HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice
TELL US

Best Indian food

b
BRLA Aug 9, 2003 11:54 AM

Where the best Indian restaurant in Philly?

  1. s
    schpsychman Aug 10, 2003 11:18 AM

    The best Indian food I've had is NOT in Philly but is at Khajuraho in Ardmore off of Lancaster Ave. That being said, in Philly I think that Shivnanda (between Front and 2nd on Chestnut in Olde City) is good as is Cafe Spice. There are a few in University City that are supposedly good as well, once tried Tandoor India but was not that impressed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: schpsychman
      QueenB Mar 15, 2007 04:19 PM

      Schpsychman, I know you live in or near Lansdale. I have to ask...have you tried the Indian food at the Kwik-Mart (I think that's what its called) on Broad Street?

      The reason I ask is that I used to live in the area and order food from there frequently. It was the best (better than Sultan) Indian in the area and dirt cheap. You couldn't eat there, it was strictly take out. Now, a couple of years ago they redid their kitchen and I wondered if it was the same.

      If you've tried it, tell me your opinions. If not, can I strongly encourage you to go over there and check it out? Because if it's still good, I'm hitting it up when I head home next.

    2. j
      jaime Aug 11, 2003 02:39 AM

      an Indian restaurant that has been reccommened to me over and over is Greater India in Lansdale(rt 63 Bell Run Plaza). I work at a hotel in Lansdale that serves mainly Merck Pharmaceuticals clientele, so we get a lot of foriegn visitors. Invariably, the guests from India and Asia tell us how great this place is, and have even brought back dishes for the staff(I work overnight, so i am not there when most people return from dinner, so i have never been the recipient of such food gifts). I want to try it, and intend to soon. I am a vegetarian and all the raves for this restaurant have been about meat dishes, but their menu shows a lot of options for me, as well as carnivores. Their website is: www.greaterindiafinedining.com

      8 Replies
      1. re: jaime
        p
        Persephone Aug 12, 2003 05:46 PM

        Wow, that surpises me. I have not been there, but have only heard awful things about Greater India, from several sources. I mean really very bad reviews all around. All of those comments are the reason we have not been there.

        In the next shopping center over however, is our favorite Indian restaurant, Sultan. We love it, and the owners are wonderful. We used to frequent Shivnanda, and still thinks it's great, but haven't gone as frequently since we discovered Sultan as it is much much to home.

        We have been to Khajuraho in Ardmore once, fairly recently, and it was very good. But, I found the "vibe" odd, and service lacking, it was early, so maybe that's why. They also lost a lot of points with me when our leftovers were packed in the kind styrofoam containers you might get a sandwich packed in and everything leaked - it was a mess. Since one of the things I love about Indian restaurants is ordering more than we need in order to taste more things and have a great lunch the next day, that was very annoying and disappointing. But, I know a lot of people think this is the best in the area, and I cannot argue about the food being very good.

        I can't think of the name of the one in Newtown, but we weren't thrilled. We have friends that go there often and love it though, and they also love Cafe Spice. We've not been to Cafe Spice because if we are in that neighborhood we'd rather go to Shivnanda, that is my favorite in the city. My personal pick for best in Philadelphia area is definitely Sultan in Lansdale.

        1. re: Persephone
          b
          Bala Aug 23, 2003 07:19 PM

          This has always perplexed me.

          I find Sultan OK.

          Greater India is roughly the same but has less oil and salt in its food.
          But for whatever reason a lot of folks have been on this SUltan trip. The Sultan buffet is especially bad

          1. re: Bala
            p
            Persephone Aug 27, 2003 02:03 PM

            Well, different strokes I guess. I've only had the Sultan buffet once, and was not particularly impressed - but I am not a big fan of buffets anyway. I don't find the Sultan's food particularly oily or salty - I cannot compare Greater India as I have not been due to the negative reviews I have heard from many people.

            1. re: Persephone
              f
              FelafelBoy Nov 19, 2006 03:04 AM

              I recently took a trip to North Wales, PA, where I stopped by Sultan and Greater India. I viewed the setting of Greater India
              and the interior was very nice - small and very intimate.
              The place had a very romantic and warm feel to it due to its
              size and decor. The aroma coming from the post-lunch serving was very pleasant.

              There have not been any recent postings/reviews of these restaurants in recent times. We Indian restaurant lovers in the Philly area
              would appreciate any patrons of these restaurants posting current
              reviews of these establishments. Past posts are dated from a few years ago. Places change and improve.

              I'd like to believe that Greater India is a good place to eat
              at. The host was very hospitable and the place looked very inviting.

              North Wales is not near me, but if the servings at this place are very good, it may be worth a special trip to enjoy their food.
              If I lived nearby, I wouldn't need to "justify" the longer drive.

              In other words, I wonder what these places offer that I can't
              get at Indian restaurants closer to where I live in the KOP/Wayne/Malvern area. I think I did see that one or both of
              these restaurants make their own ice cream.

              I think Greater India uses a chicken broth base for its
              Mulligtawney soup. My understanding is that it is used
              as the typical base for that soup, but I have been to
              restaurants that make a vegetarian version of it.

          2. re: Persephone
            x
            xiaohui Mar 8, 2007 10:16 PM

            I went to the Sultan & saw cockroaches! will not go back, but LOVE Greater India more & more with each visit! and really enjoy taking friends to the daily buffet

            1. re: Persephone
              saturninus Mar 14, 2007 06:02 AM

              I am also not a fan of Khajuraho. I find it overpriced, dirty and the staff are rude.

              1. re: saturninus
                p
                pamd Mar 14, 2007 11:31 AM

                The strangest thing happened when I was there once....a person came in for take out during the buffet lunch time. They took the container & went to the buffet & filled it- I guess they have a policy of put as much as you can in a container for the buffet price? Well, the person took ALL the chicken out of the dish, leaving none for the customers & the staff just watched, as us dine in customers were left waiting.

                Do any others let you carry out the buffet?

                1. re: pamd
                  f
                  FelafelBoy Mar 16, 2007 12:29 AM

                  I have never been to an Indian restaurant that offers a lunch buffet and take out where a person cannot come in and fill up his bucket. Removing all the chicken and leaving none for other dine-in customers is a matter for the restaurant to address, in my opinion, not for the person filling up for take-out.

                  That's one of the problems with these buffets. If you get such a person or people who empty the trays at one take, the rest of the customers are left hanging unless the restaurant plans for a quick refill.

                  I know everyone, be it a large group of individuals or a large family have as much right as anyone else to use a restaurant at a time of their choosing as anyone else, but when a large group enters a restaurant for the lunch buffet, the "larger withdrawal" per visit by such a group leaves the food trays emptier much sooner than the restaurant may anticipate, resulting in a longer period of time for customers in the restaurant to get their helping due to the sudden greater demand which depletes the food supply faster than would normally occur.

                  One example of this happened to me a few weeks ago as I was having my "appetizers" before I began to fill up my plate with the main courses at the lunch buffet. I heard the host of the restaurant welcome new visitors with the question, "14?" Yes, a very large family was now about to enjoy themselves to the buffet. When fourteen people suddenly hit the buffet line at one time at these Indian restaurants, the servers and manager should be aware of the consequence of such a larger demand on the food supply and take appropriate action. Some don't and the trays take some time before they get refilled if at all. If this ever happened at Royal India or Gateway to India, in my experience, you wouldn't see any refill. At Taste of India and Himalayn the food gets refilled.

                  I don't know how it is at other Indian restaurants in this area that do lunch buffets.

          3. d
            David Aug 11, 2003 08:33 AM

            I have liked Cafe Spice for an alternative take on Indian food, but for more traditional Indian food I loved Shivnanda.

            1. -
              --susan Aug 11, 2003 07:56 PM

              I go to the lunch buffet at Darbar (4th and Market) often to fulfil my Indian cravings. Nice variety of dishes, very nice owners, very fresh food. My only complaint is that I find it a little on the mild side.

              3 Replies
              1. re: --susan
                s
                Susan H Aug 12, 2003 09:56 AM

                When we drove by 3d and Market the other day, it looked as if Darbar is gone.

                1. re: Susan H
                  h
                  Henry Aug 13, 2003 08:36 AM

                  Nope, it's still there and still as shady as ever. I find that the food is good, but as the previous poster said, somewhat mild.

                  1. re: Henry
                    -
                    --susan Aug 13, 2003 10:05 AM

                    I do find that when I order from them for delivery that they are very accomodating with the level of heat. Their medium is usually pretty good for me. I can't really fault them for making the buffet pretty mild -- at least they usually have one dish that's on the...hot side of mild?...for the non-newbies and not-spice-shy. Also, they are willing to deliver to south Philly -- a lot of the places based in West Philly don't.

              2. m
                Mike Aug 11, 2003 10:15 PM

                Minar Palace at 16th and Sansom has really good food at half the price of Cafe Spice and Shivnanda. And they deliver.

                And I've gotta throw this out there - I work with an Indian guy who has been to all of the restaurants. He swears that Rangoon's (Burmese) food is closer to his regional cuisine than any of the Indian restaurants.

                1. j
                  jayhawk Aug 12, 2003 09:11 PM

                  i'm a big fan of New Dehli, between 40th/41st on Chestnut, near Penn. a friend whose family is from India recommended it. i tend to like the items off the menu more than those on the buffet, but the buffet is a good deal. (i think for dinner it's $9 for the buffet, which also includes salad bar, beverage and dessert.) i also get delivery from them at least every two weeks for groups ranging from three to eight people. in three years, they've never messed up an order. plus, they deliver way outside the Penn neighborhood.

                  Link: http://www.newdelhiweb.com/

                  1. p
                    Pipsqueak Aug 13, 2003 11:26 AM

                    Got take out from Shivnanda yesterday. I didn't like anything! I was really surprised because a friend said it was the best. For convenience I go to New Delhi, but if I want really good Indian I go to Kharaxxxx in Ardmore (mentioned in this thread).

                    1. g
                      gaynphilly Sep 12, 2003 08:51 AM

                      I'm not an expert on Indian food, but my partner was born in Delhi, and he and his Indian friends cannot stop talking about the food at Cafe Spice. The most authentic tasting food outside of India, is the comment I most often hear. Plus, it doesn't have the atmosphere of a Woolworth's lunch counter.

                      1. gina Nov 19, 2006 06:17 AM

                        I really have no idea if it's "the best" Indian food, but I love Karma on Chestnut, between Front and 2nd Sts. Great spices, spiciness, textures and overall quality. Much more interesting than Cafe Spice, I think.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gina
                          b
                          brescd01 Nov 19, 2006 11:22 AM

                          I think Karma is good, but it is exclusively Northern Indian food. For better variety, try Kashmir Garden in Northeast Philadelphia. They have a large southern menu though their Kerala specialty dishes have been taken off the menu since they changed ownership. Good southern food is quite different from northern, so in that sense it is quite an experience. I always have the feeling thought that there is yet greater variety and authenticity, and I have to make the journey to Edison to find it...

                        2. s
                          Schpsychman Mar 9, 2007 05:39 AM

                          I have eaten at MANY Indian restaurants in the Philadelphai region but am in no way an expert on the cuisine. I am simply dumbfounded that people actually like Greater India in North Wales. We are huge fans of Sultan and, after they moved from 5-points to their current location and along came Greater India we decided to give the latter a try...VERY disappointing and not even close. Recently, (a few years since our last visit) we decided to give it another chance with the same results. It was consistent with our first visit in that it was very disappointing. We will not waste our time there. Persephone, whom I believe I know from group dinners we've had (one at Sultan) don;t waste your money at Greater India.

                          I also like Aman's in Norriton. Good samosa's but still a step below Sultan. Khajuraho is very good and I do like Karma in the city as well. I've been to Tandoor in University City and was disappointed. I NEED to get to the places in KoP and try them because I keep hearing FelafelBoy rave about them (Taste of India right?). Not been to Cafe Spice mainly because it seems a little pricey and I really like to BYOB when I can at Indian restaurants. From what I understand, THE place to try Indian food is in the Edison NJ area. Also, been to Rangoon and enjoyed the food a lot.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Schpsychman
                            f
                            FelafelBoy Mar 16, 2007 12:19 AM

                            Schpsychman - yes, the Indian restaurant I recommend in the western suburbs, at least for the lunch buffet, and particularly on the weekend, is Taste of India.

                            To a lesser extent, but still worth eating at for the lunch buffet (for places in the western suburbs) include Himalayn, Gateway to India, and Royal India (beware of the time you go to Royal India - they do not replace their trays of food other than rice and naan - I have been there at 12:20 when they ran out of some food and never replaced it. Been there once when they ran out of chicken at an early time and never refilled for it. They get fewer people eating at that restaurant for lunch than the other places and therefore make a smaller quantity of food. Ditto with Gateway to India, but they get an even smaller crowd, so you don't have to be as concerned as much. Taste of India always refills. Beware of the Thursday and Friday noon crowds. It can be a zoo inside.)

                          2. s
                            Steinfilled Mar 9, 2007 09:02 AM

                            Does anyone have any idea of when or where Minar Palace might be re-opening?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Steinfilled
                              l
                              lalaocean Mar 13, 2007 05:39 PM

                              ok, I just posted same question. Either way I just found 2 links by typing Minar palace into google. One said he was the son of the owner and they are dilligently trying to find a location but because of the prices and lack of open space it has become hard to do so.If you have any luck, let me know since I have moved out of the area but will be back occasionally for their food, and my family as well :)

                            2. l
                              lalaocean Mar 13, 2007 05:32 PM

                              OK, here's the deal. If you like South Indian go to Udippi Dosa House in Bensalem, try their lunch buffet and Wednesday night chaat night. If you like North indian, go to Mauraya which is also in Bensalem, again try lunch buffet. Sitar is also a good place to eat. Besides that I don't like many of the Indian restaurants in Philly. If you don't know whether you like South or North, try them both, there are dishes from either that you may enjoy. And buffets are the best way to find out. But, I forgot to mention that Udippi Dosa is all vegetarian so if you're big on meat you will probably not want to try that.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lalaocean
                                j
                                jkml May 11, 2007 01:27 PM

                                As we moved to the area a year and a half ago from the Chicago area, we are still finding restaurants here, and appreciate the suggestions everyone on the site is giving. We like to find smaller, less expensive ethnic restaurants, especially near our home in Yardley, and have found them a little hard to find. We have enjoyed The Oven on Street in Bensalem, especially for lunch buffet and carry out, as I have three teenage boys. Usually good, clean, although occassionally variable buffet, maybe a different chef. We walked in Mauraya, but it smelled like old oil on that day, and did not look especially clean. We do not often do this, but we did leave without trying their food. We have also recently tried lunch at Cafe Bombay in Bristol borough on Mill. Although the menu was a dinner menu, they serve lunch portions with reduced prices, and include rice and naan. My son and I were very pleased with the vegetarian dish and chicken tikka masala that we chose (although we requested milder spices than usual due to my son's recent illness). The owner made very certain he understood how spicy we wanted it, and when we were done, had a very nice conversation about spices and protein in Indian food. It was a quiet (although we were there about 1:30 on a weekday), friendly, small, and clean place. Good luck finding great places,

                              2. s
                                Schpsychman Mar 14, 2007 11:22 AM

                                I also like An Indian Affair in Manayunk. A little pricey but nice atmosphere and good food.

                                1. a
                                  anita7707 Mar 15, 2007 11:54 AM

                                  I found a good Indian restaurant the other day - Lovash on South St, around 4th. Really good buffet, inexpensive and the menu looked very good too. Also tried the New Samosa at 13th & Walnut. Vegetarian. Good, but not spicy enough for me.

                                  1. grusvag Mar 15, 2007 12:53 PM

                                    I've only just started really craving Indian food and have only tried a few places but we just learned about The Tiffin Store at 7th and Girard. Not the greatest neighborhood and the dining room is tiny without a ton of atmosphere but the food is AMAZING! Great prices and by far the best Indian I've had. It's our new favorite. I'm in the process of trying everything on the menu. You have got to check this place out and if you're lucky enough to live in their delivery area... well, you get the idea.

                                    Tiffin Store
                                    710 W. Girard Avenue
                                    Philadelphia, PA 19123
                                    Telephone: 215.922.1297
                                    Fax: 215.922.1567
                                    Email: tiffin@tiffin.com
                                    https://www.tiffin.com/
                                    Mon - Friday: 11:30AM to 9:00PM
                                    Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 9PM

                                    1. f
                                      FelafelBoy Mar 16, 2007 12:18 AM

                                      This post was positioned incorrectly and I was unable to delete the post.
                                      Please disregard this post here!

                                      1. c
                                        cherknight Jul 2, 2008 07:49 PM

                                        I must add a more recent post to this discussion. We have always enjoyed Greater India in Lansdale, primarily because the owner was kid-friendly and the buffet was a great deal. But now they are under new management, and the food is FANTASTIC! If you've never been, give it a try, and if you were a fan before, you'll LOVE IT now! We were so pleased on our recent visit to find the dishes fresh, balanced and flavorful. The prices are still reasonable (the buffet the best deal) and the new owner also very kid friendly. They have a basket of toys for the kids. Service attentive and facilities spotless. A real jewel in the 'burbs!

                                        Show Hidden Posts