Clay Oven

4.9
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725 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Indian
The cuisine by our James Beard-recognized Executive Chef Geeta Bansal 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 725 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.9based on recent ratings
4.9
food
4.9
service
4.7
ambience
4.7
value
Noise · Quiet
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JM
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was excellent and so was service. Got much more than I expected when I saw the location in a small strip mall, but was pleasantly surprised. Will definitely go again.

M
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Clay Oven is an absolute gem. The food, wine, and beer are spectacular. A small, family run restaurant that demonstrates perfection in every way.

MD
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food was amazing and the service phenomena1! It’s the kind of food that transports you to a beautiful place.

R
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is always on point at Clay Oven. It's definitely one of the best Indian food in Orange County. Everything is made fresh including their spices which they roast and grind on site. The combination of fresh spices and ingredients gives their dishes a wonderful aroma and flavor profile. I especially like their vegetarian dishes. I haven't tried a vegetarian dish that I didn't like there. Everything is delicious.

v
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The good was amazing! Wait staff very pleasant, informative and attentive!

RL
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always the food here is amazing in this hidden Orange County gem. Rare finds and delicious menu. Curries are to die for, made with time and care, proper kari! I really think this would be pushing 1 Michelin star quality. Very thoughtful and good wine list also.

c
Orange County
118 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

My wife and I used to eat here in the past. Came back to test the food again and tonight did not disappoint. The Samosas with goat cheese was my favorite with the slightly sweat chutney was a very good way to start. The chicken tikka masala sauce I thought initially was too rich but it seemed to grow on my taste buds after slowly trying it. My only issue would be that the restaurant did not offer any salads. Otherwise we enjoyed our dinner and the service was fairly good although it appeared they were short on waiters.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome service and fabulous food. This is the best Indian restaurant outside of London. We love Tarum and his father’s hospitality.
They make us feel like we are eating at home with family

D
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and people!

K
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great, inventive Indian cuisine. It’s the best Indian I have had in Orange County in 5 years. Lots of wonderful choices and all made well. Our party sampled the goat, duck, chicken, antelope, swordfish, wild pork, sourdough naan, tandoori roti, and the delicious saag paneer and brussel sprout veggies. Will be going back soon.

R
Orange County
21 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of my favorite restaurants in Orange County. Amazing Indian food every time I go there. Everything is excellent. The staff and owner are all super-friendly and always strive to make sure that our order is made properly.

W
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Seriously one of the best Indian meals I have had! The menu isn't just your usual chicken tikka masala and the like. Instead it's a delight to read with use of rabbit, wild boar, fresh fish (and enough veggie options), and the flavors are exquisite. We were assisted by the manager/somm, and the drink list is nicely curated, complimenting the food very well. Service was excellent and I will definitely be heading back soon!

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Superb and delicately flavored food and superb service as well. Plus the noise level is low and the ambience excellent! You can always count on quality. I would love it if they were open a little later.

OT
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Curry was refined. Every dish was superb and we were only sad we didn’t have room to try more. Just great Indian food that is cooked well. Goat curry was my favorite.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Myself and my friend had another excellent meal here. Exceptional food and service as always! Thank you!

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Clay Oven is a great local restaurant with a very special feel. Very exotic contemporary menu, minimal but delicious, with interesting side orders. Can be busy on the weekend so would recommend booking.

DW
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner there. The beer menu was endless and the food extremely good.

OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful personalized service from the usual staff and the food is award winning! Consistently great! Make sure to try the desert!

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great experience here! Excellent service, delicious food, and quiet, pleasant atmosphere. They really went above and beyond to meet my dietary needs, which I so appreciated. We will definitely be coming back!

CD
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant is a gem!
Superb food and unbelievable service! 10 out of 10 rating.

LS
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Some of the best food in the OC, let alone the best Indian cuisine. Wild boar blew my mind. Host was nice enough to show me some of the unique fresh chilies they grow. We had dinner here with a friend who grew up in India and he said that it reminded him of home, but better.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have been meaning to try Clay Oven for some time from Instagram and so glad we finally did! The food and service was incredible and we enjoyed our meal immensely. Feta Naan was brilliant and the curries were all flavorful and unique. Do yourself a favor and ask the Somm/Host for beer recommendations from his secret list, got a really great IPA from Sweden. A total hidden gem! We are looking forward to our next visit!

BG
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this warm family-owned and -operated restaurant! I've been going there for years for the great food and pleasant ambiance, but it's also the kind of place where the owners are actually on-site, welcoming patrons, offering suggestions, dropping by to chat for a moment. I don't go there so often that I'd expect to be remembered; but once I was amazed when the owner pointed out to me the table where I had sat on my previous visit, some months earlier. This kind of owner involvement and individual service is almost unknown in Irvine, so Clay Oven is really special!

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was my third visit and each time my guest or guests said it was the best Indian food they ever had in their lives. It’s a do not miss. The staff is so lovely and courteous and the food is unusual complex and delicious.

FH
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went for lunch. Fantastic restaurant with authentic homemade yet elegant dishes. Some traditional Indian dishes and some with a twist. Fresh food and fresh spices, so tasty. Lovely atmosphere, helpful staff. True family business which makes a huge difference to the overall experience. (Asked for Peshwari naan, was homemade & the best I’ve had).

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best local Indian food I've had in years! Much more refined than your average curry house, super fresh, high quality ingredients which you can actually taste as they're not drowned in chili. Finally a place to take my non-Indian friends to and not be embarrased. Nothing is oily and swimming in fat. Amazing meat selection, with the antelope being the favorite. Chicken tikka was quite good as well. My friends were marvelling at the tenderness of the meat and the perfect combination of spices and flavors. Highly recommended!

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very friendly staff and exceptional food! Good range of both vegetarian and other dishes made with interesting ingredients. The flavors were excellent and varied - would strongly recommend a visit.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place and this family

s
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Exceptional food! The best Indian cuisine in Orange County! I love the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Fish Curry and all the vegetables from the cauliflower to the brussels sprouts to the eggplant.

OT
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are very lucky that Clay Oven is a ten minute walk away from our house, because the food is constantly very good. We used just go and get a table , but it is now very busy on weekends so we book a table. Very friendly staff and service even when the restaurant is packed. Food is outstanding and filling!

OT
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

So yummy!!!!

SP
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food as always and a grest beer list too. Hangar steak was unlike any other steak I've ever had, totally unique. Curries were great, favorite was the rabbit. Actually liked the goat, usually not a fan elsewhere. Higher end and price but can taste the quality. Highly recommended.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious and interesting food with friendly efficient service. Our favorites were the duck vindaloo and the wild boar. Look forward to returning soon. A great experience.

DN
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience2

Was very disappointed in the quantity of food served versus the price. The food wasn't as up to par as I expected. The waiter, owner was very pleasant. Food was brought out one dish at a time which caused the other dishes to be cooled. Rice was brought out until the very end. It was a big inconvenience.

s
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As usual, we were greeted warmly and seated promptly. Having tasted the avocado appetizer two
weeks earlier, I ordered them again for the entire table. I even order the same meal - chicken tajine - because the fresh figs were still available. I can't believe how Taurin remembers the wine we like from not that many visits, but he does.

OT
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food was better than I expected, I have been following them on insta for almost a year, and dreaming about the food and it exceeded my expectations.. The interior was sparse but warm and inviting, the owner spent time going over the menu and items, very friendly but not hovering

It was a great night!!!

Go and see for yourself.. You will not be disappointed

OT
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I chose Clay Oven for a celebratory lunch, in a quiet, friendly, and elegant space. We had the absolutely delicious tandoori swordfish and the eggplant (from the dinner menu, but both available at lunch on request, at least that day) and enhanced by a delicious cilantro/mint chutney. Tarun took wonderful warm care of us.

RL
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Top quality food for very reasonable prices with great service.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is an updated review. There was an issue that caused my cancellation through OpenTable not to go through and caused some confusion. Praveen reached out to me personally and was very professional in his response and clearing up the confusion. I can tell he very much cares about the business and his customers.

JM
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Clay Oven IMHO is some of the best food in Orange County. Tonight we had the hanger steak. It was delicious.

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