With empty stomachs and a hankering for curry, four intrepid foodies embarked on a search to find the best Indian food in Provo. They trekked into the heart of downtown and found their way to Bombay House—whose reputation had long been known to locals—and India Palace—their scrappy competitor.
They took their place in the midst of this ancient rivalry and tasted the cuisine. There they judged the food, service and atmosphere of each. And there, our four intrepid foodies would finally unravel the mystery.
Alex Rivera, Editor-in-Chief, @HashtagginAlex
What I thought would be a battle of two heavyweights in Indian cuisine turned into a slaughterhouse of epic proportions.
India Palace, located in the heart of downtown Provo, came out of the gates swinging. Being the first place we visited, I kept in mind that I was hungry and that by the time we got to Bombay House, I wouldn’t be as hungry as I planned on filling myself with the first restaurant. That being said, everything tasted amazing. The Garlic Naan was an amazing compliment to both the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Chicken Curry.
Speaking of the chicken trays, the Tikka Masala had a great texture to it that made the flavors bounce off of it. The Curry was the right amount of spicy, once again, being complimented by the amazing Garlic Naan. The Sweet Naan was a great closer to the entire meal as its texture and size was just enough to satisfy my needs.
The atmosphere of India Palace made the experience complete. Although I wasn’t a big fan of being seated right next to the door as we felt a cold draft enter every time a new customer came in, I was a big fan of just the overall lighting and design of the restaurant. Great atmosphere would have been made perfect if the Indian music was a bit louder. The service was fast but not the friendliest. Aside from that, the ambiance of the experience was great.
Bombay House had a tough act to follow, and they failed miserably. Although it is more widely known in the Valley, it was the inferior experience of the two. Although the employees were friendly, the food was not. The Naan was similar but there was something missing flavor-wise. The Tikka Masala was a huge disappointment, with its texture feeling a bit rubbery. The Curry was slightly better than India Palace’s, though not by much. The sweet Naan was an even bigger disappointment, as I couldn’t even finish it because of its consistency and lack of flavor.
India Palace took the throne easily because of its quality food and its faster service. If you can look past the unfriendly staff members and focus on the food, you’ll have an incredible experience.
Nicola Pritchett, Web Content Editor
Bombay House has things put together. They have a nice website, good phone service, a beautiful restaurant and uniformed staff. Their walls are adorned with colorful murals and they fill up on the weekends. They know what they’re doing and it’s obvious in their establishment. However, in a side-by-side taste comparison of the exact same dishes, India Palace’s food won almost every round.
Bombay House makes a better, less-tart Mango Lassi, but India Palace’s Naan was softer and better seasoned, their Chicken Curry was more savory, and their Tikka Masala had an all-around better flavor.
India Palace doesn’t quite have the same finished feel as Bombay House, but it has a lot of heart, and that shows in the food and in their service. The staff is generally very friendly and attentive, the owner remembers his regulars and your water glass will never ever go empty. The great thing about a restaurant striving to break into a market that many believe is already cornered, is that they are constantly fighting to show you why they’re better. They can’t get lax on taste or service when they don’t have a well-established reputation and a nice venue to hold them up. India Palace is a testament to the under-dog advantage, and when I’m looking for Indian food in Utah Valley I’ll head there every time.
Alex Sousa, Managing Editor, @TwoFistedSousa
With superior food, ambience and the endorsement of Danny “I’m getting too old for this shit” Glover, India palace made it all too easy for me to give my vote to them.
The food at Bombay House seemed lacking. Their Chicken Tikka Masala was heavy and thick, the Sweet Naan was dry and almost impossible to get through and the curry seemed hollow, flavorless, with only an aftertaste. India Palace’s food, though, was aromatic with deep, dynamic flavors. It tasted like they had taken their time, actually crafting a dish making sure everything was there and perfect, rather than sending it down the line.
I will give Bombay House credit where credit is due. Their staff is friendly and they have a nice, well-established restaurant. But I don’t need to be wooed by my servers—I need them to do their jobs.
At India Palace, we sat down immediately, our food was out in less than ten minutes and my glass was never less than half-full. The servers were efficient, but not overbearing—they didn’t keep coming by to ask if everything was ok. They gave me my food and let me enjoy it, circling back quietly to refill my water goblet.
India Palace was quiet too, which I appreciate in a restaurant. Tucked away in our own little corner, we could actually hold a conversation. It was a far more intimate experience, without the frantic hustle and long lines that one gets at Bombay House.
Bombay House can remain the place for rich, white women to go to dinner with their trendy gal pals, but for an enjoyable dining experience, I will always choose India Palace.
Blake McClary, Art Director, @blakemcclary
Before our Bingedian event, I was a staunch Bombay House fan, and nobody could do or say anything to change that. My opinion was even more solidified when I called India Palace to confirm our reservation and was hung up on (twice). In my mind, there was no way India Palace was going to win, even with their claim-to-fame picture of Danny Glover.
When I arrived at India Palace, both the Alexes had been seated already, and had their water. Not a bad way to start off a competition. We ordered the standard Tikka Masala, Chicken Curry, Garlic Naan, and Sweet Naan. In yet another miraculous Indian miracle, our food was out within 10 minutes. These guys were fast. In 30 minutes we were all ready to head out. Overall I was very impressed. The rice was tasty and the masala sauce was so rich. Bombay House had some big shoes to fill.
As a disclaimer, anyone who thinks the walk from India Palace to Bombay House is a quick, right-around-the-corner one is wrong (taken from personal experience). Anyway, the environment at Bombay House is much more inviting. Lots of people and an aesthetic that just seems a little more Indian. We had a bit of a wait, but that’s because we arrived 20 minutes late to our reservation. I unfortunately had to leave before the food came out, so I can’t make the side-by-side comparison. That being said, my vote is still Bombay House. Sure, it was more crowded but it seemed more of a social eating environment. I really like a bit of chatter to liven the place up a bit. India Palace was too quiet and empty. Based on how many people were there, Bombay House was the clear winner.
The adventure ended with three votes for India Palace and one for Bombay House.
Use #bingedian to let us know what your favorite is.