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Best Indian Takeout or Delivery near Harvard / Porter

ebaba May 3, 2012 08:45 AM

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. c
    cambridgedoctpr RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 11:57 AM

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

    1. a
      antimony RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 12:03 PM

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: antimony
        yarm RE: antimony May 31, 2012 07:24 AM

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


      2. f
        FoodDabbler RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 12:41 PM

        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
          justbeingpolite RE: FoodDabbler May 3, 2012 01:02 PM

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


        2. StriperGuy RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 12:54 PM

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

          10 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy
            chickendhansak RE: StriperGuy May 3, 2012 01:02 PM

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

            1. re: chickendhansak
              gourmaniac RE: chickendhansak May 3, 2012 01:33 PM

              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
                chickendhansak RE: gourmaniac May 3, 2012 02:44 PM

                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
                  maillard RE: gourmaniac May 31, 2012 07:30 AM

                  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
                    ebaba RE: maillard May 31, 2012 03:22 PM

                    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
                      maillard RE: ebaba Jun 1, 2012 08:39 AM

                      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
                        FoodDabbler RE: maillard Jun 1, 2012 08:56 PM

                        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
                          jgg13 RE: FoodDabbler Jun 1, 2012 09:23 PM

                          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
                            maillard RE: jgg13 Jun 2, 2012 04:12 AM

                            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
                  Dave MP RE: chickendhansak May 30, 2012 05:51 PM

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


              2. chickendhansak RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 01:00 PM

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

                1. Bob Dobalina RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 01:55 PM

                  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. e
                    ebaba RE: ebaba May 3, 2012 05:58 PM

                    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
                      barleywino RE: ebaba May 4, 2012 02:01 AM

                      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
                        Bob Dobalina RE: barleywino May 4, 2012 06:41 AM

                        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
                          FoodDabbler RE: Bob Dobalina May 4, 2012 06:56 AM

                          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
                            bobot RE: FoodDabbler Jun 2, 2012 05:06 AM

                            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
                          FoodDabbler RE: barleywino May 4, 2012 06:41 AM

                          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
                            barleywino RE: FoodDabbler May 4, 2012 07:02 AM

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

                          2. re: barleywino
                            ebaba RE: barleywino May 4, 2012 07:21 AM

                            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
                              chickendhansak RE: barleywino May 4, 2012 12:30 PM

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

                              1. re: chickendhansak
                                barleywino RE: chickendhansak May 4, 2012 12:55 PM

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

                                1. re: barleywino
                                  chickendhansak RE: barleywino May 7, 2012 02:59 PM

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

                          3. k
                            katzzz RE: ebaba May 4, 2012 06:35 AM

                            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
                              FoodDabbler RE: katzzz May 4, 2012 07:01 AM

                              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
                                Boston_Otter RE: katzzz May 4, 2012 09:48 AM

                                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
                                  chickendhansak RE: Boston_Otter May 4, 2012 12:28 PM

                                  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
                                    Moopheus RE: chickendhansak May 4, 2012 12:40 PM

                                    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. g
                                greenTara RE: ebaba May 4, 2012 09:34 AM

                                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
                                  FoodDabbler RE: greenTara May 4, 2012 09:46 AM

                                  "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
                                    greenTara RE: FoodDabbler May 4, 2012 12:40 PM

                                    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
                                      FoodDabbler RE: greenTara May 4, 2012 01:29 PM

                                      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
                                        greenTara RE: FoodDabbler May 4, 2012 01:35 PM

                                        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
                                          FoodDabbler RE: greenTara May 4, 2012 01:37 PM

                                          Is there YouTube footage of you doing the dhokla dance?

                                2. m
                                  MXG RE: ebaba May 4, 2012 01:47 PM

                                  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
                                    ebaba RE: MXG May 4, 2012 02:17 PM

                                    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
                                      FoodDabbler RE: ebaba May 4, 2012 02:23 PM

                                      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
                                        MXG RE: FoodDabbler May 4, 2012 06:55 PM

                                        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
                                          Sugar04 RE: MXG May 7, 2012 12:33 PM

                                          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
                                            Bob Dobalina RE: Sugar04 May 7, 2012 01:23 PM

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

                                  2. e
                                    ebaba RE: ebaba May 26, 2012 04:43 PM

                                    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
                                      MXG RE: ebaba May 31, 2012 12:08 PM

                                      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!

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