Delhi may be famous for many things, but the Indian capital’s food scene ranks highly on most people’s lists. For affordable dining options with great flavours, visit these 10 restaurants offering the best and cheapest meals in Delhi.
Majnu-ka-tilla, known widely as the Little Tibet of Delhi, keeps drawing visitors in for its Tibetan and Nepali food options. Among these, Ama Cafe stands out the most for its warm ambiance that attracts university students, freelancers and hippie foreigners. Don’t miss out on their Himalayan breakfast platter and Tibetan cheesecake called thu. After your meal, check out Little Tibet’s charming Buddhist monasteries and quaint curio shops.
Cafeteria & CO. is another standout restaurant in Delhi University’s North Campus. The place is most famous for its range of burgers conspicuously named after celebrities like Beyoncé, LeBron James, Donald Trump and Al Pacino. Their customised fries are also not to be missed, especially the 3 Way Chicken Fries that come loaded with grilled chicken, chicken tikka and sausage. If novelty isn’t your thing, try their seafood options, such as beer-battered prawns, fish and chips or shrimp pizza. Its laid back attitude lets diners hang out long after the meal is over.
In recent years, Delhi University’s North Campus has grown to become a food haven with some top-notch restaurants setting up shop in the neighbourhood. Mama’s Buoi, a multi-cuisine restaurant, is the cream of the crop scoring high on everything from food to ambiance and service. You can choose any item from their menu and you won’t be disappointed, but do finish off your meal with their blueberry kheer, a much-loved Indian rice pudding with a signature fruity twist.
The neighbourhood of Satya Niketan is where most students of Delhi University’s South Campus hangout. Needless to say, the place is buzzing with a wide variety of bars and restaurants. Big Yellow Door has consistently managed to stay on top of its game even in the face of stiff competition, thanks to the quality of its food, their friendly service and affordable price tag. The cafe is mostly known for its delicious burgers and pasta, such as the BYD Cheese Bomb Burger and butter chicken pasta, an Indian take on the Italian staple, which come highly recommended.
Saravana Bhavan prides itself on being the largest vegetarian restaurant chain in the world, serving South Indian staples like dosa, idli, uttapam and vada. The first restaurant opened in Chennai in 1981 and today, Saravana Bhavan boasts 33 outlets in India and 47 abroad. Its Delhi outpost is located in the famous neighbourhood of Connaught Place and guests arrive here knowing full well that the wait time to get a table can go up to an hour. For those unsure of what to order, the ghee roast masala dosa or the rava plain dosa (a lighter option) are good choices.
Echoes’ unique and quirky interior has given the restaurant much of its fame. However, it’s the fact that the entire place is managed by a hearing-impaired staff that really stands out. The owners of the place are a bunch of young working professionals who wanted to create a business space that also served a social cause. Ever since it opened, Echoes has garnered top reviews from customers in the city. It has two outlets, one in the north and the other in South Delhi. While both are good, the ambiance in the former is slightly better.
Cuisine from the northeastern states of India varies vastly from what the world knows of Indian food. A stark difference is that spices are hardly used and much of the flavours come from ingredients like fermented bamboo shoot and soybean. Although it’s only been 10 years or so since Delhi was introduced to northeastern cuisine, the city has grown to love and embrace it in a very short time. Bamboo Hut, a standout restaurant in this scene, has some great dishes on offer, including smoked pork with bamboo shoot and chicken with raja mirchi.
Dhabas are roadside food stalls serving up cheap and delicious food items. Rajinder Da Dhaba, a place that holds an iconic status in Delhi, started off as a similar small eatery five decades ago. However, it has now grown to occupy a huge space in a strip mall. It’s hard to choose the best dishes from the menu, but several favourites include the chicken shawarma, Afghani chicken, mutton seekh rolls and dal makhani. The food is served fresh and the service is lightning quick.
Another popular restaurant in Majnu-ka-tilla is the Busan Korean Restaurant. Some of the top dishes from South Korea, such as bibimbap, bulgogi, kimbap and seolleongtang, are available here. Most Korean restaurants in the city are at two extremes: either they’re highly expensive or quite cheap but serve below par food, which is why having a place like Busan is a blessing for Delhi. The place also earns points for its minimal decor, which lends it a peaceful atmosphere, making guests feel relaxed at once.
Andhra Bhavan Canteen is a modest place serving the spicy cuisine of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. It opens three times a day and only for three hours at a time. For lunch and dinner, they serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis, which is an Indian-style platter made up of a selection of dishes like rice, dals, various curries, curd and dessert. The thali is similar to an all-you-can-eat buffet and costs only Rs 120 ($1.74). On Sundays, Andhra Bhavan also serves Hyderabadi biryani along with the regular thali. Make sure to reach this eatery early because there’s always a long line of people waiting to get a table inside since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations.