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Aug 9, 2003 11:54 AM

Best Indian food

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Where the best Indian restaurant in Philly?

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  1. 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

      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. 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:

      8 Replies
      1. re: jaime

        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

          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

            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

              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

            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

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

              1. re: saturninus

                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

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

            1. 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

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

                1. re: Susan H

                  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

                    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 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. 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.