PHLReview

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is a food spread from Indian Char House.
8.5

Indian Char House

Indian

West Philadelphia

$$$$Perfect For:KidsQuiet MealsWalk-InsKeeping It Kind Of HealthyLunchVegetariansCasual Weeknight DinnerDate NightSerious Take-Out Operation
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West Philly is underrated when it comes to its food scene. We bet you didn’t even realize it’s home to one of the city’s 25 Best Restaurants and one of the the top bagels, along with some fantastic Ethiopian and Soul Food spots. So it’s only kind of surprising that our favorite Indian restaurant is in the same neighborhood. Indian Char House is essential—not just because it fits the distinctly laidback, unpretentious Philly vibe. It’s a great Indian restaurant in a town that has few on the same level. 

This is a food spread at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is a veggie biryani at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This a lamb chops dish at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is the garlic naan at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is the seafood mixed grill at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is a food spread at Indian Char House.
This is a veggie biryani at Indian Char House.
This a lamb chops dish at Indian Char House.
This is the garlic naan at Indian Char House.
This is the seafood mixed grill at Indian Char House.

The menu at Indian Char House is flat-out excellent. While classic options stay true to their turmeric, cardamon, and garam masala-spiced origins, it’s the level of deep, immersive flavor in each bite that makes them feel new. The ginger in the fish biryani never overpowers it, and the yogurt marinade in the butter chicken makes it perfectly savory and tender. Most importantly, this level of consistency applies to the best items on the menu: anything they make on the grill. Standouts like the French lamb chops or the salmon, scallop, and shrimp mix arrive at the table sizzling hot and large enough to split with a few friends. You’ll find upwards of 20 items on the grill menu, and they include everything from seafood and paneer tikka to a whole chicken. Every dish is thoughtful and works beautifully, from the lightly charred lobster tail to the pillowy garlic naan, a dish that you’ll want to devour in 30 seconds.

This is the interior of Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

The casual space is plant-filled, with a TV on the wall and a mini fireplace. Families catch up over masala fries while friends drinking mango lassi excitedly hope the server is carrying their order every time they emerge from the kitchen in the back. Between the affordable mains (most are under $20) and $7 lunch platters that come with rice and a salad, nothing will overwhelm you once you get the bill—except maybe a feeling of wanting to stay put and order a fifth samosa. 

While they have delicious Indian staples and serve double portions of any comparable spot, it’s the dishes from the grill that make a meal here really impressive. Stop by on a Tuesday night when a slow-cooked chicken handi is calling your name, or take crispy pakoras and an aloo gobi home when the couch is instead.

Food Rundown

This is the onion naan at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Naan

You’ll want to be cuddled by this warm and buttery naan. There are five options on the menu, but the garlic and onion are the ones to go for. Both make every basmati rice, curry, or stew-filled bite more fragrant.

This is the veggie biryani at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Veggie Biryani

After we ate at Indian Char House for the first time, we had a dream about a jacuzzi full of veggie biryani. We can't guarantee you're destined for the same path. Expect mounds of saffron-steamed rice, caramelized onions, chilis, carrots, potatoes, and green beans. And to think of it every time you see a jacuzzi.

This is the butter chicken at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Butter Chicken

You’ll want to eat every spoonful of this savory and creamy butter sauce like a soup. The tender strips of marinated chicken are delicious. Ultimately, the dish has no faults other than it ends at some point.

This is the seafood mix grill at Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Seafood Mixed Grill

This seafood mix tosses smoky shrimp, salmon, and scallops on a bed of onions and peppers. We’ve had it a few times (okay, an embarrassing number), and it’s always been beautifully charred and juicy. Each bit has that traditional curry flavor but a hint of spice that gives it a little edge. And since the portions here are humongous, you can always save some for tomorrow and experience it all over again.

This is a lamb chop dish from Indian Char House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

French Lamb Chops

Everything from the grill comes out on a sizzling skillet. This means the first thing you notice about these lamb chops is their sizzle, followed by a wave of cilantro, ginger, and more spices. The chops are marinated in yogurt and cream, so they’re incredibly tender and rich in flavor. Order a few for the table (there are only three to an order).

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