Lucky Boy to Houston’s to Howlin’ Ray’s to barbecue specialist Slab. Expect a likely Akbar return in the middle of 2022.