Am posting here to encourage more current reviews of Indian restaurants in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Here's a summary of the ones in the western suburbs I have been to. My reviews pertain to lunch buffets. Your dinner experience may differ from the lunch buffet experience.
For best variety and selection, particularly with deserts is Taste of India in the Gateway Shopping Center in Wayne, PA. My most recent visit allowed me to choose from 11 deserts, ranging from several kinds of fresh fruits, to dairy deserts, to the usual sweets. Its carrot halwa or gazra halwa (spelling?) was very rich and mouth watering.
For the best homemade tasting food is Gateway to India in Frazer, PA.
The most overpriced in relation to its selection and quality if Jaipur in King of Prussia, PA. The restaurant charges $1 to $2 more than most other nearby Indian restuarants for its lunch buffets, and its quality and selection does not justify that higher price.
For the most consistently tasteful, providing good flavor with an element of richness, Gateway to India gets my vote. Excellent vegetable soup, small but decent salad selection, decent selection of main dishes for their lunch buffet and very artfully stored in beautiful serving bowls, very few and unremarkable deserts. Dosas with tasteful filling served with the lunch on a custom basis - mild mint chutney served on the side. Entrees were memorable, particularly their tadka dal and most other dishes. Unremarkable are their deserts. Excellent rice - flavorful and not oily.
Beautiful interior to the restaurant. Most dishes were memorable for their freshness and lack of any hint of sacrificing quality for quantity by adding cream or other additions to spread out the dish, which at times is my experience with some of the dishes at A Taste of India. Very hospitable servers and host.
Desi Village in King of Prussia - nice interior, large selection, and fresh tasting dishes. Have had minimal buffet experience there. Excellent samosas when they have them. Few and unremarkable deserts. Friendly staff.
Taste of India in Wayne is many people's favorites due to their large selection of buffet selections, including a large variety of salads and deserts. Excellent mulligatawney and very flavorful tomato soup. Chicken soup was unremarkable the last time I had it - tasted like something out of a can, decent, but not in the same league as their other dishes. Note that most of their dishes at the lunch buffet are quite spicy, full of flavor. One negative is that they tend to be gloppy, rich with cream, and oily, That can be viewed as a positive if you like alot of richness and flavor. The same dishes I have had elsewhere have been prepared with less cream, oil, and have been just as flavorful (comparison made to what Gateway to India does). Excellent deserts. This restaurant has alot of repeat customers. Some days during the week are quite busy, so during peak times, expect to have 10 people waiting in line in front of you at the buffet table! Worth the wait, though. I have noticed that in recent visits the chefs have been using alot of potatoes in their dishes to the exclusion of the other elements, i.e. Alu Gobi seemed to have a ration of potatoes to cauliflower of 5 to 1. Note that some people love the spice mixture that is infused in most dishes. I am one of those lovers! Also note that the chefs tend to intentionally embellish dishes, to make them more and better than many other restaurants. For example, the other day, instead of just serving plain brown lentils in one of its buffet dishes, red kidney beans were added (this addition improved the dish). Some of their deserts consist of interesting combinations of elements. Its chana masala consists of more than just chick peas, which is what the dish seems to be at the Himalayan Restaurant. Hard working staff.
Himalayan Restaurant in Frazer offers a very large selection. A bit less expensive than most other restaurants. Plain interior. Its soups are thin and not that flavorful. They do best with their main entrees. Its version of Chana Masala is not as rich as that of Taste of India. I'd say that the HR offers as large of a selection of salads, appetizers, deserts, entrees, etc. at its lunch buffet as any place I have been to.
Royal India in Frazer (this restaurant, HR, and Gateway to India are within 1/2 mile of each other on the same side of rte 30, the other name of Lancaster Ave) is at least $1 less than most other restaurants and bills itself as offering Indian-Chinese food. It looked like there were a few dishes that were Asian in content. The food smelled good and looked freshly made for a small crowd. Decent selection, but the lower price reflects the plainer interior and intention of the restaurant.
Jaipur in King of Prussia - the lunch buffet I partook of was a large disappointment. The best part of the buffet was the sambar which was very good, as was the Vada which was eaten with the Sambar. Warm Naan was brought to my table after I had eaten my salad and Sambar. Many food containers at the buffet station were near empty and the servers didn't seem concerned with restocking them. Two dishes in particular were heavily flavored with overly sweet tomato paste - the Tandori chicken and a vegetable dish. They were quite unsatisfactory. The saag chole had the taste of burned spices. Two deserts were offered, both unremarkable. This restaurant has a tastefully decored interior. The fact that this restaurant charges $1 to $2 more than surrounding Indian restaurants does not correspond to the quality of food and the selection of their lunch buffet.
I went to Amman's in Norristown once, and found its food very plain, light on oil, cream, and flavor. Dishes tasted very fresh, like the chef had prepared them just for a few people.
So, in summary, of those restaurants I have visited, for the best meal, I'd choose Gateway to India. For selection and taste, I'd go to Taste of India or Desi Village.
Will look forward to reviews by others on Indian restaurants in the far northern (Montgomeryville), and western suburbs (Exton), as well as Bensalem.
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