3764 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA

L.A. isn't all coke-fueled power lunching, inscrutable mind games, and fully-armed road rage, you know. It's also an endless series of metaphysical casting couches, inherited ennui, and psychotic prize fights you're not always even aware you're participating in!

L.A.: Birthplace Of The Panic Attack!

Sometimes you need the equivalent of an oil change for your soul. A chance to, as the old adage says, slide your retractable coke-nail back in, if just for one brief moment.

On an unassuming side street just off Venice, you'll find the Krishna Temple—an oasis amid the literal and figurative grime of this town—and Govinda's, their charming restaurant. Here, you can nourish your body and spirit, ground yourself, and remember how simple life actually still is.

Or if you're me, just stuff your damn stomach like the vegetarian you aren't!

Govinda's dining room

Now, I'm not saying you couldn't have a coke-fueled power lunch here, but in all respects, Govinda's is the very definition of humble. It's an old, but clean space with functional seating, and an ample vegetarian buffet offering salads and hot foods that change out daily.

The customers here range from seemingly enlightened Krishna devoteés, to burned-out, barefooted seekers, to stereotypical type-A execs from nearby Sony Studios.

One time I saw John Slattery here! But you know what they say … Slattery will get lunch anywhere!

The sincerest form of Slattery

For about $10 (you can pay for all-you-can-eat, or by the weight of what you select), you can get your fill of whatever it is that pleases you.


The salad side has everything you'd expect, while the hot side typically offers dal, soup, pasta, stir-fries, that sort of thing. I can't say anything here is ever going to give you a Meg Ryan-style orgasm (the premise of that scene was how much she liked the food, right?), but it's always tasty and, more importantly, honest.


I usually get a big plate of salad with some marinated tofu, a bowl of lentils or whatever, and sometimes even a cookie. There's usually a copy or three of The Higher Taste laying about to peruse or purchase (via donation)—it's a good veg cookbook put out by the Krishnas with blurbs from the likes of George Harrison, who apparently would eat here when he was in L.A.

Just take Blue Jay Doheny to Robertson to Venice to Watseka

Well, if this place is good enough for ol' Roger Sterling and "The Most-Stabbed Beatle" (not to be confused with George Martin, "The Fifth Most-Stabbed Beatle"), it's good enough for me! Say, I wonder if George's L.A. cocaine supplier lived anywhere nearby … mine's all the way in goddamned Van Nuys.

Review by Ray-Ray Sugarleonard, June 2009