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Tiffin: Indian Cuisine in Philly

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Tiffin has been mentioned a few times on othe boards discussing Indian food in the Philly area and surrounding suburbs. For those who are not aware, Tiffin is both a take-out/delivery service as well as a restaurant. I know that "tiffin" does not sound as though it's Indian, however a "tiffin" refers to lunches or small meals delivered in containers called tiffins.

I tried the delivery service today at lunch for the first time. Awesome! Although appetizers, sides and entees are available a la carte, Tiffen offers 3 meals per day that are "packages". Each meal consists of a main dish, a vegetable, and a dal. The meal also comes with basmati rice, a naan, and 4 condiments. Each item is in its own plastic container; the set-up comes with a sectioned styro plate & plastic utensils. The 3 meal "packages" vary in price from $7.50-$9.50, not including tax. Right now, delivery is free. Only the main entree varies from meal to meal -- they share common vegetables and dals. It looks as though there are 2 vegetarian entrees offered each day, and one non-vegetarian. All meals for the week are posted on their web site.

The meal I got today consisted of (and I am copying from the web site) Kadai Paneer / Aloo Subzi / Dal Fry
(A delicious mix of homemade cottage cheese, green peppers and onions / Potatoes cooked with tomatoes and onions / Yellow lentils tempered with tomatoes and garlic) . It was $ 7.50.

The other offerings were: Chana Peshwari / Aloo Subzi / Dal fry (Chick peas coated with a special blend of herbs and spices, plus sides a shown above) $7.50; and Chilli Chicken / Aloo Subzi / Dal Fry (After the huge success of chicken manchurian last week, an indo-chinese fusion dish)$ 8.50

I found the portions generous enough to have shared with someone else for lunch, particularly if I had also ordered an appetizer. I also found the food to be very spicey, as well as a little salty, however I don't usually cook with salt, and my tolerence for spice hot food is not as great as someone else's might be. You pay for your meal on line, and they also offer pre-paid meal packages, although I'm not sure exactly how that works.

Would I order again? Heck yes!! As a matter of fact, some of us here at work are already planning a group lunch in a few weeks, ordering from Tiffin. I'd also like to try going to the restaurant. I think the guys who started this are on to something. I'd be interested in other reactions!

Check out the web site: www.tiffin.com

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  1. Tiffin is the best Indian I've had in the city. Unfortunately they don't deliver yet to where I live, but I've been to the restaurant a few times and it's been fantastic each time. The menu is different at the restaurant, I imagine because the Tiffin delivery menu is geared towards dishes that travel well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      Right now their delivery area looks like Center City, Rittenhouse Square, Northern Liberties, Queen Village, Old City, Fishtown, Temple, University City, Italian Market, Washington Square. I think they also expanded to Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. I work in Center City, so it's a great option for lunch.

      You don't have to order from the tiffins for delivery -- you can order from the regular menu as well. This is a very dangerous thing!

      1. re: Buckethead

        Their delivery area can be 'negotiated'. I've got a friend who lives in a high-rise complex and advised them that if they delivered to him they could leave a stack of menus downstairs and make out like bandits. It worked out for everyone.

        I've never had any issue with delivery time but I've never done lunch.

      2. Tiffin is located around the corner from my house, and as one might imagine, it's become my default takeout place. However, even if it was much further, it would still be number one on the list. The food is always great. The one thing I'd recommend across the board is the peshawari nan, which is nan stuffed with dried fruit and nuts. It's absolutely delicious. Be forewarned: it usually takes about 45 minutes for delivery. All the delivery people wear suits, or at least some sort of business casual when delivering, which I find to be a very sweet touch.

        1. I love Tiffin. The prices are reasonable and the delivery service is excellent. I had the chili chicken and found it to be delicious. My favorite dish, however, is the butter chicken, tender chicken in a rich creamy sauce that's perfect for dipping my naan in. I've never eaten in the restaurant though, but it's cute inside.

          5 Replies
          1. re: bumble

            OK, I'm addicted. VERY disappointed in the delivery service, however. Yesterday was 15 minutes past the hour "window" for promised delivery. Today it's coming up on a half-hour late. There are 3 of us from my building who ordered. Being hungry makes me very crabby. I ordered the butter chicken.

            1. re: PattiCakes

              Today's order was finally delivered 45 minutes past the latest timne in my "delivery window". A co-worker who ordred for the same delivery window has not received hers yet. She claims she will never order from Tiffin again. I probably will because I am addicted to the food, and it is WONDERFUL (Butter Chicken -- YUMMY!!!!), but I will do so knowing that they deliver very late and that I might need something to tide me over until the food arrives.

              I am afraid that they will not succeed if they can't get this timing issue resolved. The dabbawallas in Bombay are reknown for their punctuality -- Tiffin is getting a reputation for its lack of it.

              1. re: PattiCakes

                My trick to getting my food on time is to tip $2 if they get there within the window, and $1 if late. They figured it out quickly.

                1. re: Smellchipper

                  They did call me yesterday, apologized profusely, and said that my next tiffin was on them. They seem intent on doing things the right way, and I applaud that. I'll not only be interested in LaBan's review, but also what impact it has on their business. If it's a good review, I hope they are prepared to handle the onslaught!!

                  1. re: PattiCakes

                    I've only had positive experiences with their food and their delivery service, and somewhat dread a good review that could change either...but it would be well deserved, I must admit. So I'll just hope that if it's a good review, they can handle it!

          2. Craig LaBan is reviewing it on Sunday

            1. This place is amazing. We had them cater our wedding... and a month later, some very discriminating Indian friends had us <i>drive</i> catering dishes from Tiffin up to their place for a party, because it was the best Indian they'd found. And they live 5 minutes from Edison.

              Another Indian friend rides his bike to the edge of their delivery area to meet the delivery guy, because he can't live without their food.

              Seriously. I love this joint.

              1 Reply
              1. re: therealpotato

                haha! that is fantastic! i have been singing their praises for over half a year and am so glad that others find them as delicious as me and mine do. that bike story is great though. hehe.

              2. I was there for dinner over the weekend to get one last meal in before they're mobbed by people who read LaBan's review and Best of Philly. I'm sorry to say that despite my prior excellent experiences with Tiffin, it will be a while before we go back, if ever. I'd rather not get into details, let's just say that there was a foreign object in one of our dishes that wasn't discovered until it was time to pack up our leftovers to take home. Normally this situation would have led to an apology from the server and the item's removal from the bill, neither of which happened in this case. I could almost forgive the presence of the offending object, but the server's blasé attitude was too much.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Buckethead

                  No one has asked Buckethead to elaborate on the foreign object he/she found in one of the dishes. I'd sure like to know. On the one hand, the place sounds great. On the other hand, foreign object...hmmm...how foreign? Alive or formerly so? And the server's blowing it off? Not sounding so good.

                  1. re: kagoo

                    It was a hair, a very long, straight, black one. I rearranged it in the plate so that it was obvious, so that I could point it out to the server when he came back without announcing to the dining room that there was a hair in our food. Two ladies who had obviously read LaBan's review earlier that day had just sat down to dinner and I didn't want to ruin it for them, maybe I should have.

                    1. re: Buckethead

                      Ugh. Thanks, Buckethead.

                      1. re: kagoo

                        It really sucks, they have the best Indian food in the city... Maybe the new place from the Lolita/Grocery crew will be as good.

                2. Anyone see the fantastic article about "Tiffin" in the Philadelphia Inquirer about 2 weeks ago? Can't wait to try it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: anita7707

                    It's everything the article claimed. I am addicted to their lunch tiffins, and just ordered an obscene amount of food to be delivered here at work tomorrow so I can truck it home on the train to the burbs for dinner. I'm time I got my hubby tiffinized.

                  2. I love that Tiffin's food is not greasy and is SO affordable. I adore Indian food and loved what I have eaten in India! I think the service these folks is offering is brilliant! I find the food to be pretty good but in no way great. I give it 75 out of 100% AND wish them continued success.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: missclaudy

                      I think that the article in the Inquirer and in Philly Mag has made them take a quantum leap forward in their plans, and made them increase delivery staff. The deliveries this week for lunch have been much more timely; I even got a phone call when one order was slightly late,letting me know that they were about 5 minutes away. They have good instincts, but they just need to keep pace with their success.

                    2. I was back at Tiffin a couple weeks ago and they now have a huge seating area open on the second floor of the building. It's very nice up there and the food and service were even better than my last visit. I always felt that their downstairs seating area was kind of an afterthought, and it really suffered from being right next to the kitchen and the area where the delivery guys picked up orders. The service also varied from OK to uninterested. That no longer appears to be the case in the upstairs area.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Buckethead

                        How was the meal on your last visit? I have been reading posts about Tiffin for months but haven't tried it yet. DH isn't into Indian food, so it will be a trek I take alone.

                        1. re: dream_of_giusti

                          Even before my most recent visit it was the best Indian food I've had in the city or suburbs, notwithstanding the one service issue from my prior visit.

                          They deliver to a wide area of the city, so depending on where you live and/or work you may be able to get delivery. The menu is different in the restaurant than it is for delivery, though.