Licking off the Italian gelato from the cone, breaking fresh bread at French cafes, devouring hamburgers in the US, biting into Britain’s Fish ’n’ Chips or downing beer in Germany – happiness comes in various forms. But as they say, there’s no place like home- and the Club is a firm believer, especially when we’re talking food!
To be Indian means we have not one, not two, but a whole platter-full of comfort home food from different parts of the country. And to be in Delhi means that we get to enjoy the delish regional flavours, all in one city! Delhi’s regional cuisine canvas has evolved, moving beyond the typical Dosa & Sambar fare to Malabar Parottas, Parripus and Thorans, from Dal Baati to Ker Sangri, Momos to Khazing Paknam, Tokhan, and so on. With the city peeps taking a liking to authentic cuisines from different states, regional foods are here to stay as the flavour of the day.
Whether you’re starting your journey across the country’s diverse palates or have made the rounds already, we bring you some belly-happiness, sharing our favourite regional cuisine restaurants in Delhi.
Believe in taking baby steps rather than diving into it? Coast Cafe is here! Initiating you into the world of regional cuisine, it serves South Indian coastal food with a Californian twist – this breezy cafe allows you to experiment while one leg still in the comfort zone blankie. Their fish tacos, mustard fries and moilees have the city drooling for quite a while now; it’s a sin to not down these treats with their Superpowers’ Pink Ginger Lemonade, and don’t miss out on their cocktail popsicles (could there be any better summer fix?). The well-lit and spacious decor is reminiscent of the cafes by the sea, and will trick you into feeling like you’re in Kerala’s backwaters as you bite into that Malabar Parantha.
From pure coastal dishes like Beans Thoran and Malabari Kokum fish Curry, to a mix of East & West like Rainy Day Vegetable Stew and Baja California Tacos, to continental fare such as Chunky Penne Arrabiata and Spiced Up Burgers – whichever point your ‘food exploration’ scale tips on, Coast Cafe offers it all!
Feast here: H-2, 2nd & 3rd Floor, Above Ogaan, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Stevie’s other coastal faves: If you’ve levelled up to trying legit Malayali dishes, then put your skills to use at Mahabelly (Saket, New Delhi) and The Toddy Shop (Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi & Sushant Shopping Arcade, Gurgaon). And umm, not exactly sticking to the brief, but drop everything and head to Carnatic Cafe (NFC market and GK2, M Block Market).
Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu
Tucked away in Adhchini, Rustom’s is ace at creating that warm, fuzzy feeling. Not only does it take us back to childhood when the Adhchini area was a go-to place for dining out, it offers a pleasant experience, similar to visiting grandma’s home! And with the old world lanterns, lace curtains, classic chairs, wooden cabinets, and ever-smiling staff, you might just believe that grandma sprinkled some love on this place. If authentic, no-fuss Parsi food is what you’re looking for, then Rustom’s is the answer to your prayers. The restaurant has worked its dishes around Parsi home recipes, bringing to the table a taste of homemade food, but with that extra zing! Their Paatra Ni Macchi is not to be missed, the cutlets, Bheeda Par Eedu and Malai Na Paratha are the other stars. Their new Lagan Nu Patru, a traditional Parsi wedding feast, is sure to make you want a Parsi style wedding yourself! Wash it down with the timeless Pallonji’s Soda or Parsi Chai, and make that smile a little wider by ending the meal with Caramel Custard.
Feast here: 94-A/B, Adchini, Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi
Potbelly Rooftop Cafe
The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe is as close as we get to Bihari cuisine in Delhi. With fun, quirky interiors and its spirited vibe, the cafe will get you excited even before you’re seated. The Litti Chokha and the Pakora Basket already have Delhi’s heart. We love their take on the burger, Bihari Burger and the Khada Masala Chicken gets a standing ovation from us, their Aloo Lalu Chop is the Bihari cousin of Vada Pav- and just as impressive! And it all tastes much better when paired with their Sattu Coolers. Potbelly is out to spoil you with a whole range of legitimate Bihari dishes, and you’ll have to work your way through the menu to choose just one favourite (we couldn’t)!
Feast here: 116-C, 4th Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi, or, Plot no.15, Bihar Niwas, Behind Yashwant Place, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Dzukou Tribal Kitchen
Helping us get acquainted with Naga cuisine, Dzukou Tribal Kitchen is whipping up some flavourful feasts. We love the decor, an amalgamation of tribal ambience (read mud walls & huts) with the modern Hauz Khas. Dzukou comes to our rescue where the Delhi food scene generally lacks- pork! Being strong in the pork game, they have some ace Naga Pork Chops, Pork Ribs and Smoked Pork to offer. Their Naga Sticky Rice and eight different kinds of chutneys are all you need for that smiling-all-day grin! Their Smoked Buff is stuff to write home about, and the chicken wings will set your palate aflutter. Have room for more? Pick from their many, many chicken, pork, fish and vegetable dishes! We could get used to this way of being spoilt for choice.
Feast here: E-22, 3rd Floor, Main Market, Hauz Khas, New Delhi
Stevie’s other faves: Also try the understated Rosang Soul Food (Safdarjung, New Delhi) for some lip-smacking, bonafide North Eastern food, with a focus on Assamese and Naga cuisine.
Fishing recipes from Odisha and West Bengal, Mandaa has brought the eastern states’ flavours onto Delhi’s taste buds. Serving Odia cuisine with a splash of Bengali palate, the restaurant has an exhaustive menu, with a focus on authentic seafood. They offer an effortless space, with a hint of Odia village aura. Their Mourali Machha Bhaja and Achari Murgh Takatak have become a universal favourite, and this hidden gem’s mustard gravy and crabs are bound to keep you coming back. The prawn preparations are super, and ordering just one does not do justice to Mandaa’s talents! Though all the vegetarian preparations compete to be the best, the Panashakatha Rassa (raw jackfruit curry) steals the show for us. Get your fill of spicy, crispy flavours at this cozy joint tucked away in Hauz Khas’s lanes.
Feast here: 30, 2nd Floor, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
We all have that Goa plan which never materialises. Bernando’s helps ease the pain by transporting us to a mini-Goa tucked right in the heart of Gurgaon! Run by an elderly Goan couple, the music, the ambience, the aroma and the food add up to a Goa-esque, Portuguese vibe. They prefer to call themselves a home, not a restaurant, and we can’t disagree! A crisp menu, they focus on prawns and fish for the seafood, and their vindaloo & chorizos are the show stoppers. They’ve perfectly recreated the Bebinca cake, and are your one-stop ‘shop’ for that Goa hangover!
Feast here: A-237, Supermart I, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon
And that’s a wrap! We’ve taken you on a foodie trip across India’s palates, but as they say, life comes a full circle, so please excuse us as we dive into some Butter Chicken and Naan.