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.
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.
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 bottomless mimosas.
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.
Thanal Indian Tavern
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.
Ekta Indian Cuisine
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.
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.
New Delhi Indian Restaurant
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?
Saffron Indian Cuisine
3240 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19140
Saffron is amongst the best Indian restaurants Philadelphia has to offer. Saffron Indian Cuisine is a gem that provides an unforgettable dining experience. As you step inside, you are enveloped in an inviting and vibrant atmosphere with warm colors and tasteful decor. Saffron Indian Cuisine is renowned for its mouthwatering signature dishes that showcase the authentic flavors of Indian cuisine. From fragrant biryanis and curries to delectable tandoori specialties, each dish is carefully crafted using fresh, high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Don’t miss their famous butter chicken, tender lamb kebabs, and aromatic saffron-infused biryani. With friendly and attentive staff, Saffron Indian Cuisine provides excellent service. I highly recommend visiting.
4051 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Nestled near Lee Park, Virasat Haveli is a charming restaurant that captivates visitors with its unique ambiance and authentic Indian charm. The interior features intricate artwork and traditional architectural elements. The welcoming atmosphere makes it an ideal venue for special occasions. Virasat Haveli is celebrated for its exquisite menu, featuring many traditional Indian delicacies. They offer Indo-Chinese dishes such as chicken fried rice and the Gobi Manchurian, or you can indulge in South Indian delicacies like dosa. My favorite was the goat curry, which uses authentic spices and an age-old recipe. They also have vegetarian options to choose from.
International Foods & Spices
4203 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
International Foods & Spices is a grocery store that offers a diverse selection of South Asian items, as well as great ready-to-go meals and convenience items. This store caters to the culinary needs of local residents and food enthusiasts. They provide a unique shopping experience, featuring shelves stocked with a wide variety of products from around the world. From exotic spices and seasonings to specialty sauces, oils, and authentic ingredients, you’ll find a treasure trove of options for home cooks and adventurous food lovers. Whether you’re looking for specific ingredients to recreate traditional recipes or seeking inspiration to explore new flavors, International Foods & Spices is a go-to destination.
Indian Kitchen Lovash
236-238 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Indian Kitchen Lovash is near the Theatre of The Living Arts. The ambiance is warm and inviting. It’s the perfect setting for enjoying an authentic Indian meal while gathering with friends and family. The exceptional menu consists of a diverse selection of Indian dishes that showcase the rich flavors of the cuisine. Their commitment to using fresh, top-notch ingredients in every dish they serve is unmatched. Whether you’re craving samosas, Thali, Roti, Naan, or their mouthwatering Tandoor selections, Lovash has it all. What’s even better is that Lovash now allows BYOB, allowing you to pair your favorite beverage with your meal. So, if you’re looking for one of the best Indian restaurants in Philadelphia, consider Lovash.
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When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Philly.eater.com and Tripadvisor.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 6 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.