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Sep 14, 2008 09:05 AM

Underwhelmed at Palace at the Ben

We went to Palace at the Ben last night for a pre-theater meal. The service and decor are wonderful, but we were underwhelmed by the food and it was expensive for what you get (dinner for two was $100 included 1 app, 2 entrees, 2 breads, 1 dessert, 4 drinks). The best item we ordered was the eggplant appetizer and some kind of bread stuffed with onions. The entrees, tandoori chicken and lamb with eggplant, were just ok and nothing to write home about. Place was half empty and I am not sure how it is surviving.

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  1. "Different strokes for different folks," I guess... I recently took my Indian-food-loving family there when they visited from out of town. They LOVED it and are still talking about how sensational the food was. No, it's not cheap, but IMHO it's a fair value for the atmosphere, quality of food and service.

    1. you're not alone - while i didn't particularly dislike anything, you can get better-quality food at a fraction of the price at tiffin. while i'm inclined to migrate towards the best-tasting food regardless of price, i realize some may be looking for upscale indian, and that's a relatively small market in philly (and tiffin wouldn't quite qualify for upscale, i don't think, though their new upstairs dining room is nice). i did like palace better than bindi, for what it's worth.

      7 Replies
      1. re: rabidog

        I'm not a great connoisseur of Indian food but my husband likes it so we go occasionally. Usually we eat at Khajuraho, a BYOB Indian place in Ardmore, and I definitely liked the food better there than at Palace at the Ben. We also ate one time at Karma in Old City. I remember liking the food and it was less expensive as well. I have never been to Tiffin. What is the neighborhood like? I've also heard there are some pretty good Indian restaurants near the Penn campus. Have you tried any of them?

        1. re: rocknroll52

          Tiffin is the best Indian restaurant in the city, go there! The neighborhood is not that great, I'm afraid. The places around Penn (though I haven't tried all of them) range from OK to bad.

          1. re: Buckethead

            Actually i've been really underwhelmed by Tiffin lately! I've been so disappointed (and disgusted) the last 3 times I had food delivered--everything was REALLY greasy, and all the dishes tasted the same. Also, some items were undersalted while others were oversalted. I've decided to take a break for a while...

            1. re: Lotus7

              oh no! i hope they haven't overextended themselves since opening the new location. i know they've also lost their chef to ekta (though ironically ekta was nowhere near tiffin caliber indian food). i usually order tiffin at least twice a week, but since overdoing the vacationing a bit this year i've subbed that out with making my own poor-(wo)man's hummus at home for a couple months... and i've been missing my indian food dearly! i can tell you they still SMELL good - i live within a stone's throw! :)

              1. re: rabidog

                I think they did overextend themselves since opening and planning for new location(s.) I do like EKTA a lot though. Some of my Indian (South Asian) colleagues were big TIffin fans, but unfortunately, they agree that the food at Tiffin is not as it was, and now they go to EKTA. The chef at EKTA (original Tiffin Chef) is very traditional and the balance of spices/herbs and the over all preparations are very traditional (per my colleagues critique-). Tiffin is still good but I too prefer EKTA is a 5 min. walk from my house!

                1. re: SpdRcr069

                  Do you know when the current Ekta chef left Tiffin? I was at Tiffin not long ago, and I've been to Ekta, and IMO Tiffin is much better. Of course, I don't know if I've been there since the chef left to start Ekta.

              2. re: Lotus7

                I've been underwhelmed lately too--perhaps for the last 2-3 weeks (I order from Tiffin at least once/week--but last night, I ordered again, and it was bangin'. I assume they have different chefs, and it would be difficult to predict who's cooking when, but it can still be a "hit". It's just disappointing that the consistency has gone downhill a bit. Hope they can get it together.