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Palace at the Ben-Great Indian in Phila!

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Lotus7 Jun 9, 2007 06:32 AM

I went to Palace at the Ben yesterday (on 8th and Chestnut) for dinner, and just had to share with everyone my excitement! We finally have a high quality, fine dining Indian restaurant in Philly! Here are the high points--exceptional service--friendly, attentive, detail-oriented waitstaff. Decor is amazing! Beautiful, modern china, stemware, flatware, etc. They really pay attention to the details here. Okay, and the food? Amazing! Really fresh, flavorful punjabi food. Started with an egglpant appetizer that was divine. Had the Hariyali Chicken (chicken cooked in coriander and green chili sauce), Navratan Korma (9 veggies in a coconut cream sauce), the most pillowy naan and decadent butter parathas. I also tasted my dining companions sweet lassi which was just delicious.

I've been totally jaded lately by the flavorless, oily mess of Indian food we have in Philly. And I've also been disappointed by the lack of good service at many Indian restaurants. But the Palace really hits the mark in terms of quality of food and service. Please note that this is fine dining so it's not cheap! But I think given the quality of the food, the decor, and location, prices are fair. I will definitely be going again, and am eager to try their sunday brunch which I hear features a lot of South Indian specialties (like dosa).

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    Buckethead Jun 9, 2007 08:29 AM

    You may also want to try Tiffin, 7th and Girard. It doesn't have the fine dining atmosphere, but it's the best Indian I've had in the city and the service is friendly. I haven't tried the Palace yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Didn't it just open recently?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead
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      Beulah Jun 9, 2007 10:28 AM

      We ate at the Palace theother day and were underwhelmed. Everything Lotus7 says about the decor and the service is correct but we were not excited about the food. We had the Navratan Korma and found its flavor undistinguished. We also had a lamb dish (don't remember its name) and it was not exciting. Over all, we were disappointed.

      1. re: Beulah
        rabidog Jun 10, 2007 08:28 AM

        the lack of good indian in the city (home) makes me want to cry, but is slightly made up for by the spectacular selection of really good places out in the western suburbs (work) (see 93-post-long thread about indian near k-o-p!). anyway, as buckethead says we are thrilled beyond belief with tiffin. and they are my neighbors!! awesome flavor (watch out if you adventure into the territory of asking for "extra, extra spicy!"), super-speedy delivery from guys dressed in business professional garb, and friendly service overall. i love the place.

        that said, one can never have too much indian food. i know philly's got a bad track record, but i'll have to try this place. i have never heard of it. is it new?

        there's also one whose name starts with a K out in ardmore that i keep meaning to make it to...

        1. re: rabidog
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          Lotus7 Jun 10, 2007 08:56 AM

          Yes, Palace is new--opened up about a month ago. I know Tiffin has better food than many other Indian restaurants in the city, but what sets Palace apart is that it's a nice place to dine-in. I am sorry Beulah did not have as good an experience as I had, but I still recommend the Palace!

          1. re: rabidog
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            witnessprotection Jun 12, 2007 10:47 AM

            Rabidog, I report, sadly, that Khajuraho in Ardmore is adequate at best. We're former Bostonians who used to have a big range of Inidan choices, so we feel that we're reduced to the bare minimum when we go there. Ratty upholstery, Begrudging service, and pedestrian food combine to make it a poor substitute for what Indian should be.

            1. re: witnessprotection
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              Schpsychman Jun 13, 2007 12:53 PM

              Try A taste of India in King of Prussia, excellent food with incredible flavors! (and yes there is a mammoth post where it is oft mentioned).

              1. re: witnessprotection
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                IndianFoodLover Jun 22, 2007 07:34 AM

                I agreee with witnessprotection on Khajuraho in Ardmore... Our favorite is Coriander in Voorhees, NJ... Have been there many times, and never been disappointed. The food has always been very tasty, and plenty. The dinner menu is extensive and includes traditional Indian dishes that can be made as spicey or mild as you like (they ask if you want mild, medium, hot or extra hot). Staff has been friendly, and prompt.

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          Buckethead Jun 19, 2007 02:52 PM

          I had dinner at the Palace at the Ben last night, it was good, probably the second-best Indian I've had in the city after Tiffin. Unfortunately it's much more expensive than Tiffin, so I doubt I'll be going back very often. One thing that really stood out was the rose water ice cream dessert. That was fantastic. The place is very nice, and the service is friendly, if I was in some kind of situation where I wanted to take people out for a good Indian meal and the atmosphere was very important I would definitely go back. If you take the setting out of the equation, Tiffin wins hands-down.

          Has anyone had the Indian shiraz they have on the wine list? I wanted to try some, but it's not available by the glass, and I wasn't about to bet $50 on it being good.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Buckethead
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            dream_of_giusti Jun 20, 2007 09:08 AM

            I went on the Tiffin website. What is this? Is a restaurant or a catering service? Can someone please clue me in, I would really like to try it.

            1. re: dream_of_giusti
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              Buckethead Jun 21, 2007 06:48 AM

              It is both those things, but mainly it's a delivery place. They deliver lunch and dinner all over the city. I believe that was their first endeavor, then once they got popular they opened a small dining room at their location.

            2. re: Buckethead
              rabidog Nov 26, 2007 04:22 PM

              meh. we just went to palace at the ben about a week ago, and $100 later i don't feel like it was worth even half of that. i am not in the camp who (in ANY dining situation, be it business, a date, friends) pays extra money for ambiance where better food can be had elsewhere. had the same eggplant app as the OP, and it was all right. also had the paneer tikka masala, which was slightly below all right. the garlic naan was quite good, but very buttery. my dining companion ordered a similar amount of food, and we each had a kingfisher beer - i can't believe that lunch was so expensive! (ironically i was on my way to the lakeside deli for a CHEAP lunch but got sidetracked!) service was super friendly and the decor was nice, too, but when the similar if not better ingredients are being used at tiffin for a fraction of the price, i have no reason to go back to palace at the ben. in fact, i had some tiffin leftover in my fridge (i get takeout from them at least once a week)... so the next day i did a side-by-side tasting of both restaurants' naans and paneer tikka masalas. tiffin's dish won, hands down. ingredients tasted spicier, fresher, more flavorful. tiffin aside, i give up on indian in the city.

              1. re: rabidog
                bluehensfan Nov 27, 2007 03:12 AM

                There's a sister restaurant of the Ben in DE. It's also very expensive but they can get away with it given the paltry Indian options down there. Personally I thought the food was pretty good but not for the price, seeing as I've had a few frozen Indian meals that have been just as tasty.

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              FoodieLover Jul 18, 2007 07:36 AM

              The Palace at the Ben is by far the best Indian restaurant I have ever been to. The decor is simply gorgeous and the food is the most delicious I have ever tasted. The owners have really outdone themselves this time and should be commended on finally bringing a fine dining Indian experience to Philadelphia. The drinks are creative--my favorite is the lychee martini. I sampled 4 appetizers and 4 entrees and each and everyone had a beautiful presentation and tasted better than I thought imaginable. The desserts are decadent. I will definitely be back many times!

              2 Replies
              1. re: FoodieLover
                saturninus Jul 18, 2007 09:34 AM

                How expensive is it? Can a vegetarian eat there?

                1. re: saturninus
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                  Lotus7 Jul 18, 2007 06:23 PM

                  Lots of vegetarian options. Entrees around $22 or so. You can look at the menu on line:

                  http://philadelphia.menupages.com/res...

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                DaisyM Oct 7, 2007 07:16 AM

                This is a terrific restaurant. A fine dine restaurant that serves traditional Indian food. The service and presentation were wonderful and the food was superior to anything I've ever had in Philadelphia. It was more like a fine Indian restaurant that you'd go to in London.

                1 Reply
                1. re: DaisyM
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                  Aloo0628 Nov 6, 2007 09:39 AM

                  Tried Palace for the first time the other night, and loved most of the things I had. If you go, you MUST try the chicken samosas. If you’re vegetarian, the veggie samosas were really good too, but those chicken ones? Drool. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed in their butter chicken. It was really, well, buttery – but lacked any other flavors. Real butter chicken doesn’t really taste like butter, but is full of the rich, spicy goodness of yogurt/cream, tomatoes, and that melange of Indian spices that leaves your fingers orange and stinky for days afterwards. This stuff washed right off with one trip to the restroom. Lame. BUT the chicken tikka and samosas were so good that I would definitely pay this place another visit. OH, AND they have puri as a bread option! I know it’s weird, but I LOVE eating puri with butter chicken, so this totally made my day. The puri and naan were both quite tasty. And the sizzling trays of tandoori goodies that kept passing by our table have definitely left me eager to go back and try that place again.

                2. Chinon00 Nov 6, 2007 04:40 PM

                  What's on tap and how good is the wine list at Palace at the Ben?

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                    soccerfan80 May 9, 2008 02:54 PM

                    I went here last week and it was an ok experience overall. The samosas were a little dry, but the eggplant appetizers were excellent.

                    For the meal itself, we had cashmere chicken, aloo gobi, chicken tikka masala, and paneer cashmere. All off these were just so-so - very heavy on the cream. The taste wasn't bad, but definitely not the best I've had. The kulfi and gulab jamun for dessert were a good way to end the meal.

                    So overall, good atmosphere and service, but just adequate food. And really expensive for what you get. There's another branch of this restaurant called Palace of Asia in Lawrenceville, NJ which is $5-$6 cheaper per entree, and has a much wider selection of food. Same flavors, but much cheaper at the end of the day.

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                      DaisyM May 9, 2008 03:21 PM

                      My husband and I took an Indian cooking class at Foster's. The chef told the class that the only Indian restaurants he thinks are great in Philly is Palace at the Ben and Tiffin. We really enjoyed Palace at the Ben and would go back.

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