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Where is the best Indian buffet in the Boston area?

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Went to Indian Delight restaurant in Weymouth today with the better half for their "Super Brunch Buffet." While it was okay for $10 per person, we didn't find it to be a "super buffet." I had higher expectations in terms of variety of food. The buffet had chicken soup, vegetable pakoras, vegetable pancakes, plain naan, rice, lamb korma, tandoori chicken, chicken biryani, garden salad, and a dessert which I didn't try. The food was decent, but the buffet was right next to the door and the food was only lukewarm.

We also ordered a side of lamb samosas. I observed the waiter walk out of the kitchen with the serving platter and proceed to walk over to the buffet and picked up some of the garden salad and added it to the platter as a garnish. Not a big deal, but it seemed kind of wierd that they would do that.

When the waiter brought us the check, it did not include the samosas, so I brought it to the waiters attention. He added them to the bill and then charged my credit card more than what the receipt said. I took the difference off of the tip and circled both the amount they charged and the amount on the receipt for them to catch.

We typically frequent Punjab Cafe in Quincy or Cafe of India in Harvard Square and order chicken do piaza with lamb samosas and naan. Our goal for going to the buffet today was to be able to sample different items without ordering a full order. We want to go to another Indian buffet with better quality and variety. Where do you recommend we go to meet our goal of sampling a variety of foods?

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Indian Delight
428 Washington St, Weymouth, MA 02188

Cafe of India
52 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

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  1. The very best in the area, in my opinion:

    - Kebab Factory in Cambridge/Somerville
    - Tamarind Bay, Harvard Square
    - Kathmandu Spice, Arlington

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    Tamarind Bay
    75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    The Kebab Factory
    414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

    Kathmandu Spice
    166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

    8 Replies
    1. re: Prav

      Second both Kebab Factory and Tamarind Bay.

      -----
      Tamarind Bay
      75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      The Kebab Factory
      414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

      1. re: greenzebra

        Kebab Factory and Kathmandu Spice are both excellent. KS is notionally Himalayan and has fewer typical Indian restaurant dishes.

        I must have had an unusually bad experience at Tamarind Bay because people do seem to like it. But I thought it was terrible when I was there, even by the standards of the most mundane buffets.

        The Pongal is also excellent, though it is always a few dollars more expensive than either KF or KS (weekdays and weekends) and doesn't vary as much as they do either, which is a bit odd considering they have much more space. They have a couple more dishes and a better salads / chat section, and more soups. They usually have some kind of poriyal. Their vegetarian dishes are better than their meat dishes.

        -----
        Tamarind Bay
        75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

        The Kebab Factory
        414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

        Kathmandu Spice
        166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

        1. re: chickendhansak

          I've been wanting to try the Kebab Factory - is there any street parking available around there?

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          The Kebab Factory
          414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

          1. re: artymoi

            There is metered street parking there, but the restaurant also has its own parking behind it (on the right, up Beacon St. slightly, heading towards Inman Square).

            1. re: chickendhansak

              Thanks for the info - finally got there today and found the parking lot! The food was scrumptious! What is the difference in the weekday and weekend buffets? Is it just a greater selection? Also to the original question - I agree with The Kebab Factory, Kathmandu Spice and The Pongal in Billerica. All great - with the best naan at the Kebaby Factory.

              -----
              The Kebab Factory
              414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

              Kathmandu Spice
              166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

              1. re: artymoi

                Glad you liked it!

                I don't think there is too much difference between the weekday and weekend buffets, which means I much prefer going on a weekday. I think with the weekend buffet you are guaranteed dosa, which they bring around on a platter and serve to you until you refuse it. But sometimes they do that on weekdays too -- last Friday for instance.

        2. re: greenzebra

          While I love Tamarind Bay, and it's become our go-to place in Harvard Square, I was kind of disappointed in the variety of the buffet. And the quality, while still quite high, seemed a notch down from their normal fare.

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          Tamarind Bay
          75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

          1. re: cpingenot

            I've been to about 10 different Indian buffets in Cambridge, and Tamarind Bay is probably the best. My only complaint is that the restaurant is small and crowded. The best asian buffet in Cambridge overall is easily Rangzen in central square. Amazing food.

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            Tamarind Bay
            75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      2. The Pongal in Billerica on the Burlington line, especially on weekends when the already large selection is even bigger.

        1. I've only been on weekdays, but even then, The Pongal has the best Indian buffet I've tried in Greater Boston.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I agree- the best buffet around here, IMO. Out-of-the ordinary options on the buffet itself, and you order bread (including dosa) from the waiter so it comes hot and fresh. It gets pretty mobbed at lunchtime, with good reason.

          2. I like Kebab Factory in Cambridge and Namaskar in Davis Square.
            Always more than satisfied with either. I do think KF has a bit of an edge over Namaskar though.

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            The Kebab Factory
            414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

            2 Replies
            1. re: Johnresa

              don't know if it's the best but if you are in Dorchester, Shanti's is quite good. Bread is brought fresh and hot and the buffet items are not tired.

              1. re: teezeetoo

                Love the Shanti, but the last time I was there for the luncheon buffet, the offerings were pretty meager. I much prefer to go in the evening and order off the menu. Maybe I should give them another try.

            2. I will give Royal Bengal in Central Square Cambridge my nod (www.bengalicafe.com

              )

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              Royal Bengal
              313 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

              8 Replies
              1. re: mmocpi

                i had their weekend buffet recently at Bengal Cafe (also in Central Square) and it was ok, not great. the highlight was a goat curry. they also had a fried or roasted fish that was tough to eat because of many small bones. the other items were pretty much standard Indian buffet items - lentils, samosa, tandoori chicken etc.

                1. re: nasilemak

                  I assume you mean Royal Bengal (Central), not Bengal Cafe (N. Cambridge) which never has tandoori chicken. (Bengali fish does indeed have bones, wherever.)

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                  Royal Bengal
                  313 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                    They (Bengal Cafe) did have tandoori chicken. It was pretty good.

                    1. re: nasilemak

                      Nasilemak, my comment was about Royal Bengal (at 313 Mass Ave) not Bengal Cafe (at 2263 Mass Ave) - they are different places.

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                      Royal Bengal
                      313 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                      1. re: mmocpi

                        yes, i know that it's 2 different spots.

                        1. re: nasilemak

                          I'm confused, nasilemak,as you said Bengal Cafe in Centra lSquare, but Bengal Cafe is in north Cambridge! Could you clarify? Thanks!

                          1. re: fredid

                            Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to my experience at Royal Bengal, the spot that is close to Miracle of Science and the Korean market.

                            -----
                            Royal Bengal
                            313 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                2. re: mmocpi

                  Another fan of Royal Bengal. I usually avoid buffets but this one is fun to share with friends who love them.

                  Penny
                  http://www.bostonzest.com/

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                  Royal Bengal
                  313 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                3. haven't been there in a while, but I loved the South Indian vegetarian buffet at Dosa Temple in Ashland. Outstanding mix of items including a few I'd never seen before in a buffet (beets, Chinese-Indian potatoes). Plus it comes with a dosa. Festive deep 'burbs strip mall atmosphere adds to the experience.

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                  Dosa Temple
                  59 Pond St, Ashland, MA 01721

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: skordalia

                    I tried Dosa Temple last week, I was in a swarm of 100 Indians coming right out a service at the nearby temple, what an experience!

                    The buffet was pretty interesting. Had a great time. The dosa wasn't very great in my opinion, I think for the rush, they made them slightly ahead of time. I'm sure a made to order one would of been much much better. The buffet items were truly Madras items. Sambar and Rasam, Coconut Chutney and Mint Chutney, Medhu Vadai and Iddly, Roti (labeled Naan), an interesting Lemon pickle (instead of Mango), a "Kootu" dish, some "wet" veggies, Idli Manchurian, Carrot Halwa, it goes on and on.... There are 3 buffet tables!

                    Again, very authentic, but the taste needs work. It's somewhat institutionalized in flavor, not being spicy enough actually, and one of the dishes that had cream had too much of it. Still, I would go back just because it's so authentic. Some places people review are like "it was just like I stepped in Chennai!" But this place is definitely the reverse, they brought Chennai to Ashland. It is a rather dumpy place to be honest. I think it's average but satisfying Madras food that is the real deal. Judging from the buffet, I suspect ordering off the menu would be a bit hit and miss but you could try tailoring your order.

                    I'm going to try Udupi Bhravan in Lowell next, I heard it's better than the one in Shrewsbury.

                    The search for the ultimate tiffen room in Boston goes on!

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                    Udupi
                    378 Maple Ave, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

                    Dosa Temple
                    59 Pond St, Ashland, MA 01721

                    1. re: tatsu

                      Funny- I finally went back to the temple this weekend. I still really like it. you seem to have much more experience with this cuisine than I do- to me the flavors there have been very different from any other Indian buffets I've been to. Revelatory, in fact. I guess I just never had Madras food anywhere else.

                      fyi the menu today, apart from the vadai and iddly and chutnies, was 100% different from the dishes you list and 100% different from my visit a year ago, so it seems like they keep the buffet in somewhat of a rotation.

                      And though it was quite busy with large, happy families, there was no big post-temple rush (and the dosa were quite fresh and tasty). Everyone there, including the staff, seems cheerier than most of the restaurants I go to, which perhaps influences the highly positive feelings I have about the place.

                      if this is what institutional chennai food tastes like I would love to find the inspired genius version somewhere- so definitely post what you discover!

                      1. re: skordalia

                        I'm a bit torn about my first experience at Dosa Temple like I say. It's amazing we have it, but I think the level could be higher.

                        I actually am looking for a "Tiffin Room" type of service, which is more made to order.

                        Some examples are: http://www.saravanabhavan.com or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mavalli_...

                        The Tiffen meal is interesting, you can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffin

                        From my research, everything says Udupi Bhavan should be a bit better, I'll find out soon!

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                        Udupi
                        378 Maple Ave, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

                        Dosa Temple
                        59 Pond St, Ashland, MA 01721

                        1. re: skordalia

                          I found more links
                          http://www.mavallitiffinrooms.com/gal...
                          http://www.travbuddy.com/MTR-Mavalli-...

                          So that's the real deal

                    2. Food should be served hot; call the Weymouth Board of Health and complain. That is my pet peeve about buffets.

                      1. I finally got to the Kebab Factory and it was excellent especially if you know about the secret parking area! Really good food, very tasty and all the meats was very tender apart from the chiken in the Tikka Masala. Not sure how indian the Spicy Cajun Shrimp was but it was really good. Excellent service, I like the big waterglasses and you get linen napkins AT LUNCH! I was expecting the bill to be at least $9.95 but much to my surprise it was only $7.95. Great value for the money.

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                        The Kebab Factory
                        414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Ferrari328

                          We really enjoyed our trip to the Kebab Factory a while back. I particularly enjoyed the Hyderabadi eggplant with chilies, sesame, peanuts and tamarind. Good stuff.

                          -----
                          The Kebab Factory
                          414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

                          1. re: bear

                            Has anyone been to Rani in Coolidge Corner? I know that they have a lunch buffet but I have never been there.

                            1. re: lmuller

                              I can't say I even like there menu a la carte. I went twice a couple years ago and never went back.

                              1. re: lmuller

                                It's not great. It's the nearest Indian buffet to me now that Rangoli is gone, but it would never occur to me to go there for lunch.

                          2. Any experiences with Bombay Cafe on Mass Ave. near Berklee?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nightsky

                              Quite mediocre.

                            2. To answer the question in the title of the thread: Not at Cafe of India in Harvard Square. I just ate there, and it was awful. There was a decent dahi bhalla, a rendition of caesar salad with potatoes (and a plate of omelet rectangles nearby) that looked too weird to try, dried out pakoras, an oily potato-and-other-veggies dish on a large tawa (pan), rajma, chole, tandoori chicken, and chicken tikka. Very little variety. Everything was watery and tasteless. The first piece of tandoori chicken I tried had the bright red color that the unwritten code of Indian restaurateurs in the U.S. seems to require, but no flavor. The second was equally bright, but packed with taste -- the gamy taste of good chicken starting to go bad. Although the restaurant was open for business when I walked in
                              early (at about 11:30), no naan appeared till I was almost done. The only other diner, a man in a checked shirt (striper in disguise?), left before he got his naan.

                              The taste of that last piece of chicken was so strong in my mouth, even after drinking water, that I popped into Hi-Rise next door and masked it with an almond macaroon. Two weeks ago I'd had the buffet at Kebab Factory. Although I hadn't been overwhelmed by that lunch (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7403... ) , I have to say that it was overwhelmingly superior to the one at Cafe of India.

                              -----
                              The Kebab Factory
                              414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

                              Cafe of India
                              52 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                I hit KF again this week and was VERY pleased again.

                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                  I was very disappointed in my last trip to the Cafe of India buffet, which is a shame because I swear I remember that it used to be much better than it is now.

                                  -----
                                  Cafe of India
                                  52 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    I, too, remember it as being better in the past.