Welcoming guests with an ornate entryway with a curlicue chandelier and bright orange walls is just one way Shahi Palace treats its guests like royalty. The ambiance continues into the dining room, with gold walls, red accents, and matching carpeting. Whether diners are in the banquet room celebrating a wedding, a birthday, or the beginning of National Adopt a Cat Month, or even if they're there to enjoy the weekend brunch buffet, they can break rounds of naan over Indian and Pakistani dishes that are 100% halal.
Executive chef Vipul Bhasin brings more than 18 years of global cooking experience to Coriander. Eschewing many modern marvels of meal making, Bhasin cooks his cuisine with traditional Indian appliances such as the tandoor oven, the kadai cast-iron pot, and the Aishwarya Rai smoldering gaze in his one-man quest to put microwave repairmen out of work. This passion for tradition is reflected in Coriander's décor: adorning the brightly painted walls are handmade tapestries representing different regions of India, including an astonishingly lifelike one that resembles a parking lot outside an Indian restaurant (look closely and it almost seems to move). Patrons can also unfurl the bamboo blinds between each of the restaurant's booths for a stronger secret-sharing shield than stage whispering.
Bombay Local Pizza's chefs put a twist on Italy's beloved dish by adding Indian ingredients like paneer. The restaurant's selection of more than 20 pies includes a pizza topped with samosa filling and the Bombay Masala?seasoned with Indian spices used in traditional street foods?along with more traditional options such as tomato basil and white pizzas. Indian ingredients like mint-coriander chutney also show up on the eatery's sub sandwiches, which include the masala eggplant and the barbecue cheddar melt.
Khyber Indian Fusion's Goa-born chef swirls the flavors of various savory Indian dishes together into a single menu. A charcoal-fueled oven imparts a hint of its smokiness and all of its long-winded stories to the chicken malai kebab, a roasted poultry dish marinated in almond, fresh cream, and signature herbs ($11.99). Golden orbs of fried veggie dumplings languor in a mild manchurian sauce ($10.49), and curry leaves and coconut batter freshwater shellfish in a Goan-style curry ($15.99). The Mumtaaz goat biryani simmers cubes of its titular meat over a tame fire with basmati rice and indian herbs ($14.49) for a slow-cooked dish that leaves tongues as happy as a clown at a makeup counter.
The sprawling menu at Bordoloi's showcases traditional recipes of North and South Indian cuisine. Within the family-oriented environment of the restaurant, patrons seated at spacious booths and tables can dig into delectable chunks of marinated chicken and lamb kebabs fresh from a tandoor oven. Additionally, the restaurant offers a lunch buffet complete with a station dedicated to chaat?popular Indian street foods.
Indian cuisine made with seasonal ingredients and an American flair.
When to Go: Swing by on a Thursday night if you fancy live sitar and tabla music, but go any other night if you prefer humming your own tunes while you chew.
Inside Tip: The restaurant is BYOB, so pick up your favorite bottle of wine or six-pack of beer before dinner.
Chaat: savory Indian snack food made of potatoes, fried bread, and a spice medley that typically includes dried mango powder, cumin seeds, and black salt.
Paneer: a fresh cheese made from boiling cow's milk or water buffalo's milk and curdling it with whey—the dish dates back to at least 6,000 BC.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Test your crafting skills at All Fired Up (602 Haddon Avenue), a studio devoted to paint-your-own pottery.
After: See what's happening at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike), a historic 1930s venue that hosts musical acts and theater performances.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: If you're in Philly for the evening, head to Indeblue's sister location (205 S. 13th Street).