Clay Oven

4.8
685 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Indian
The cuisine at the Clay Oven is about transforming tradition and old techniques while retaining the flavor profile to make them relevant to the present times and lifestyle. Food progresses and changes and we consistently strive to move Indian cuisine forward into the present. For the past 35 years we have attempted to modernize our dishes while keeping the Ayurvedic principles intact. Our menus are tied to the seasons and what is growing around us. We serve a large selection of game including venison, wild boar, rabbit, duck, antelope, quail, and elk, all easily paired with wine and beer selected by our Certified Sommelier (CMS). Fruits and vegetables in season appear alongside our organic herbs grown in our own garden. There is no fusion of cuisines, just a fun and creative Indian experience created for our guests.
What 685 People Are Saying
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4.8based on recent ratings
4.9
food
4.8
service
4.7
ambience
4.6
value
Noise · Quiet
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BM
Los Angeles
31 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took another newbie here on Tuesday night after a round of golf and had a great meal! Started with the roasted avocado, then ordered enough for my playing partner and myself....with plenty of leftovers for our brides! Chicken Tikka Marsala, Tandoori Ribs, the new (not so secret) off- menu marinated Hanger steak, and of course, Naan! As always, the Clay Oven team delivered on amazing flavors and taste! Thanks Team!

s
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Although we do not eat here as often as we like (dreaded SoCal traffic), we are always greeted as though we had just been there last week. I had planned to have some of their wonderful vegetable entrees, but then I saw that the specials menu had chicken tikka masala. Yes it is on the regular menu, but in summer it is made with fresh figs and grapes from the chef's own garden. The wine suggestions from the maitre de' who is also a master sommelier are spot on. My husband decided to go with his favorite - a braised lamb shank. Desserts, as always were delicious. But the WOW of the evening was the roasted (in a clay oven) avocado with pita garlic paste. YUM!!!!!

E
Orange County
48 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I have been to Clay Oven maybe three or four times. It is our go to restaurant for Indian food. This restaurant is not generic Indian, but more of a gourmet experience. The atmosphere is quiet which we so much appreciate. I had the lamb chops which were outstanding, very tender, and the spices were right on. My husband had the lamb shank, absolutely wonderful and melt in the mouth. I really can't remember a better meal at a restaurant! Service was outstanding.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very enjoyable. I try to eat "good" Indian food every time I’m in the US from the UK and this one didn’t let me down. Great food, great service. Perfect! 👍

SG
Central Texas
25 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We are visiting and thankful to return again. Amazing family owned business. Anything on the special menu is worth trying. Good wine selection. Hope to make it back next year.

OT
Orange County
8 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

The owner told me to shut up! Why because I asked a large group of 18 women to be quiet as I could not even hear my dining partner speak to me from the loud and rude party. And when I asked them to talk lower they become louder and then the owner comes out and tells me not to threaten them. How dare he say this to me as they should have been the one he talked to. This owner only wants money. The other small group next to me left without ordering and also complain to the owner and he doesn’t do anything to quiet the large group down. The owner also cheats with very small portions of dishes and charges $25 or more for a 1/2 size meal that should cost $10 dollars. This owner is no good and cheating customers. I will never go back to this place after this rude owner treated me with disrespect. I suggest you should review your video of your restaurant again and ask yourself why the other customers left your restaurant after what you said to me for your own recollection as to what really happened. Stop the lies and cover up.

Clay Oven
Responded on August 1, 2019

Mr. Black, you threatened a group of women with physical violence. I never said "shut up", you however yelled throughout the entire restaurant multiple times. I simply asked you not to threaten other guests. My mistake as I should have asked you to leave. The table behind you left because they were uncomfortable sitting next to you, as the lady came in the back to tell me. I do in fact have the entire night on camera, as does the group you threatened. Do not return to our establishment.

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OT
Austin
5 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We made a last minute late reservation and our table was ready when we got there. Our server is the son in the family who owns the restaurant and he could not have been a more warm, funny and accommodating person. The menu has some favorite staples as well as some mouthwatering unique dishes. The wine list is good but the beer list is extensive and well crafted! The food was all delicious. The meats cooked just right, fresh spices and comforting. We will definitely be back!

BM
Los Angeles
32 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Clay Oven never disappoints..Chef Geeta, Praveen and Tarun always provide a great dining adventure, with old favorites (Tandoori Ribs!) and new adventures (Flank Steak Special). We continue to bring friends here who have yet have-not yet experienced Clay Oven and help break the stereo-type of what Indian food can be. Tonight was no exception....Tandori Ribs falling off the bone, Chicken Tikka Marsala (in house sauce which you can purchase for take home use!), Lamb Roganjosh & Turmeric Tandoori Chicken...and don't forget the naan!
We worried that we may have over sold how great the dining is, but our friends became believers right away!
My only advice for a more rewarding experience is for diners to carpool or Uber, as parking can be dicey on weekend nights, because of the numerous number of popular dining places in this location.

JE
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very impressed with this place. Unusual mess mixed with old standards. Started w goat cheese samosa. Friend who “ doesn’t like goat cheese” gobbled it up. 2 of us got chicken tikka masala ( yum - although more tomato than cream which we thought was good thing fur flavor but will look less like what you get at a “ typical” Westernized Indian restaurant. Husband had wild boar and lived it. Good portion sizes. Sourdough naan - yes please! Server was knowledgeable, opinionated in a good way - the way that helps you make a good choice. Good wine choices which are often lacking at Indian restaurants. Would def travel the 30 minutes we did to eat here again. Just a heads up tho if u r sensitive to smells, there is a smoky scent to the air and it permeates clothes.

MT
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was good. Food was good. Everything exceeded expectations. Would go again and would recommend

DR
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We really enjoyed our meal, the most delicious baby back ribs, we loved them.
Everything we ordered was fantastic! Highly recommend this tasty place. Not at all the typical SoCal Indian food but awesome!

OT
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was incredible. After a week of eating less-than-appetizing food throughout Orange County, the robust seasoning and delicious flavors of Clay Oven were a welcome reprieve. The minced mergues lamb naan was incredible. The lamb shank and the mango coconut shrimp were also just incredible. The sourdough naan was hot and fluffy and perfect. This was easily the best meal we had in OC—by leaps and bounds!

CD
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent ambiance and food. Every single dish was perfectly spiced and the meat precisely cooked. This is a very hard thing to do with Indian cuisine where one tends to err on over-spicing the food. We had a wonderful experience and will definitely be back.

PS: Do not leave without trying the kulfi dessert!

WH
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Usually wary of restaurants I find on Instagram as I have had good to mediocre experiences at such places, but Clay Oven surprised me completely. Very different Indian cuisine from the typical places. Great selection of animals from pork to antelope, expertly cooked. Fine dining at fine prices. Apparently they have been here for a long time and it is easy to see why though I have somehow overlooked it over the years. Will be returning soon with friends.

OT
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic place. Super creative food. The lamb naan, duck, chilean sea bass and wild boar were all amazing. Very welcome and friendly, helpful staff throughout the evening. Really excellent service. Ambience is spot-on too, not too noisy, good lighting, good spacing of tables. Manager is a lovely chap who arranged me a beer "pairing" throughout the night and some bottles to go at the end, really unique stuff.

TP
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Seriously good food - the best Indian cuisine I've ever had. A great menu with a really good wine list, and all excellent value for money given just how good and unique the food was. Service was also relaxed, friendly and very knowledgeable.

OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always consistent and great service.

OT
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have eaten many times at Clay Oven over the last 35 years and we have never, ever, been disappointed. The food is Indian but with a diversity, creativeness and playfulness that is rare to find in any restaurant. Clay Oven specializes in game meats like antelope and boar and they are prepared with wonderful spices and precision in the tandoori oven, making them surprisingly tender and flavorful. We are just so grateful to have the world class, award winning cuisine of chef Geeta Bansal at a restaurant in our neighborhood. Her husband Praveen and son Tarun are in the kitchen and the house making your overall dining experience superb. Not to be overlooked are the beers and wines which are selected by Tarun as a perfect compliment to your dinner or lunch. Can’t say enough good things about Clay Oven. A fabulous restaurant!

OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Don’t mistake this for an inexpensive dhaba shop. This is haute cuisine, that happens to specialize in Indian food. Honestly, my best experience, ever, in an Indian restaurant. I have only redundant superlatives to express how good this place is. A special evening and thanks to all.

EE
1 review
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very fine meal, and Clay Oven is a very fine restaurant these days (we first went there over 30 years ago). The food is thoughtful and carefully cooked and well presented. The waiting staff are excellent. It is probably the best restaurant in the area, and there is some competition. A wonderful evening out.

HB
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is not a very traditional Indian restaurant. It’s an Indian restaurant with modernized touch . Their hospitality at its best . The food taste is still lingering on my tongue. The best sea bass I have ever had in my life and their kulfi is simple yet to die for. I can’t atop raving about the food. Ambience is classy and comfy . I would definitely go here again.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our second visit to this totally different Indian restaurant. All the food tastes freshly cooked and a couple of the starters were outstanding. The lamb shank dish (I cant remember its name) and the antelope were brilliant. Excellent service to boot!

From the outside you wouldn’t imagine that such great food would be presented inside. It’s a small local restaurant but with wonderful food.

ML
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 2

$70 meal for 2 very little bowls of chicken that was dried and tough.

OT
1 review
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is really really good. I have been searching Orange County for flavorful curry and I finally found it! The naans were amazing, the curries, the staff was very helpful about food allergies. FYI, most of the menu is gluten free and dairy free, you just have to ask which items.

EO
Orange County
66 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

First time here - excellent food. Generally, not Indian food you'll find elsewhere - very good variation on traditional dishes. I really enjoyed the food and would strongly recommend to anyone. I'll be back to try other dishes. This is an unassuming place hidden in a strip mall. Don't let looks mislead you - this place has excellent food. Not a 'date' place or a place to be seen - just a place for really good food.

OT
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely wonderful Indian restaurant.. Went there for my birthday as a treat with my husband and the food was incredible. I had an amazing rabbit dish and my husband had some perfectly cooked prawns. Well worth it. Very friendly staff as well I will definitely go back.

F
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The whole package every time! Food and Service always on point.

LS
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was an exceptional dining experience — each bite was absolute perfection. We are so happy to have chosen Clay Oven to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. The only downside was that we were too full from dinner to really enjoy the dessert they provided. Next time for sure!

s
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service. So glad we were adventurous and tried the antelope Tandoori! Delicious and authentic. Healthy and fresh.

KI
1 review
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The lamb chops are unbelievable - well worth the price.

KD
1 review
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This has long been my favorite restaurant in Orange County. As usual, the atmosphere was quiet but inviting. The food was incredible, with the Chicken Tikka Masala and Kerala Shrimp being particular standouts.

GJ
1 review
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, interesting menu and good atmosphere. Had a duck curry that was outstanding!

SP
Orange County
1 review
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really cool and different. Manager/host was friendly and funny and made great recs on food and drinks. Their spicy is SPICY so be careful, ask for hot sauce on the side. Currys were full of flavor. Definitely recommend!

CW
Orange County
1 review
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience: delicious food, excellent service.

J
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There is nothing about the evening I would have changed. The setting, service and food were all absolutely stunning and can't rate this place highly enough. If you are fan of Indian cuisine and family-run businesses then you have to try this beautiful, unassuming restaurant set in an nondescript shopping center.

BP
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really loved it. The menu felt fresh and modern but with a number of "classic" dishes which people go back to order. Relaxed atmosphere but also efficient. Food arrived in a timely manner and the staff was always around and on hand. Antelope was to die for. Quick with the bill but didn't push us to leave. Really excellent.

CW
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to try Clay Oven... amazing! Every dish we had was mouthwatering and had really authentic flavors. It's good to have Indian food in the area that is not the run of the mill. Friendly and helpful staff.

R
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was an outstanding taste of India taken to a whole new level.

E
Orange County
10 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently the most AMAZING food ever!

DB
Orange County
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Clay Oven has been reliably producing great Indian food for years. They supplement the usual northern Indian menu with inventive fusion food like lamb shank and tandoori swordfish. They also have an excellent list of unusual beers that pair well with their food.

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