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In Richmond Hill, The Host or Bombay Bhel?

Which is better? I need to feed a group this weekend and I've heard bad things about The Host.
Thanks everyone!

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  1. While I like both, I have a strong preference for Bombay Bhel. I've found that The Host's dishes are more curry than meat, so the portion sizes aren't big enough to properly share. While I don't have an issue with spice level, others have commented on The Host's inability to make mild dishes. Bombay Bhel is consistently great. It has a more casual atmosphere. Service isn't as good, but the food makes up for it. Anything you order is terrific.

    1. I'd say Bombay Bhel, more consistent offering.

      1. What you've heard is correct!

        I haven't even been to Bombay Bhel in RH, but I'd choose Bombay Bhel. I've been to the Host in TO and it sucks, and I ate at the RH location 4 years ago and I still haven't recovered from the bad experience. I'd compare it to being held hostage in an Indian version of Planet Hollywood, only worse. Do the details matter?

        I've been to Bombay Bhel once in Mississauga and it was clean and the food was delish. I would imagine that the quality is consistent, just like the Host is consistent in Toronto and RH. I think it's time for the Host to retire.

        Planet Hollywood
        4608 Bender, Niagara Falls, ON L2G7W6, CA

        1. I had one of the worst Indian meal EVER at the Richmond Hill Host. Food was bland by Indian standard and unappealing. First time I had a chicken curry that had such 'weird' flavour making it un-palatable.
          Bombay Bhel is much better. The Prawn Madras was very nice!
          Pricewise, The Host is overpriced! A result of their calling themself 'Indian FINE dining', no doubt?!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu

            Weird. We really love the food at the Host on Prince Arthur. Same owners?

            1. re: acd123

              Agree! Food at Host's downtown location somehow is more flavourful??!!
              I also find the same thing happening to one of chowhounder's favourite Chinese place - 'Fantasy Eatery'. Their Richmond Hill's outpost has inferior food than their Scarborough location. Same owner!

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Things must have changed drastically at the RH Host in the last 10 years... I ate there once a week when I worked close by (till 2002) and it was always good then.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                Very interesting to hear these views. I haven't been to The Host for maybe 2-3 years. But when I was there, I recall the food being very good! I still prefer Bombay Bhel, nonetheless, I would consider both of them to be in the upper end of good Indian food.

            3. I never tried the Richmond Hill Bombay Bhel, but if it is run by the same owners of the one at 164 Eglinton Ave. East and it serves the same food, I would say ''skip it''.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lamaranthe

                The Richmond Hill location is NOT run by the same people and completely different from the others. I've gotten takeout at the Yonge/Finch location and it was not good at all. This one location was, for whatever reason, split off from the rest. They even have their own website address.

              2. I would recommend going to Jaipur which is on East Beaver Creek. You can either do the standard buffet or a la carte which is quite good.


                3 Replies
                1. re: rapsrealm

                  IMO, Jaipur is good but not as good as Bombay Bhel.
                  How about Madras Palace on Wertheim? Anyone tried that?

                  Madras Palace
                  15 Wertheim Crt, Thornhill, ON L3T, CA

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    I agree with Charles. And Jaipur is also in a strip plaza and lacks atmosphere. I've tried a lot of Indian places in the area and Bombay Bhel is definitely the best.

                    1. re: SMOG

                      I go to both often and Bombay Bhel is definitely better of the two. However, when I feel like having variety, the Host lunch buffet is very good value.

                2. Host is better than Bombay Bhel, by far. The first time I went to the Host was when they had their original location on Bay and Charles. The food was great, best Indian in Toronto at the time. About 3 years ago I tried the Host Richmond Hill location, it was terrible. Small, measly portions, poor quality food. I maintained a very poor opinion of the Host until recently. However, I tried Host again this Fathers day and the food is much better. The dishes taste different. Bombay Bhel is standard average Indian restaurant curries that taste the same. I would prefer Chauhan's over Bombay Bhel even. It is not in the same area, but at Woodbine and Denison which is not too far. As for Jaipur, LOL., I have never eaten there, but I walked in, had one look at their buffet and walked out.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: ManAbout

                    How are the Vegetarian dishes at Chauhan's?
                    We have never been there.
                    Is it a nice atmosphere?
                    We are expecting friends from Bangalore shortly and they are strictly Vegetarian.

                    1. re: erly

                      My favourite vegetarian dish at Chauhan's is the Vegetarian Kebab. They come on a sizzling platter served with vegetables. I actually prefer them to the meat kebabs which I find to be too dry and tough. The other vegetarian dish I have had there is the dal which is also quite good and well spiced. However, the atmosphere is kind of dingy and the decor is very dated. If your friends are anything like typical upper middle class Indians, they will look down on Chauhan's decor. I would suggest Host over Chauhan's. The decor at Host is more would you expect in a mid range Indian restaurant in India. The restaurant is on the upper level with bay windows looking out. And if they really are strictly vegetarian, would they even want to visit a restaurant with meat dishes being prepared in the same kitchen? If you don't mind a bit of a drive, I would suggest Brar's at Advance and Dixie in Brampton. The food is Punjabi vegetarian, though they do have the masala dosas and idlis as part of their buffet. You can either order from the menu or go for their buffet. If I were to go to a vegetarian only restaurant in Toronto, it would be that one. I would take them there if I were you.

                    2. re: ManAbout

                      Chauhan is my favourite go-to Indian place in the area too

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Other than the area, which is a distance for us would you take a guest there?
                        We like Amaya, but mainly the meat dishes.
                        We think that the veggies are not as good.
                        As an example, their Chana Masala has no depth whatever.
                        We need the best Vegetarian.

                        1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

                        1. re: erly

                          The more I think about, I say take them straight to Brar.

                          1. re: erly

                            Chauhan's food is definitely decent enough for you to take a guest there. Whether its worth making a special trip from mid/down town is another question?! After all its no Michelin star restaurant! Ha! As for their vegetarian dishes, I only tried a couple ( aloo gobbi and Bhindi Nazakat (Okra) ), both decent. I am a 'meat' man when comes to curries...etc. So I'm not in a position to comment on best vegetarian. Sorry!

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              Thanks all.
                              Unlike observant Jews who will not eat in a Restaurant that serves meat that is not Kosher, even the most observant Hindu, doesn't mind at all.
                              However decor seems to matter
                              We are taken to a Restaurant in Brussels quite often called La Porte des Indes, (owned by the Blue Elephant group} which is stunningly beautiful, by S.K. and his entourage.
                              The food is good but not excellent, but they all love it.
                              They very much enjoyed Taabla on their last visit.
                              Will probably take them to the Host on Prince Arthur, unless there is another "atmospheric" restaurant that I am not aware of..

                              1. re: erly

                                Regarding even the most observant Hindus, I am sorry but this is not true at all. There are many, many strict vegetarians in India that will not eat in restaurants that cook meat in the same kitchen. And in fact, restaurants always have a sign outside or within their name to inform diners as such. Restaurants that serve meat will always say "Non-Veg". Others will call themselves "Pure Vegetarian" which means that they do not cook with garlic or onions. Strict observant Hindus will only go to "Pure Vegetarian" restaurants. These are very common in India.

                                1. re: ManAbout

                                  I stand corrected.
                                  I understand that Vegans are another aspect of the religion.
                                  Even my acquaintances who are extreme, (won't handle money, sit by a window, etc). will eat at any restaurant.
                                  I should not generalize if this is the case.

                      2. To be honest I find them both lacking. Since The Host has opened other locations, their Richmond Hill dinner service is HORRIBLE. The waiters have issues, the food has suffered and honestly, they're good for their lunch buffet and that's it.
                        The Bhel - good lord. To me that's indian food cooked for the unknowing taste buds. Their butter chicken is food court to me, their naan not that impressive. Also contributing to my disappointment was the pomp and ceremony that praised the place over The Host and really,I disagree.

                        If you have to choose, food only, I'd go with the Host and get their specialties. Bombay Bhel is atmosphere only. Sorely disappointed that both are in Richmond Hill and have dropped in quality so much.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: MultiverseQueen

                          When was the last time you were at Host? I was there in June and the food and service seemed to have improved since my previous visit. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't go to Host in RH for years because I had a similar experience, both food and service were terrible.
                          As for Bombay Bhel I agree with you. I went there once and I won't go back. I am also puzzled by the good reviews. I really have to wonder how restaurants like this get such stellar reviews on chowhound, when the reality is quite different. I have seen this in a few instances. One has to wonder, after all, it really is quite easy for a savvy restaurant owner to manipulate a user contributed review board.

                          1. re: MultiverseQueen

                            I never use Butter Chicken as a reference when judging quality of Indian food in Toronto, since IMO, apart from the 'old' Maroli, no GOOD butter chicken can be found in Toronto. They all seem to look the same orangy red and have the same generically one dimensional 'creamy tomato' taste!

                            630 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1K7, CA