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Indian Food in Phoenix

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Hey Fellow Phoenix Chowhounders,

My friends and I have recently moved to Phoenix are hoping to find a great Indian restaurant in Phoenix.

I've browsed through the past posts and didn't see anything too recent. Are Tandoori Times, Pasand, and Taste of India still the top Indian restaurants near Phoenix (we work near the junction of the 51 and 10)?

Also, is anyone who's been to a couple of these willing to rank them?

Thanks

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  1. I highly recommend Tandoori Times. It is more of a bistro setting and great food. They are also not shy about spice, so you may want to ask. I can't comment on Pasand or Taste of India as I haven't been, but I really had a great time at Tandoori Times.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Seth Chadwick

      Hello everyone! Just arrived back from my first dinner at Tandoori Times. Had the Saturday special of Beef Nihari (tomato-based curry), complete with saffron Basmati rice, one naan, and a side salad for $14. I also ordered some comforting and tasty Dal Makhani, $9 (tasted equally wonderful with the rice and naan). I finished with a bowl of kheer, $3. You must try the complimentary Indian tea chai sweetened with sugar syrup used to flavor the gulab jamun (OK, so I had a taste!). A delicious meal! Was pleasantly surprised that there was belly-dancing (Saturday/Sunday, starting at 8p). Joel was my amiable (and cute!) and attentive server. I will return!

    2. I love Indian food, but grow frustrated with Indian restaurants -- not only in Phoenix, but everywhere I travel. There is too much mediocre cooking and too many cookie-cutter menus. As a result, I cannot think of any one place that stands out as consistently excellent at the moment. You just have to find a place that works for you more often than not. Here are some comments and observations:

      Tandoori Times -- never been there; people speak highly of it, but it's outside my normal travel patterns and I have trouble with the silly name

      Taste of India -- I've been, but it's been a long time. Reasonably good northern Indian with a British feel, although not terribly close to your work location.

      Pasand -- southern Indian food with masala dosa, idli sambar, etc. For best results, stick to these dishes rather than trying Pasand's take on northern Indian. Pasand offers northern Indian dishes to cater to customer expectations, but their specialty is southern Indian food.

      Other possibilities:

      Flavors of India -- the closest to your location at 16th St. and Campbell; food and service are both erratic. Hit it on a good day, and you'll love it; on a bad day, you'll wonder why you wasted your money.

      Priya -- southern Indian at McClintock & Warner in Tempe

      Indian Delhi Palace -- northern Indian at 50th & McDowell, east side of Phoenix

      Delhi Palace -- northern Indian at Rural & University in Tempe

      Jewel of the Crown -- northern Indian near the Scottsdale Center for the Arts

      3 Replies
      1. re: silverbear

        Great list, SB. I haven't been to Tandoori Times, but people seem to like it. Otherwise, I'd go with Jewel of the Crown.

        Barry

        1. re: silverbear

          I've been too all listed so far, save for Jewel of the Crown.

          Your CLOSEST is India Dehli Palace, and it's very good Northern, IMHO. Your next closest, and with better food, is Dehli Place. Priya is definitely worth the drive for Southern style, and I would also have you try Pasand. I've been there twice, and once was just TOO much spice for me. However, it sounds like what you're after.

          I eat at Maharaja frequently, but only during the lunch buffet. Good and consistent, but not worth a drive for you. Taste of India is even better, but ditto.

          As to T-Times, I've been ONCE. I'll try it again, but I think it's got more atmosphere going for it than the food. Nice bar, club type layout, with generous patio seating. The belly dancer was a treat for me, but I would've been a bit embarrassed were I with a spouse or date.

          Copper Kettle has two 'affiliated' locations, not really at all alike. They're Paki-owned, and the cuisine overlaps with N. Indian. Guadalupe and Baseline has the atmosphere. Tempe, by ASU Main has the value, particularly if you can hang with the college crowd and you don't need tablecloths and linen to be impressed.

          1. re: silverbear

            Jewel of the Crown--the thickest palak paneer I've ever had. The naan bread was so dry that it required lots of water to down.

          2. I think your closest bet is Indian Delhi Palace. I've not been, but I'm hoping to try it.

            I wanted to add Maharajah Palace to the list for comprehensiveness' sake. It's 59Ave and Bell, so not central, but I'm always glad to eat there. I was in a few weeks ago and ordered their dinner combo, and asked for it spicy. I got the raised eyebrow and nodded to show I meant it, and happily, they complied. I had the most wonderful slow burn going the rest of the evening. Fantastic tandoori and naan.

            I have a giant soft spot for Delhi Palace because it was a great place for lunch in grad school. They have a chai dispenser on the lunch buffet, and the naan is fluffy and so fragrant.

            1. I've yet to try Tandoori Times and Jewel of the Crown (the latter is highly recommended by the PHX Vegetarian Society I dine with on occasions). I've tried Pasand- you must try the Tandoori chicken (part of the combo I had with lamb and beef; the chicken was the best), the dosai, and the kulfi (oh, I could sing praises over the kulfi!). The papadum is also good.

              You must try Udupi Cafe on Scottsdale Rd near McKellips. I always order their dosai. Their mulligatawny soup is excellent, as are their chutneys.

              Tried the chicken balti, garlic naan, and Dal (lentil) at the Copper Kettle on Guadalupe/Baseline. The balti was disappointingly bland, the naan was equally flavorless and soggy. I enjoyed the very flavorful dal the best. Will have to try their curries next visit... I spied some on a couple's table on my way out... they looked scrumptious!

              I haven't decided which one I will try first this weekend: T-Times or Jewel of the Crown. Any suggestions on what dishes I should order?

              7 Replies
              1. re: starlightjulian

                Oops! I meant KHEER, not kulfi, regarding the sublime dessert I had at Pasand's. Forgive me!

                1. re: starlightjulian

                  I've never been a big fan of the curries at Copper Kettle, but love the chicken boti sultani, lamb briyani, and minced lamb kabob. I'm surprised to hear the chicken balti was bland since it's cooked with lots of ginger and topped with cilantro. Are there two different types of chicken balti?

                  1. re: IamJacksBrain

                    There is only one chicken balti on the menu, and I thought the flavor was lacking. I suppose I was just expecting more... oomph! I had originally just ordered the balti, which came with the soggy garlic naan. The meal improved immensely fifteen minutes later, when I decided to order the dal. I will visit again soon and try one of your menu selections.

                    1. re: starlightjulian

                      I took out my to go menu and there are two chicken baltis on the menu. The significantly better one is the ginger chicken balti.

                      I'll have to try the dal next time I'm there.

                      1. re: IamJacksBrain

                        I had the ginger chicken balti. The taste was decent enough, but nothing special. I was searching for something more flavorful, more sensational that evening. The garlic naan was disappointing... the naan at Tandoori Times and Jewel of the Crown surpass it greatly! The meal turned for the better when my dal order arrived. I would have to go back and order the dal again to be sure, but I think I prefer CK's version (green or yellow lentils) over those of Tandoori Times and Jewel of the Crown (both of the black lentil variety and both very tasty!).

                        1. re: starlightjulian

                          *laugh* RE: thinking you got the regular chicken balti.

                  2. re: starlightjulian

                    I will add my vote for Udupi. It is vegeterian, and they also have some "vegan" dishes. I am neither (an unconsitituted meat eater), but I don't really care. The "dosai" is a paper-thin wrapper, in which there are many variations for the filling; if you want a close comparison, think "quesadilla" but it isn't the same. Actually, the best dish I had there was the cauliflower (can't remember the name). I have not been there for a number of months, and I've read about the quality "slipping", so take that into account.

                  3. I've tried Copper Kettle (in Mesa and Tempe), Delhi Palace Cuisine of India (Tempe), Tandoori Times (Scottsdale and Glendale), Indian Delhi Palace (east Phoenix), Indian Maharaja Palace (Glendale), Tandoori Village (Glendale), Udupi Cafe (Tempe) and Taste of India (Phoenix). As you can probably tell, I like Indian food.

                    Out of all these, Tandoori Times (the one is Scottsdale) has been the most consistent and I have been there the most. The worst of the lot was Taste of India.

                    Tandoori Village which is fairly new is not bad either but their service is awful. Service has been my main issue with several Indian restaurants in town but Tandoori Times doesn't normally disappoint in that area.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: emokid

                      Please don't forget Royal Taj in Tempe (broadway and mcclintock). They have a great lunch buffet -- as long as you get there early. If you get there at the end, the rice is hard and the food's been sitting around too long. They also have chai and great garlic naan with the lunch buffet.
                      My husband's from India and his fav restaurant is Jewel of the Crown and Udupi (except for the sktchy health dept. rating that place has been getting recently). I love Royal Taj.

                      Also -- if you feel like chaat for lunch, you can head to India World on McClintock (or rural?) and Southern..

                      1. re: anakalia

                        Big fan of Jewel of the Crown. Never had a bad meal there and have been going for eight years.

                        1. re: avandelay

                          been going there as well. been absent for a while but a bunch of us went last month and it was great!

                          i've heard that there is an indian market in the strip mall with pasand that serves food that is supposed to be very good. anybody been there? keep seeing it on steve's espresso visits. need to try it.

                      2. re: emokid

                        Visited Jewel of the Crown for the first time Sunday night. I ordered the lamb boti masala, dal maharani, garlic naan, and roti; my friend ordered a potato and pea dish and a side of basmati rice. Papadum sheets were good with the sweet chile and mint/parsley "dips." Everything we ordered was tasty and satisfying. I even some delicious kheer. Has anyone tried JotC's gulab jamun? Is it as good, or better than that of Tandoori Times? I cannot wait to try other dishes at both venues soon!

                        Was going to try Tempe's Delhi Palace Monday night, but the restaurant was closed. I then opted to give Char's Thai a try, but after waiting more than 5 minutes to be greeted and seated, I waited another 10 minutes or more after I was served water to place my order, but the server never returned. Two strikes, Char's, and I won't be coming back. Instead, I struck a homerun at Nhat with their lemongrass chicken served with sticky rice. I also tried the seafood combo pho with egg noodles- it ended up being an imitation crab egg noodle pho with veggies (and I had to order another side of veggies to round out the meal) since I'm allergic to shrimp. Good soup, but will not order due to the imitation crab.

                        1. re: starlightjulian

                          Char's definitely has service challenges. It's incredibly dark. Combine that with the high-backed booths, and I often find it's necessary to lean outside my booth and wave every time I need something.

                          1. re: silverbear

                            I've given them two chances already, so I won't go back. Too many other places to try!