I still remember having my first chicken tikka masala in my suburban hometown, which was also a desolate landscape for Indian cuisine. Luckily, Indian food is an up-and-coming staple of Philadelphia, and more local shops are popping up every month.
Now, a few years after digging into my first curry pot, I’d put Indian at the top of my tier list. Not only is it ridiculously filling and I can usually make a few meals out of one portion, but the variety of spices and flavors in each dish is like an adventure for my taste buds.
Although Philadelphia is not known for its Indian fare, and it’s definitely not up to par with authentic home cooked meals, there are plenty of options that are good in a pinch when you don’t know what to order for dinner. Read on to satisfy your cravings and your hunger.
Best Indian Restaurants in Philadelphia
- New Delhi
- Desi Village
- Indian Sizzler
- Bombay Dhaba
- Masala Kitchen
4004 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 386-1941
Indian is a kind of food where it’s dangerously tempting to grab a second…or third…or maybe even fourth helping. Sometimes, I have to stop myself from eating the entire container of rice when I order takeout.
But you’ll almost definitely fall for the temptation of New Delhi’s buffet. Now that you can dine indoors again, you can experience one of the few Indian buffets in Philadelphia.
So, fill your plate with samosas, tandoori chicken and lamb vindaloo, and then do it again until you’re too full to take another bite. I mean who doesn’t love endless food?
250 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 426-2277
In Fishtown, University City and Bryn Mahr is Ekta, the Reader’s Choice Winner of Best Indian Cuisine in Philadelphia. This is a big claim to make, but I think Ekta lives up to the acclaim.
Order delivery for a Friday night-in, or bring your own bottle to one of their three locations for a Saturday night out. The portions are even bigger than their title, and you can easily split an entree.
They have something for meat and seafood lovers and vegetarians alike, along with several vegan options, like Bhindi Masala, Alu Gobi and Baigan Bharta.
1518 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: (215) 563-2917
Amma’s is one of those restaurants where all of the patrons are families, and it looks like everyone is there for a celebration. Well, the food sure will give you something to celebrate.
This fairly new restaurant in Center City is usually pretty busy, so expect to wait a bit for your food, but the wait is definitely worth it. Start off with a refreshing mango lassi. Then, order idli (savory, donut-shaped cakes made by steaming fermented black lentils and rice) and dosa (the most photogenic and obnoxiously large crepe you’ll ever consume.)
Save room for heaping platters of butter chicken and paneer tikka masala. This traditional South Indian restaurant literally translates to “mother,” which is appropriate given it tastes like home cooking.
205 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 545-4633
Indeblue is not only my personal favorite Indian restaurant, but it’s also my favorite restaurant in the city. I first discovered this gem a few years ago during Center City Restaurant Week, and I’ve been back multiple times ever since.
The inside of this sleek and stylish restaurant and bar in the Gayborhood is almost as nice as the service. As you’re imbibing on a chai sangria or a ginger old fashioned, take in the atmosphere and the appetizers, like chicken makhani poutine or tikka naan pizza. But you’ll have to take five when you see the entrees, especially the malai kofta.
They also have a tasting menu all the time, so if you miss CCRW, don’t fret. It’s just a little more money. But you can save that coin and join them for weekend brunch or happy hour daily from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
Jyoti Indian Bistro
2817 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (267) 457-2137
Jyoti Indian Bistro isn’t just a restaurant; it’s also a brand of ready-to-eat meals carried in grocers, Jyoti Natural Foods. You can find their products at popular health food stores, like Whole Foods Market, so you can make their entrees at home.
However, if you want to take a short trip outside of the city, you can go to their bistro in Mt. Airy. Enjoy a vegetarian or non-vegetarian platter any day of the week or one of their daily specials Monday through Saturday.
On Monday, get the chicken curry. Tuesday, get paneer makhani. Wednesday, get chicken saag. Thursday, get masala salmon. Friday, get malai kofta. And lastly, on Saturday get vegetable korma to cure the Sunday blues.
1920 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (267) 519-2001
Veda might not be the most traditional, but it’s definitely the most trendy! This chic bar and restaurant will have you swooning over the decor and the food.
Sit downstairs in their spacious dining room, and come hungry because you’re going to want to split some spicy corn soup, crispy spinach chaat, vegetable biryani and goat cheese naan with mango chutney. Or go upstairs to Ek Jaam, the balcony bar, for a drunken lassi or mumbai mule.
And for the early risers and brunch enthusiasts reading this, they serve weekend brunch too, complete with a masala egg roast/omelet and $20 bottomless mimosas! I might need to come here to beat my current record of 5 mimosas.
4527 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone: (215) 382-6000
Looking for a hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant that focuses more on classic dishes than glitz and glamour? Look no further than Desi Village in West Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer delivery. If you live in the area, however, take a stroll down Baltimore Ave., one of the most bustling streets in the city. Just try not to get distracted along the way.
Or, if you’re like me and live on the other side of the city, you can travel over the bridge to pick it up. That way, it’s still fresh and hot, and you’ll get some exercise in. You especially won’t mind burning some calories after devouring some mutter paneer, goat achari or jumbo shrimp karahi.
710 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: (215) 922-1297
Fun fact: “tiffin” means a midday snack or light meal. But good luck eating a “light meal” here!
With multiple locations in Philadelphia (I usually go to the one in South Philly) and the surrounding suburbs, like Elkins Park and King of Prussia, Tiffin has an expanding reach. And you may be having an expanding waistline after digging into their saag paneer and curry pots.
Pro-tip: I recommend sticking to delivery, something I almost never say. The one time we went in person we were the only ones there, but the delivery man was super busy!
3651 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 386-7272
Just a few blocks away from Sitar is Indian Sizzler, not to be confused with a different Indian Sizzler in Newark, New Jersey.
When I asked for recommendations for the best Indian restaurants in Philadelphia, several people responded with Indian Sizzler. Not only do they deliver (within a 2 mile radius) but they’re open late until 11:30 pm!
Like a typical Indian restaurant, they have items such as tikka paratha rolls. But unlike an Indian restaurant, they also have some Mediterranean specialties, such as lamb gyros.
3601 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 222-0195
Third time’s a charm; Bombay Dhaba has three locations in Philadelphia, Malvern and Audobon for the audience in Montgomery County.
They’re perhaps the only Indian restaurant in the city with a pomegranate lassi, which really caught my eye. But what may have grabbed my attention even more is that they have Indo-Chinese food on the menu, including hokka noodles, szechuan fried rice and chili paneer.
But if you’re into more conventional Indian fare, you can stick to the classics. Still, I recommend branching out and trying some Indian street food, like vada pav (a sweet potato filled slider), coconut curry (no explanation needed) or kati rolls (an Indian style wrap).
1939 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 515-2511
Every time I walked past Thanal on my way home from work, the aroma was so intoxicating, I almost changed my dinner plans on multiple occasions. Eventually, after passing it so many times, I finally got it myself, and it exceeded my expectations.
If you’re looking for a date night spot in Center City, the sidewalk is covered by string lights, making the outdoor dining space very romantic. But if you’re like my boyfriend and me and you can’t muster up the energy to put on pants, don’t worry. They’ve got you covered with delivery as well.
From new takes on old classics, like spicy crab naan and chicken tikka tacos, to old takes on new classics, like clay pot oven tandoori wings and mutton curry, Thanal is pulling all the stops.
2046 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (267) 541-2063
I tried Ateethi per the recommendation of my boyfriend and my wallet when they were running a half priced promotion. While I still can’t believe I got enough chicken tikka masala to make two meals out of it for only $7, I’m even more shocked by how satisfied I was with my dish.
Located in the heart of Rittenhouse Square, Ateethi is a family-owned restaurant that combines North and South Indian flavors. Although they are currently only offering takeout and delivery, you will still taste the love in every dish.
Admittedly, their menu is on the smaller side, but they have a few tricks up their sleeves, like a banana honey lassi!
246 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 925-1444
You’re having good karma if you’re eating at Karma (sorry, that was the best pun I could come up with). This Old City restaurant and bar is perfect for an intimate date night or a large party.
Gather in their upstairs dance hall for your catered events, or sit downstairs in the buzzing dining room for an upscale dinner. Fair warning: it is moderately loud in here, but the energy is palpable.
The food is a little on the pricier side in comparison to other restaurants on this list, but for lamb chettinad, goan fish curry and karma fish fry, it’s no surprise it’s more expensive.
1211 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 309-3301
Masala Kitchen (masalakitchenphilly.com)
After reading about Karma, you might be looking for something cheaper. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor or quality for price.
Masala Kitchen, a casual Indian street food joint, has two locations in Rittenhouse Square and Center City. Serving quick bites from lunchtime until late at night, this destination is your new go-to for those days when you’re back in the office and need a fast lunch or those nights when you’re back at the bar and need a rich meal.
You can get a chicken and rice platter, a masala chai and a lamb kebab kati roll for all under $20. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
As I’m eating my Trader Joe’s frozen tikka paneer and garlic naan for dinner while writing this, I feel like I may have lost all credibility. Sorry, I just didn’t feel like cooking today! But next time you’re lazy and don’t have any food in the fridge or freezer, you’re searching for a one-of-a-kind tasting menu or you just want some decadent comfort food, any of these restaurants are sure to hit the spot.
Just had Indian yesterday? Check out some of my other articles, like the best brunch spots in Philly.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave me a comment and I’ll check it out!
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.