Looking for a Bucket List? (part 2)

As promised, I did compile a list of restaurants that I have enjoyed eating at When I am in India. I must admit that this is not an elaborate list considering the size of the country and the enormous amount of choices you have. I am only going to talk about the various places I liked and had been able to frequent over the years. Let me cover them by city so that it is convenient for you to choose, in case you are visiting the city.

New Delhi

I wish I had more opportunities to visit the Nation’s capital than I had. My trips were few and far between but I did eat at many places. I can easily narrow down to two places that I frequented more than any of the other places.
  • Haldiram’s – You might have heard of them through their snacks, which of course are yum! They have a chain of vegetarian restaurants as well, many of them in the NCR region. I have been to the one in the Connaught Place area which is always crowded. The restaurant is on the first floor while they sell the packaged snacks in the ground floor. The general assumption is that you might only get snacks and appetizers but they have everything from Chaats to Indo-Chinese to South Indian Tiffins to Thalis and of course an elaborate spread of ice creams as well. I have never had a Thali there but usually go for the Chaat’s (a few of them) and end with hot coffee or Kulfi or ice cream(s). If you are in the area, do not miss it. And it is not very expensive too.
  • Diya at The Leela Gurgaon – This is my favorite place when I make short trips to Gurgaon. There are a couple of other restaurants at the hotel and some more in the adjacent Ambiance Mall but this is easily the best. It has an amazing ambiance, friendly staff and classic Indian cuisine. Enjoyed the food every time I have eaten at the place. You cannot expect anything less at a Leela Restaurant!

I lived here for a considerable number of my years when I worked there and had the opportunity to eat at innumerable places – with family, friends and often with clients and customers. There are about six of them that are my absolute favorites:
  • Oye Amritsar – This is at the Meenakshi Mall in South Bangalore and hence is a recent addition to a long list of good Punjabi restaurants. They have a funky ambiance resembling a Dhaba with a lot of graffiti and pictures from Bollywood movies. When it comes to food, I love their Lamb Shank curry. Their Jilebi with Rabdi is just out of the world. When I go there, I usually starve a bit up front so that I do not skip dessert 🙂
  • Punjabi by Nature – This is a mid to up scale Punjabi restaurant in a sprawling campus in the busy Koramangala area with an attached micro-brewery – probably one of the first ones in Bangalore. They have beer samplers that are interesting and their Vodka Pani Puri is a must try. As for the main course, their Biriyanis are pretty good and for me their Lamb Raan tops the list.
  • Jamavaar at the Leela Bangalore – You will never be disappointed at a Leela Restaurant. This is no different. Amazing hospitality and a versatile menu with top of the world items. This is a must visit for me when I have clients or colleagues visiting India – I usually host the trip’s main dinner here.
  • The Royal Afghan at the Windsor Manor – This restaurant is at its best when you have large groups and you are seated by the pool. You cannot miss their Afghani Naan, Tikka Masalas and Dal Makhani.
  • Kebabs and Kurries at ITC Gardenia – This is relatively new since ITC Gardenia opened just a few years back. K and K is at the opposite end of the spectrum for me when compared to Jamavaar – I go here when I am tired of all the exotic food. I found that some of the simplest items on their menu are the absolute best.
  • Nagarjuna – If you are looking for a sumptuous Andhra meal, look no further. I usually either try a Biriyani or their full meals and one of their daily specials as the accompaniment. They are at several locations for you to choose from.

And, last but not the least, my home town! Unfortunately, I have not spent as much time as I could over the past two decades in my home town but that does not mean I do not have any favorites here:
  • Rayalaseema Ruchulu – I can feel sweat building up in my scalp as I type the name of this restaurant 🙂 Unless you really mention it to the waiter, your food will be the spiciest you have ever eaten! Not for the faint heart but at the same time the food there is irresistible. You can find some of the best and basic Rayalaseema dishes on their menu. They are at several locations in the city for you to choose from.
  • Chutney’s – For decades Kamat and Shanbagh ruled the town as the best Vegetarian joints but over the years Chutney’s has taken over that spot and has a very loyal clientele. The place is also famous among the office goers. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, they have something for everyone’s palette. They are at several locations in the city for you to choose from.
  • Kangan at The Westin – This is one of my recent favorites. It is in the basement at the Westin and not a really large restaurant but has a very cute interior and a resident bangle maker! This is a unique experience especially if you have ladies accompanying you or you have clients from another part of the world. Not many realize that they make one of the best lamb biriyanis in the city.
  • Tabla – This is also a recent favorite of mine – a regular one during lunch time. They have a good mix of Andhra, Telengana and North Indian dishes.
So there it is! I have finally kept my promise. I am sure you have your own favorite list of restaurants so please share yours. You may also not agree with my list but I am curious to know your thoughts….