Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur
Heading on our own trip around these cities in September and looking for recommendations. In a flurry after we booked our flights I reserved Varq, Indian Accent and Burkhara in Delhi and Peschawari in Agra.
I've read good things about Niros in Jaipur and in Jodhpur the restaurant at Raas seems to come recommended.
Grateful for any other suggestions, particularly at the lower end.
Broad scale recommendations for Delhi:
- Karim's: Get burra kababs
- Khan Chacha's in Khan Market: Don't let appearances turn you away
- Colonel Kebabs in Defence Colony market
- Sagar: One of the best south indian vegetarian joints in the city
Generally, I would not advise eating in Bukhara (or any other hotel restaurant) but I have not eaten their in almost 11 years so I can't speak to its current offerings
If you are in the mood for italian with an indian touch, go to Flavours under the Defence Colony flyover
No idea about the other cities since I have never stayed there long enough to warrant a meal in the city (eating in one of the highway joints in a favorite thing to do in my family)
Besides, Karim's (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892811) which has some of the most fabulous kebabs I'd ever had, you have to go to Moti Mahal at its original Daryaganj location (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893124), *not* the branches.
One place you *must* visit is Paranthewali Gali (alleyway off Chandi Chowk), where the 3 famous and oldest paratha sellers congregate:
- Pt Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit (1875).
- Pt Dayanand Shivcharan (1882).
- Pt Baburam Devidayal Paranthewale (1886).
In fact, walking through Chandni Chowk itself (and the nearby Red Fort built by Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal) is a veritable feast for the senses, with all sorts of street food vendors. Some pics I took on my trip there earlier this year:
Agra must-not-miss spots:
- the old Nayi Basti neighborhood which pre-dates even the 16th-century Mughal dynasty. The must-not-miss item is Nali Nihari (super-tasty lamb-shank/beef marrow stew with spices and ginger) cooked in underground hearths overnight, and then served for breakfast with soft spongey breads to soak up the gravy. Go early as the nihari spots sell out by 9am.
- If you're not into rich, meaty breakfast, then opt for Devi Ram Halvai's sweet jelebis and badai (small, crisp deep-fried pooris served with a potato-cream-yoghurt dip) - Agra's No. 1 breakfast choice.
- Of course, one simply *cannot* leave Agra without trying out "petha" (crystallised, sugar-cured wintermelon. Best place to get these sweet treats is from the 80+ years old Pancchi Petha Store on Sadar Bazaar.
- Sadar Bazaar itself comes alive after dark - with various street foods to try, from "golgappas" ("pane puris" in Delhi) to creamy mutton "ishtew".
You don't mention how long you'll be in Delhi or if you've been there before. If you haven't been there before, keep in mind that it will take much longer than you expect to get anywhere and Old Delhi (e.g., Chandni Chowk) is particularly congested. So if time is short, I'd recommend the Food Court in one of the malls in Saket (I think it's called "DLF").
There's a Karim's there as well as many other well known and authentic restaurants specializing in cuisine from throughout the country. The way it works is that you put money on a card, go to the various restaurants, they swipe your card and you eat in the seating sections. You don't get the ambiance but the food is excellent.
If you do have time, the places already recommended are the traditional ones and are very good. But I'd recommend something off the beaten track.
Each Indian state has its own building throughout Delhi but mainly in S. Delhi. They're meant as guest houses for politicians from that state. They all seem have a dining hall where you can get low priced, authentic food. Here's a link with more info:
We went to the J&K (good), Goa (great and very clean), and Tamil Nadu (sketchy in the hygiene but no tummy issues so it was clean enough) bhawans and think they're great ways to experience the different foods and cultures of the country.
Thank you all for very helpful suggestions, it looks like Delhi especially is a place to ignore the big hotels and get out into the markets and smaller more traditional restaurants. In other cities there seem fewer options.
I have been to India before but at 21 and wasn't hugely concentrating on the food. We have 2-3 days in each city so time to take in most suggestions other than Delhi where we will pick and choose and report back.