10 Legendary Eating Houses in Delhi

Delhi—the eighth largest city in the world, boasts of a glorious legendary past. From Pandavas to Tomars, Mughals to British raj—it has witnessed the rise and fall of many a kingdoms and dynasties.

The city has over thousand monuments, and some age old and famous eating joints, which are a witness to this magnificent past. Food has always been a bonding factor of our social existence.

Many of us will swear by Karim ke kebab, Roshan di Kulfi, cakes by Wenger’s and filter coffee at Indian Coffee House. There are many a places in Dilli which have won a million hearts and we are planning to take you down the memory lane, to these unforgettable delectable depots of food. Some of these eating joints have seen the bond flourish with every passing generation.


1. Karim:

Established by a royal chef of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, it has come a long way, with third generation still going strong serving sumptuous Nihari and Naans and other mouth-watering Mughlai delicacies, which include the must haves like makhani murg, tandoori bakra, paya, mutton biryani, badam pasanda, sheermal naan, roghini naan and not forget the softest kebabs and flavoursome biryanis. Amidst the bursting seams of old Delhi’s Gali Kebabian—Jama Masjid, Karim has carved a niche for itself across the walled city. Although, this one at Jama Masjid was its first outlet, Karim has now around nine outlets in Delhi and the food at each outlet is a must try  !

2. Roshan di Kulfi:

Nestled in the bustling Karol Bagh is Roshan di Kulfi, famous for its kulfi and falooda. Now an Indian fast food store, the eatery was initially set up by Mr Roshan Lal in early 1950’s as a kulfi (frozen milk treat) stall on the street. A brand in itself, Roshan di Kulfi has come a long way, from street stall to a stalwart. Its menu has an array of Kulfis—badam, kesar, mango, sugar free etc. and a scrumptious assortment of Indian fast food like chole bhature, kachori, pao bhaji—to satisfy your taste buds.

3. Indian Coffee House:

Situated in the soul of Lutyens Delhi, our very own Connaught Place, the name, Indian Coffee House, ushers loads of nostalgia for almost everyone who has lived in Delhi or frequented the city. Almost 57 years into business, Indian Coffee House has actually seen generations changing hands. Even today the old charm and charisma of the place is intact, with staff dressed in white adorned with Nehru caps serving with panache. Time worn furniture and white coffee cups with saucers—there is something about this place which is endearing and enigmatic. We often think how in the past people would be sitting here discussing, planning ahead and enjoying the newly attained freedom and the reminiscing the journey in its attainment over a cup of filter coffee and pakoras.

4. Kwality:

After leaving a thriving restaurant business in Karachi, two friends Mr Ghai and Mr. Malhotra decided to start something new in Free India, and The Kwality happened. This legendary place has stood firm through times, in the broad alleys of Connaught Place, since 1948. Its name akin to style and quality, this restaurant never fails to impress new and old alike. Generations have sworn by its Chicken Stroganoff and Dal Gosht. All old world lovers and food enthusiasts must visit this legendary eating house for a scrumptious treat.

5. Moti Mahal:

This is another iconic food haven in Delhi that boasts of many firsts, like introducing sumptuous Peshawari diner with qawwalis and ghazal singing. One is mesmerized by the palatial interiors and green expanse. This place is mecca for tandoori lovers and boasts of must have delicacies like Peshawari naan, dal makhani, burra kebab, chicken kastoori kebab, kalmi kebab, afghani chicken, tandoori fish, tandoori mushroom, paneer tikka achari, and vegetable diwani handi.   Some say it’s here where the butter chicken was born. A definite spot for culinary nirvana seekers.

6. Wenger’s:

Our gastronomic pursuit is incomplete without a visit to Wenger’s, a baking paradise in Connaught Place. It is one of the oldest and finest bakery outlets of Delhi. Established as a fine dining restaurant, Wenger’s was started by a British couple in 1930’s, then as a two-floored confectionary. The first floor housed a ballroom, Swiss café and a restaurant.  During its hay days Wenger’s was a high-end socialite hub—Indian royalties, British bureaucrats and dignitaries would book tables through the week for work lunches, while  Sunday was unofficial days with bands playing for diners. The past glory can only be envisaged but one can relive the epicurean marvel in French loafs, sponge cakes and pastries even today.

7. United Coffee House:

Again a descendent of the British era, United Coffee House is a name that has lived through decades, in the white broad lanes of Connaught Place, now Rajiv Chowk. During the times when India was on the brink of Independence, in the year 1942, United Coffee House came into being. Started as a house of coffee blends, later became an institution in itself for fine dining serving Indian, Continental and Oriental cuisines with panache. It won many accolades from food aficionados’ and in fact one finds a must visit mention for this place in the Lonely Planet Guide too.

8. Sarvana Bhavan:

Whether it’s a Monday or Sunday, one can never miss the long queue outside a Sarvana Bhavan outlet. Such is the fan following of this south Indian food sanctuary. Started in 1981, in Chennai, Sarvana Bhavan has 33 openings in India and 47 branches overseas. The USP is the simplicity of the setup and the assiduous listing of south Indian savouries. With two outlets situated in Connaught Place (Outer Circle and Janpath), you cannot afford to miss it.

9. Bukhara Restaurant at ITC Maurya:

Established in the year 1977, this restaurant has won many accolades from food connoisseurs and hedonistic foodies. In 2007 it was voted 37th best restaurant in the world, serving delectable tandoori dishes. Its signature dishes are Sikandari Rann and Murg Malai Kebab, Platters have been dedicated to the Clintons (former US President Bill Clinton and his family) based on dishes ordered by the then President, his wife Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton. Bukhara has an international fame, lavish interiors, authentic food and prompt service—it’s a package in itself, ready to be indulged into.

10. Keventer’s:

Originally, started by a Swedish entrepreneur Edward Keventer in the year 1925, its name is affiliated to milk shakes and snacks and a reason for family outings for decades. Operating out of a small shop in Connaught Place, it has carved a niche place for itself amongst the families on a casual outing. The thick and yummy milk shakes in glass bottles is its trademark. Even today, the smooth lingering taste reminds me of childhood days when we used to bet on who can have another strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, butter scotch or pineapple shake—followed by creamy luscious ice cream treats.



Food enthrals taste buds, and these legendary places have done this for generations and decades. Foodie or not, these age-old eating spots are part of Delhi’s history and of course of Delhiites. If we have missed any iconic eatery, do share it with us. Till then happy indulging. :)

Comments

  1. Thanks Ankit. The love for food really inspires me ;)

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  2. Super like... Wengers is surely my all time favourite

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  3. The best part about this list is that you have carefully chosen the popular places over the historic places which are difficult to locate and find. I have been to all these places numerous of occasions and have realized that none of the places mentioned want to go bizarre about the changing trend of foods. They very well know there end audience and make sure to serve them the best.

    As they say in financial world, these places are legacy firms. Kudos to the author for writing in such a crisp and simpler manner.

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  4. After going through this I started feeling more hungry now...!
    Hope so I cover above all asap.
    Well written Sachin...!!

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  5. Being a Delhiite i completely agree with the above list....it probably captures all that one could be looking for....grt list for all the foodies...kudos to the author...
    Neha...

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful comments...wickedspoonconfessions always tries to bring out the best from the rest for its audience..keep coming back for more such fingerlickin' articles!!

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  7. Nice collection of eateries, this. I have never been to Kwality and have heard a lot about their chole-bhatooras. I will surely plan to go there.

    On another note, I feel that a lot of such places are losing their sheen, and most people go there just to strike it off their list. My two cents.

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  8. Brilliantly written by giving a historic preview of the city and a detail of gastronomical delights which have become integral part of the city .....My favorite is Bhukhara Resturant at Maurya .

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  9. Nice post, I liked it and enjoyed reading it, Thanks for sharing this information.
    cooks in chennai

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