Allahabad is one of the holiest cities in India, situated on the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna rivers in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Formerly known as the city of Prayag, today Allahabad is revered as one of the four sites of the Kumbh Mela, a mass Hindu pilgrimage held every 12 years where devotees come from all over to bathe in the sacred rivers. This holy mecca is also a major dining destination, especially to enjoy Mughalai cuisine of North India, though there’s a surprising number of North American-style burger joints as well. From tempting thalis to sinful sundaes, read on for the 10 best menus in town.
Eat On may look like a tiny fast food dive to the untrained eye, but of all the restaurants in Allahabad, this is where you should go to test the city’s reputation for outstanding North Indian cuisine. Here you’ll find the best biryanis and kebabs in the city, hands-down. One bite of the juicy mutton kebab or the chicken biryani is all you’ll need to see why this small spot is always ringed with big, admiring crowds. Eat On, Compound, MG Marg, Civil Lines, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh +91 80814 01001
Sagar Ratna is an all-vegetarian restaurant at Balson Crossing, favored by families and college students for its affordable rates and around-the-world menu. Whether you order North Indian, South Indian, Chinese or Continental, their plates are always tasty and the service is quick. The South Indian section of the menu is especially popular here, and first-timers would be wise to try the masala dosa, a flavorful fermented crepe made with rice batter and soft lentils.
El Chico is an old face in Allahabad, with a long and happy history. What began as a simple corner bakery has slowly blossomed into the locals’ vote for the best restaurant in town, serving terrific Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes. Start with the heaping nachos, then move on to the chicken chili garlic kebab or the the juicy chicken steak sizzler. Thanks to the venue’s undying popularity they were recently able to open a café on the second floor, where you can grab a quick snack or relax with coffee and a sweet treat after your meal. With a bakery on the ground floor, a restaurant on the first and a fancy café on the second, El Chico is a crowd favorite from the bottom to the top.
Another wildly popular bakery-turned-restaurant in town, Paradise is a haven for fast foodies and dessert lovers. Come with an empty stomach at lunchtime and fill up on impressive burgers and pasta plates, like the memorable mutton maha burger and the chicken penne polo. Be sure to save some room for a delicious, decadent sundae. If you’re too full for dessert, grab one of their famous pastries to go.
If you’re looking for sumptuous, buttery South Indian cuisine in an authentic atmosphere, The Tamarind Tree has got you covered. Here you’ll dine on the floor at one of their low-lying tables, where you’ll be served a traditional Welcome Drink and offered a massive variety of South Indian dishes, with an especially impressive dosa menu. Go for the cheese dosa; a good rule of thumb for ordering here is ‘the more cheese, the better.’ They also serve a range of Chinese dishes, including a delicious take on fried rice. The Tamarind Tree’s indulgent dishes may leave you slumped in a satisfied stupor, but you can perk yourself up with a great filtered coffee before grabbing the bill. The Tamarind Tree, Thornhill Road, Near Hira Halwai Crossing, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh +91 94152 08250
A comfy and casual choice for Indian food, Friends Forever is aptly named for its welcoming atmosphere and amicable rates. The restaurant has two seating areas, one with the regular tables and chairs, and another with plush sofas for lounging with old friends. Their menu is known for its superb chicken tikka, as well as a fantastic thali option consisting of lentil soup, vegetables, rice, roti (Indian bread), salad, pickles, and gulab jamun (a sticky-sweet Indian treat). Friends Forever, Sardar Patel Marg, Civil Lines, Madhopur, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh +91 93351 60925
YAME is a yummy stop for enjoying awesome, affordable Indian fast food with your family and friends. They specialize in chicken dishes, so try the chicken fantasy (in an out-of-this-world spicy white sauce), the fenugreek chicken, or the chicken YAME balls. For something lighter, they also whip up great kachoris and other Indian fried street snacks, like papri chaat and pani puri.
Hot Stuff is a landmark institution in Allahabad. As you enter this two-story restaurant, the noise and bustle of the outside world disappears and is replaced by light, atmospheric music, along with the light clinking of busy spoons and forks. You’ll notice a strong vintage vibe from their aged wooden interiors, and soon you’ll spot the massive menu posted up on one wall that flaunts the wide array of cuisines offered here. If you’re homesick for hoagies you’re in luck, as this may be the only restaurant in town that serves footlongs. Despite the encroaching presence of McDonalds and other chains, Hot Stuff’s burgers still draw in massive crowds, along with a popular Chinese menu section. Start your meal with an order of chicken spring rolls, and save room at the end for ice cream with hot chocolate fudge.
Hira Halwai supplies Allahabad’s citizens with unforgettable Indian sweets, treats and snacks. It opens quite early in the morning, but there’s often a big crowd of early birds clamoring after their samosas, which are easily the most authentic in town and tend to sell out within minutes. If you miss out on those, never fear, their heavenly gulab jamun is a sweet consolation. Address: Thorn Hill Road, Civil Lines, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh 211001 +91 90449 53800
Indian Coffee House
The Indian Coffee House is a very famous place in Allahabad, beloved for both its coffee and its environment of buzzing, unending discussion. While you sip your delicious coffee here, you’re sure to overhear an endless stream of conversation brimming around you covering everything under the sun: from politics to literature to local events, no subject is left behind. If you’re feeling peckish, the Coffee House has got you covered with a nice selection of South Indian dishes, and a few simple but satisfying egg dishes for breakfast. If you’re new in Allahabad and want to get a feel for the city, spend a few hours here to steep yourself in tea, coffee, and community. Indian Coffee House, 15, M.G. Road, Civil Lines, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh +91 532 242 7211