Back in late 2019, Avish Naran took over the former Happy Foot/Sad Foot clinic space on the corner of Sunset and Benton Way. He had a plan to convert the beloved landmark into an Indian pizza parlor called Pijja Palace, a new Silver Lake spot that adds bold Desi/Indian twists to pizzas, pastas, and wings, along with 13 TV screens. Obviously the world of 2020 had other plans. But now Pijja Palace is here, opening Wednesday in the same corner mall as the Comfort Inn and Khun Mae Ploy.
“Pijja” is a casual Hindi translation of pizza, and Naran recruited former Roberta’s Culver City sous chef Miles Shorey to develop the menu. Here spice is everywhere, from okra fries layered with chile powder to one of the four different types of wings, including a Kashmiri red chile with garam masala, ginger or garlic. Shorey made a spicy garlic bread for sopping up Pijja’s take on an Italian classic: a slightly fiery malai rigatoni with tomato, cream, and coriander. Opt for the lamb kebab sliders, or the chicken tenders with a tamarind barbecue sauce.
Now on to the pizza. Pijja Palace’s pies come in a 12 or 16 inch frame with a choice of base sauce. There’s makhini — the Northern Indian staple — with tomatoes, spices, and cream. The peri peri vindaloo is non-traditional and made with a roux, Kashmiri red chillies, spices typically found in a vindaloo, then fortified with a rich vegetable stock. And finally, the white korma is their flip on the white pizza with sweet onions, yogurt, and spices.
Then it’s build your own with toppings like tandoori onions, roasted Fresno chiles, spicy pepperoni, chicken tikka, or kadai paneer with onions, green bell peppers, tomatoes, and a spice mixture of coriander seeds and dry red chiles. Or, try one of two house constructed pies like the green chutney pizza with a kasoori methi/fenugreek and tomato sauce, mozzarella, green chile chutney, with crunchy masala.
Naran secured a restored, vintage 1940s soda fountain and placed it in the bar with reimagined South Asian sodas and floats in bamboo glasses. That resulted in soft serve with cookies and cardamom. Draft beer, wine, and cocktails like Pijja’s chai whiskey sour or the daiquiri rework with rum, Rooh Afza drink, tamarind, spices, and lime.
The new Pijja Palace at 2711 Sunset Boulevard has indoor seating, and designer Casandra Smith’s transformation of the former medical foot clinic is something to witness. Walk-ins are available now, though reservations will be available starting Monday via Resy.