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Best Indian Takeout or Delivery near Harvard / Porter

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  • ebaba May 3, 2012 08:45 AM
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I've searched the board but am coming up with Diva and Namaskar -- both of which seem to have closed? I'd love to find great takeout or delivery for basics like tikka masala, aloo naan, pakora. Thank you!

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  1. tamardin bay has good food, and i get take out regularly and eat outside of Au Bon Pain.

    1. India Palace, in Union Square. Not going to win any awards for creativity, but good, cheap, and very consistent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: antimony

        I second this. India Palace is solid and has never let us down.


      2. I second Tamarind Bay. They deliver as well (look at their website). They have the only Indisn food in the Harvard-Porter area that's worth having.

        1 Reply
        1. re: FoodDabbler

          Kebab Factory is in Somerville, but delivers to Cambridge and Somerville.


        2. Kebab and Tandoor and Guru the Caterer probably both deliver to those locals and have pretty decent chow.

          10 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            Note that Guru closes at 7:30 p.m. I don't think it delivers except in a catering context, though.

            1. re: chickendhansak

              I don't get the Guru love. It's been OK on two visits but nothing special. I prefer Masala and Kebeb factory in the area. Wish we has some of the Lowell/Chelmford places nearby.

              1. re: gourmaniac

                I more or less agree about Guru, but it is still one of the better places in the immedate area mentioned and can be a bit different in terms of what is served. It isn't much of an option for me in the evenings because I don't typically eat that early.

                1. re: gourmaniac

                  I like Guru pretty well, but I check the menu before going, since their stuff is pretty hit or miss. In general the vegetarian dishes are good and the chicken dishes are awful (mostly because they use white meat chicken, which turns into little cubes of sawdust). I haven't had the goat curry yet. Their vegetable pakora are fantastic. Best I've had in Boston so far.

                  1. re: maillard

                    We loved both chicken dishes we ordered -- the white meat hadn't turned to sawdust by any stretch. Better and more moist in the chicken mushroom curry.
                    We should have ordered the pakora for the baby instead of the biryani (which he loved until hitting a particularly spicy bite) -- will do next time.

                    1. re: ebaba

                      Hm, yeah, I do remember the chicken mushroom curry being better than other chicken dishes I've had (sadly, the vindaloo was the worst by far). I just generally prefer dark meat chicken in indian dishes. Especially since I always have leftovers and things just get more dried out upon reheating.

                      Definitely try out the pakora! So tasty...

                      1. re: maillard

                        Vindaloo is always the worst by far in any Boston area restaurant, since what they pass off as vindaloo is a corruption of the noble original.

                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                          Just because the uk/us bastardization isn't remotely like the real thing (e.g potatoes) doesn't mean that it is necessarily bad

                          1. re: jgg13

                            I definitely can enjoy a good corrupt vindaloo (my favorite is from India Gourmet), but this just didn't taste good. No idea as to its authenticity (though there were potatoes).

                2. re: chickendhansak

                  According to the website, Guru closes at 8 PM, not 7:30. Maybe a new change?


              2. Masala in Teele Square and Kebab Factory (Kirkland St. / Washington St./Beacon) are both decent. Both are on Foodler if you use that.

                1. Namaskar has closed. Diva had an adjacent lounge that is closed and turning into a falafel place - Diva, the main restaurant, is still there, but there is no reason to get food there - not that good, but a fun scene for the nearby undergrads. (Woops and high-fives over the adjacent dinner table punctuated my last ever visit there some years ago.)

                  Masala in Teele gets a vote - I like Guru too, esp. for veg dishes.

                  What about the place right in Porter? India Pavilion? Haven't been, but it's been there a while.

                  Super-cheap in Inman is Punjabi Dhaba, which still is decent to me, for what it is.

                  1. Thank you so much -- I'd forgotten about Tamarind Bay, we ate there years ago and loved it. And otherwise it'll be Kebab Factory I think. Masala when we feel like heading further afield?
                    Will report back!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: ebaba

                      Just avoid the chicken lahore kofta at Kebab Factory. Sauce is delicious but the chicken meatballs have been spoiled on 2 occasions that I've ordered it.

                      1. re: barleywino

                        That's gross. Aren't they cooked in the sauce? Means sauce is spoiled too.

                        I am in FoodDabbler's court - don't understand the love this place gets.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          As has been discussed here and there on this board, many Indian restaurants in the area cook their meats, etc., and their sauces separately. That is what allows them to offer those grid-like menus where you can pick lamb, chicken, shrimp, whatever, and a sauce to go with it -- saagwala, vindaloo, whatever. The final dish is assembled before serving. It's a practice I abhor, but others here seem willing to forgive.

                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                            This is why I prefer Guru- he doesn't do this, which is why he only has a few dishes a day. If you ever talk to him, he'll tell you it's one of the main reasons he started his own place.

                        2. re: barleywino

                          I am in a minority here, but I rate Kebab Factory as mediocre, at best, for dinner. The offerings on the menu are largely conventional and uninspired -- unlike the several unusual things on the menu at Tamarind Bay -- and often the food is downright bad. Their lunch buffet is reasonable, though. The only really spectacular thing I've eaten there is their rasmalai -- when it's fresh. The little disks of cheese (from a paneer base) have a nice, clean, milky taste, their texture is soft, not rubbery, and the liquid they sit in is appropriately caramelized.

                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                            i like the weekend lunch buffet and the kali mirch ke tikkey kebabs

                          2. re: barleywino

                            This is enough to keep us away, I think. Tamarind Bay it is! It gets more love anyways and if they deliver I'm sold.

                            1. re: barleywino

                              OTOH, I've had the chicken kofta many times in their lunch buffet and it has been completely fine.

                              1. re: chickendhansak

                                hmm, i've been to their weekend buffet numerous times but never seen the chicken lahore kofta there... maybe on weekdays?

                                1. re: barleywino

                                  I normally go on weekdays, and only rarely at weekends, so: probably.

                          3. Passage to India in Porter Sq. offers good versions of the basics you're looking for. I've never had anything there that blew me away, but then I've never had anything awful either. It's where I go for Indian takeout, simply because it's the closest Indian restaurant to my house and it always hits the expected notes.
                            I'm curious about Darul Kabab, the Indian-plus-other place that opened in the former KFC location north of Porter, but I'm apprehensive about an Indian restaurant that also does pizza and burgers. Annapurna, right across the street from Darul Kabab was OK the one time I tried it, but a liked it a little less than Passage to India.
                            I'll add that I was favorably impressed by the buffet at Masala, but that's a bit of a ways from Harvard/Porter. Most days, I still think Kebab Factory is the best Indian buffet around.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: katzzz

                              Look for Prav's wonderfully depressing review of Darul Kebab on this board. My own experiences there have been slightly better than his, but not by a whole lot. I still have a soft spot for them, though, for their excellent early-morning hospitality during the one-day cricket world cup final. Snacks, chai, etc., appeared from time to time, as did breakfast when it was time for that.

                              1. re: katzzz

                                Darul Kabab: I've had mediocre kebabs and terrible appetizers (pakoras and samosas still frozen), but had some really decent curries and such there. If nothing else, the DK Naan, for $3.50, is a must try. It's massive -- twice the size of any naan I've seen -- and covered in dried fruit & nuts and a sweet orange glaze.

                                The pizzas are pretty much exactly like the pizzas they used to serve in our high school cafeteria.

                                1. re: Boston_Otter

                                  I agree -- that they even serve that pizza is bonkers. It's just terrible. I think my favourite meal there was a saag aloo with a keema naan. Fresh and good value.

                                  1. re: chickendhansak

                                    I've been to Darul Kebab a couple of times for lunch because it is near my office. My impression has been that the basic curries and dals and breads are not bad--okay for a cheap(ish) lunch if you're in the area, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

                              2. I've been to the Maharaja (Harvard Sq. in the Bombay Cafe location on JFK), once for dinner and once for the weekend buffet ($12 I think) and really liked it a lot. For dinner they do an interesting variation on the vegetable pakora where the spinach leaves somehow maintain their shape (sort of flat) and crispy. My DC had a passable chicken saag. The Sat. lunch buffet has a lot of unique-ish dishes as well. They make these little street food delicacies (dough shells filled with soup?). They don't seem to deliver but do take out.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: greenTara

                                  "dough shells filled with soup"

                                  You mean the crisp, puffed things (puris) that you pierce yourself and add tamarind water to? Or is this something else? If the former, they're called pani-puri (literally water-puri), or golgappa.

                                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                                    Yes, exactly that! They fill them with other stuff than tamarind water too I think. While we're digressing, do you know what the name of the puffy rice-flour cornbread like confection is that I have seen on Indian buffets? They have it on the buffet at Bombay Mahal in Waltham too. Might have coconut on top? Love that stuff but have no idea how to order it without doing some kind of belly dance.

                                    1. re: greenTara

                                      I think you mean dhokla: http://chefinyou.com/2009/07/khaman-d...
                                      It's usually made from chickpea flour, although there are semolina versions, too.

                                      You're right that pani-puri has more than tamarind water in it. You generally throw in potatoes in tiny dice, chopped onion, a chickpea or two, etc.

                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                        Dhokla! You're right, they are actually chickpea not rice flour. So thank you, FoodDabbler. Saved me from having to dance around describing it!

                                        1. re: greenTara

                                          Is there YouTube footage of you doing the dhokla dance?

                                2. We always get takeout (not delivery) from Tanjore in Harvard Square and have been consistently happy with it. They've got outstanding basics and I love their masala dosa + sambar. Further afield, in Arlington, I'd recommend Punjab.

                                  I'm not on the "Kebob Factory" or Tamarind Bay bandwagon here. I think Kebob Factory has adequate food combined with an unfortunate name (can't get over it -- I don't want to eat food made in a factory!). And Tamarind Bay, which began serving some of the most sublime Indian food I've ever eaten has declined in quality over time and has problems with consistency -- the last time I ate there, several dishes were *greasy*.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: MXG

                                    I am easily swayed... I like their menu (easier for me to crack), I see aloo naan, and I prefer their prices to Tamarind Bay. We were last there when they first opened, in 2004 I think, and I remember it being tasty but a bit "challenging". That may not be the right word but it didn't feel familiar, and sometimes familiarity trumps the excitement of new flavors.
                                    We'll give Tanjore a try this weekend, thank you.

                                    1. re: ebaba

                                      Let me try to sway you back to the good side. I've found the food at Tanjore stale and inedible on multiple occasions. It's not a place I'd even consider.

                                      I agree that Tamarind Bay can be slightly inconsistent and that its prices are a bit high. But these are minor deficiencies in my view.

                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                        I guess we've had different experiences.

                                        We usually order kinda my-kid-friendly "comfort food" there: chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, aloo gobi, masala dosa, samosas. And the people there are are quite nice, too.

                                        1. re: MXG

                                          There was only one other mention early in the thread, but I am consistently happy with Passage to India in Porter Square as well. They have all the stand-bys, sometimes interesting specials and are very consistent. The spicing level also seems accurately adjusted to what a diner requests...

                                          1. re: Sugar04

                                            That's the place I meant that I have not been to - Passage to India.

                                  2. Thanks for all of your suggestions -- a few weeks back we ordered from Tanjore and found it tasty but bland and not particularly interesting. This is not to say it was bad, just not memorable.
                                    However! Tonight we got insanely reasonably priced takeout from Guru and it was absolutely delicious. We're thrilled to have found a place nearby. We ordered chicken tikka masala, a chicken mushroom curry, a potato side and chickpea side, and the chicken biryani. Terrifically spiced and seasoned and incredibly filling but not heavy in the least. Truly yummy and I can't wait to eat the ample leftovers for dinner again tomorrow.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ebaba

                                      Guru does have some good food -- I especially like their fresh, spicy green mango relish. I think it always seemed to be closed around the time I wanted to order takeout.

                                      That said, I went back to Tanjore and found out they now served pathra (also known as alu wadi), which are rolled up taro leaves dipped in chickpea flour and cooked. Of course, I had to get those and they were delicious!