Surprisingly, many of the most highly regarded restaurants in New Delhi do not, in fact, serve Indian food, with awards lists dominated by French, Asian and Italian restaurants. Check out the best restaurants in New Delhi’s foodie scene.
One of New Delhi’s oldest surviving restaurants and staple of the city’s restaurant scene, Moti Mahal was founded in 1920 in Pakistan and moved shortly after Indian independence in 1947 to Delhi. Now a global chain, with sister restaurants in almost every city in India, Moti Mahal claims to be the first restaurant to introduce tandoori cuisine and several now classic Indian dishes to the world, including such culinary staples as tandoori chicken, butter chicken, burra kebabs and brain masala. A winner of several culinary awards including the award of the Best Restaurant in Delhi by Mail Today, the restaurant offers a hearty and delicious North Indian cuisine in a relaxed and laid back atmosphere.
Situated in the legendary Imperial Hotel, the luxurious and sophisticated restaurant Spice Route takes its guests on a eastward-looking culinary journey of the spice route from Malabar Coast in Kerala, through Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand to Vietnam. The restaurant features an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional Asian cuisine, with several stand-out dishes such Kerala-style prawns, stir-fried with coconut, curry leaves and black tamarind or stir-fried pok-choy with black mushrooms, flavoured with soya bean paste. The ornate interior decor with mural paintings and antique objects, designed by Rajeev Sethi, reflects the cultural and artistic heritage of the Orient and immediately puts the restaurant’s guests at ease to enjoy a truly luxurious dining experience.
Headed by arguably one of the best and well-known chefs in India, the celebrated Manish Mehrotra, the innovative and stylish restaurant Indian Accent is housed on the ground floor of small boutique restaurant in New Friends Colony. A winner of several prestigious culinary awards in India, including Vir Sanghvi Best Chef Award in 2010 and 2012, the chef aims to combine fresh local produce and traditional Indian tastes with international ingredients, resulting in extraordinary dishes such as galawat lamb kebab, filled with foie gras and served with strawberry and green chilli chutney, soft-shell crab with roasted coconut and tomato pickle or even blue cheese naan.
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Located in the up-and-coming hip district of Delhi, lovely and vibrant Meher Chand market, the restaurant and cafe Chez Nini is a perfect choice for a lazy brunch with friends or a romantic dinner. Situated on two floors, the restaurant features modern European cuisine, offering a wide range of light and tasty dishes, from warm duck salad to French onion soup, and even the French culinary classic of ratatouille gratin. The original interior decor, with copper tree statue and lighting object, has quickly made the restaurant a hot spot amongst city’s expats and trendy locals. On Sundays the restaurant offers brunch, serving continental and French breakfast options. Booking in advance is strongly advised.
Popular and well-loved by locals and tourists alike, the North Indian restaurant Punjabi by Nature has several outlets around the city of Delhi. True to its name, the restaurant specialises in Punjabi cuisine, with particular favourites including raan-e-Punjab – mouth watering and delicious lamb’s leg slow-roasted in a tandoor – and black lentils with butter and cream. Founded in 1998, with sister-branches in Bangalore, the restaurant also has a more take-away and fast food version in some of the Delhi shopping malls, where everyone can try the restaurant’s take on traditional street snacks such as golgappas, made with puri, chutney, chickpeas, potatoes and onions.
Situated on the second floor in front of the ancient tombs in the trendy and artsy district of Delhi, Hauz Khas Village, the small and cosy Himalayan restaurant Yeti has developed a dedicated clientele, consisting both of locals and expats, throughout the years. The restaurant specialises in traditional cuisine of the Himalayan region, including Nepalese, Bhutanese and Ladakh classic dishes such as steamed vegetarian and meat momos, crispy spinach with tingmo, chili beef dish or vegetarian thukpa, Himalayan noodle soup. The laid-back wooden interior of the restaurant together with Tibetan and Nepali art work echos the simple eateries of Kathmandu and ensures cosy and inviting ambience.
Olive Bar and Kitchen
Bar, Restaurant, Diner, Italian, Mediterranean, European
Located next to one of the most impressive Delhi monuments, the legendary Qutub Minar, Olive Bar and Kitchen features delicious and nourishing Mediterranean dishes, including a variety of traditional staples such as classic Caesar salad, delicious seafood or wild mushroom risottos and a large selection of pasta dishes, ranging from children-friendly spaghetti meatballs, hearty lasagne or simple, yet tasty penne arrabiata. The welcoming and laid back interior design of the restaurant, with white pebbled courtyard under Banyan trees and tree-top terrace bar with fascinating views over Qutub instantly puts guests at their ease, meaning they can enoy a lazy Sunday brunch or romantic dinner at their leisure.
Considered to be the oldest restaurant in New Delhi, Karim’s is situated near the historic Red Fort and Jamma Masjid mosque in Old Delhi. Since 1913, the restaurant has been serving the cuisine of the imperial kitchens of the Mughal Empire, with particular emphasis on local meat dishes such as renowned mutton burra kebabs and legendary tandoori chicken, accompanied with lentil dish or simply naan and roti. The restaurant also offers a wide selection of hearty chicken and vegetable soups and sweet desserts, including kulfi, the Indian version of ice cream. A favourite with locals and tourists, the restaurant is a simple, unpretentious and authentic dining experience, now available also in other parts of Delhi, including Noida, Gurgaon and Nizamuddin West.
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