What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Indian food? Too hot? Too spicy? Loaded with fat and unhealthy? If so, then you haven’t experienced Indian food recently! The cuisine contains many spices that have healing or medicinal properties, like ginger, garlic, green chiles and turmeric. Traditional Indian meals also include a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber. If you’ve never tried Indian food, Philadelphia has a plethora of options for you to treat your palate.

Karma Restaurant And Bar
114 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-1444

Located in Old City, Karma has received numerous awards, including the 2012 Excellence in Customer Satisfaction Award by Talk of the Town. Karma offers many authentic Indian dishes as well as several contemporary options. The dishes come from many regions of India and guests can customize them to their desired level of spice. Some of Karma’s best items include malai kofta, kandhari naan, vegetable biryani and mango lassi.

Laxmi’s Indian Grille (Manayunk)
4425 Main St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(215) 508-2120

Laxmi’s Indian Grille is a casual BYOB offering authentic Indian cuisine in the heart of Mananyunk. Laxmi’s (formerly Shaheen Indian Restaurant) offers a nice variety of dishes and will modify the spice level to your liking. Some of the best dishes are the vegetable somosas, shahi paneer, tikka masala, korma and garlic naan. Laxmi’s also has many vegetarian options and offers both take-out and delivery.

Mumbai Bistro
930 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 418-0444

If you’re health conscious, Mumbai Bistro is a great option for Indian food. The kitchen cooks with no butter or ghee, uses only zero percent trans fat vegetable oil and prepares and cooks all items fresh daily. It is also sensitive to those with food allergies and offers vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free options everyday. Prices are reasonable, with entrees starting at just $4.25. Some of the best dishes at Mumbai Bistro are chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and gobi masala. Mumbai Bistro is very small, so this location may be best for take-out.

Sitar India
60 S. 38th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 662-0818

Located in the University City area, Sitar India offers a great variety of mostly northern Indian food. For anyone who has never tried Indian food, Sitar India offers a substantial buffet at a reasonable price. Selections on the buffet vary and include meat, vegetarian and gluten-free items. Its most popular items include chicken-do-piaza, chicken saag and chicken tikka masala. Be sure to try the sweet chai or mango juice (included in the buffet) and gulab jamuns for dessert — if you have room!

Related: Top Buffets In Philadelphia

Tashan Restaurant And Lounge
777 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 687-2170

Looking for the flavors of India but want something a bit different? Tashan is Hindi for “style” or “attitude,” and you’ll get a good dose of both at this hip Philadelphia establishment on South Broad. Tashan offers a fusion of the best Indian flavors mixed with global culinary influences. Try the goat cheese tafftaan, shikari Vermont quail or tandoori butter chicken, or try the chef’s tasting menu, which can be paired with wine selections.

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Maddie Wagner is a freelance writer covering all things Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.