There are 29 states in India and each of them has a unique cuisine to boast of. If you choose to look beyond the regular chicken tandoori and naan, the journey of discovering the boundless Indian cuisine is one worth embarking upon. When you’re in Delhi next time, these are the places you should definitely stop by to explore authentic flavours from different states of India.
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
A restaurant which served authentic Sikkimese and Nepalese food was long overdue in the city. Nimtho deserves recognition for introducing Delhites to the delicious flavours of Sisnu Ko Raas (stinging nettle soup), Mula Churpi Salad (radish and local Sikkimese cheese salad), Wacheepa (rice cooked with char-grilled chicken and burnt feather powder) and Sikarni (yogurt-based dessert). Their Buckwheat Momo (local dumplings), Pork Ribs and the generous potion of Thakali Thali are must-haves as well. A lot of Nimtho’s ingredients are sourced directly from Sikkim, the only organic state of India
Thakali thali at Nimtho / © Nimtho
Andhra Bhavan Canteen
This government run canteen is anything but fancy, but here it’s the food that does all the talking. The tangy and spicy flavours of Telugu cuisine is perfectly preserved in all their dishes. Their all-you-can-eat Vegetarian Thali, which includes rasam (soup with tamarind juice base), veggies, chutney, rice, kandi podi (lentils) and rice, is popular and it’s the best way to taste a little of bit of everything. Mutton and Chicken Fry or Prawn Curry are the usual non-vegetarian accompaniments. On the weekends, Andhra Bhavan Canteen serves delicious Hyderabadi Biryani.
Nagaland Food Stall at Dilli Haat
A lot of Naga restaurants have popped up around Delhi, but this open air joint in Dilli Haat happens to be one of the oldest and the best place to enjoy Naga food. Their juicy Smoked Pork Ribs is the obvious choice for a starter. Not only does it melt in your mouth but the flavour lingers on for a long while after. If you can handle the world’s hottest chilly pepper bhut jolokia or raja mirchi as it’s commonly known as, then do give the Pork or Chicken Raja Mirchi Extra Spicy a try!
Karim’s near Jama Masjid, which serves a variety of rich Mughlai cuisine, is an institution in itself. Some even consider it synonymous with Old Delhi. The 104-year-old establishment works with clockwork efficiency serving its many patrons who don’t mind standing in long queues before getting a table. The best thing about the place is that they have managed to be consistent with the taste even after all these years. While at Karim’s, don’t miss out on their delectable kebab offerings.
Kebab at Karim’s | © Edmund Gall / Flickr
City of Joy
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Food that’s reminiscent of the old world charm of Kolkata, City of Joy is a place you can’t help but keep coming back to. The fact that the Bengali lot of the city have themselves put a stamp of approval says a lot about the restaurant. The Daab Chingri (prawns cooked inside a coconut), Phool Kopi Dalna (cauliflower curry), Diamond Fish Fry and Rui Mach Bhaja are all customer favourites.
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Bringing in a bit of Rajasthani culture through mouthwatering Marwari cuisine is Kathputli. Their thali is extremely popular and includes an assortment of Rajasthani dishes, that will not only satisfy the tummy but the soul. The traditional decor reflects the palatial grandeur of cities like Jaipur, but it’s really the food that steals the show.
Kathputli interior / © Kathputli
Restaurant, Bar, Indian, $$$
The restaurant which serves authentic Kashmiri
food has two outlets and Chor Bizarre at Hotel Broadway in Daryaganj is the original one. Known for its use of exquisite spices, Kashmiri cuisine brims with flavour. The food at Chor Bizarre does complete justice to this reputation. Do not miss out on the Wazwan offering at Chor Bizarre, which have earned rave reviews.
Potbelly Rooftop Cafe
This is Delhi’s first ever Bihari restaurant and it doesn’t disappoint. When it opened, Potbelly Rooftop Cafe unmasked the variety of food that the state of Bihar
has to offer. Before that, most people would have known little beyond Litti Chokha (stuffed whole wheat dough balls). An interesting feature about Potbelly is that, most of the dishes in the menu are said to have been the owner’s family recipes.
Viva O Viva
Restaurant, Seafood, Indian, $$$
Without a shadow of doubt this is the best Goan restaurant in Delhi. Originally inherited from the early Portuguese settlers and later tailored to the local taste, vindaloo is the staple dish in Goan cuisine. Even though everything on their menu is great, the restaurant’s vindaloo is the one you can’t afford to skip. Even though the sunny beaches of Goa
are a long way away, the full-flavoured cuisine of the coastal region is at close quarters. All thanks to Viva O Viva.