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.
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).
Voted top five in the Best Indian category of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 CityVoter awards, Laxmi's Indian Grille serves a range of dishes?from spicy meats to subtle vegetable stews?designed to please all palates. A perfume of fresh ginger, rose water, and house-made cottage cheese drifts from the bustling kitchen out into the dining room of the Main Street location, where vibrant paintings provide an elegant contrast to walls of rustic exposed stone. At both Main Street and the newly minted Tilden Street eatery, a clay tandoor oven is kept aflame throughout the day, enabling chefs to bake breads, meats, and underripe bananas to a golden patina.
Every morning at Jazmin Restaurant, chefs load morsels of freshly kneaded naan dough into the tandoor oven. The aroma of baking bread soon fills the dining room, mingling with the heady scents of curry and cumin that waft from grills sizzling with halal chicken and lamb. Chefs also flaunt seven vegetarian entrees that swap meat for lighter ingredients such as homemade cheese and lentils. To contrast the savory dishes, dining companions can share traditional Indian desserts of mango ice cream and mango custard, which stand as evidence of the mango’s worth beyond its inclusion in fruit hats.