Join me on a journey through Delhi to gorge on the best of North Indian food available in the capital. You’ll be drooling in no time; all the way from street eats at Chandni Chowk to Maurya Sheraton’s Bukhara and other fine dining restaurants.
– Near Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk
Established in 1913, by Haji Karimuddin, Karim’s is one of Delhi’s most popular restaurants. It serves some of the best, mouthwatering, opulent and satisfying Mughlai cuisine in Delhi. He started off by selling just two things: Alu gosht (mutton curry with potatoes) and daal with the intent of bringing royal delicacies to the common man’s platter. Today, the 4th generation of Haji Karimuddin run the restaurant. They have extended their reach with a chain of restaurants in Nizamuddin West, Kailash Colony, Noida, Gurgaon and Kamla Nagar. They provide the best kebabs, mughlai biryani and some lip- smacking meat curries that will leave you bound to come back for more.
Kake Di Hatti
– Church Mission Road, Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk
This strictly vegetarian restaurant has been running since 1942 and has been a favorite to non-vegans as well. The scrumptious menu includes the famous daal makhani, naan of all sorts, stuffed parathas, paneer dishes and much more. The hatti is located on a bustling street so you might find it a little difficult to get there but it’s worth all the efforts. The best part is the feasible prices and the consistency of their ambrosial food that never lets anyone down.
– Church Mission Road, Opposite Kake di Hatti
Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk
One of those inspiring stories from ordinary folk, Giani di hatti was started in 1956. Giani Gurcharan Singh began by just selling his rabri-falooda and mango shakes which became one of Delhi’s most famous go-to places for something cold, sweet, slurpy and deliciously divine. The main shop at Chandni Chowk is a small, quaint little room but the huge crowd outside, waiting for their orders, is proof enough of the delectable Faluda they make. Today Giani has become a brand name in the world of Ice-cream as well. The best way to end a hearty meal at Kake di Hatti is to save space for Giani’s which is just next to Kake’s. The rabri-faluda is just wonderful!
– Netaji Subhash Marg, Darya Ganj
This legendary restaurant is home to the maker of one of every Indian’s favorite, “butter chicken”. Kundan Lal Gujral established Moti Mahal in 1947 and became the first to introduce Tandoori cuisine to India. He then sold the place to now owner Vinod Chaddha. Kundan Lal’s grandson, Monish Gujral owns the franchise named Moti Mahal Delux. This old restaurant has hardly changed anything about its decor and the building, but has catered to people from Nehru and Indira Gandhi to Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar. Other than the butter chicken which is a must if you’re visiting you should also try out their Tandoori chicken and Bhuna Gosht. They serve some heavenly vegetarian food as well, especially the Malai Koftas and the Daal Makhani which are opulent in taste and flavour.
Old Famous Jalebi Wala
– 1797 Dariba Corner, Chandni Chowk
This little shop that started in 1922 by Nemi Chand Jain sells one of the best Jalebis you will ever taste in your life. Now the shop is owned and run by Kailash Chand Jain, Nemi Chand’s son. They are not only famous all around India but have fans in U.K, U.S.A, Canada, Australia and Pakistan as well! The jalebis here are different from the rest as they cook them on coal fire. These delicious, melt- in-the -mouth sweet jalebis are made with pure ghee and are not immersed in a sugar solution. Rather, they use the pure form of sugar called Khand which gives a heavenly taste. Get there to have the most delectable and gratifying plateful of this sweet goodness.
Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala
– Main Road near Central Bank, Opposite Paranthe Wali Galli,
Ceaseless crowd, palatable taste and quality that never goes down, Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala surely serves the best Dahi Bhalla in the city. The thick and creamy dahi cascades over the coarse and soft bhalla with right proportions of the mint and sweet tamarind chutney to make the best, savory and sapid plate of Dahi bhalla. The place also serves some lip-smacking Aloo Tikkis as well which is one of Delhi’s most loved street foods. Get there early in the evening to avoid the maddening crowd and gorge to your heart’s content.
Khemchand Adesh Kumar Daulat Ki Chaat
– Kinari Bazaar Old Delhi
Don’t mistake this to be the traditional creamy, sour, spicy chaat. Daulat ki chaat is not sour nor spicy. It’s sweet! Only found during the winters in Delhi, this sweet treat is light, foamy, divine and fit for a king with a lot of saffron and nuts. The best Daulat ki chaat you’ll get to taste is from Khemchand Adesh Kumar. You can easily find him by asking the locals. Get to him before noon as the foam collapses in the heat. This one dessert can only be experienced than described. Khemchand Adesh Kumar Daulat ki Chaat was also featured in Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods on his trip to India.
Lotan Chole Wala
– Chatta ShahJi, Chawri Bazaar, Old Delhi
The Cholas here are matchless. This small establishment has been on the streets of Chawri Bazaar since 1977. There’s no shop or kiosk, Mahaveer, the man who sells this tantalizing plate of chickpea curry and Kulchas sits across the narrow street at Chatta Shahji with a large copper vessel that has a small stove to keep the Cholas hot. He serves this curry topped with fried potatoes, an extremely hot spice mix, a spoonful of chutney and finely chopped ginger. If spicy is not your cup of tea, you can ask Mahaveer to put no spice at all. Another addition to the Chola and Kulcha is the Channa soup with a Dollop of butter which will leave you in a daze and an addiction that has no remedy.
-Jama Masjid Matia Mahal Road, Chandni Chowk
Oh tough rivalry! This quaint restaurant apparently got its name from Jawaharlal Nehru who has once visited this establishment. No one really knows what it was called before but, through time, Al Jawahar has stood as a capable competition to Karim’s just across the road. Besides the rivalry, the restaurant serves some mouth- watering delicacies that don’t really have a match. From biryani to kebabs and tandoori fare, they have it all.
– Opposite Haldiram’s, Chandni Chowk
Think of melt-in-the-mouth Sohan halwa during a chilly winter in Delhi, the warmth spreading through you as you bite into this sweet goodness. The first name that pops into any Delhi local is Ghantewala Halwai if it’s Sohan Halwa you’re looking for. This shop dates back to the 17th century and has catered for the Mughal royals to the erstwhile prime ministers of India as well. This 225 legend was recently closed but is on our list in respect of the owners and the memories of many people attached to this sweet shop.
Hazari Lal Jain Khurchan Wale
-Kinari Bazaar Road, Chandni Chowk
This little shop in Chandni Chowk is famous for Khurchan. It literally means scraping in Hindi.
The sweet is made by scraping cream off boiling milk repeatedly and layering it with powdered sugar. Yes, that might sound like a really copious, unhealthy and high in fat but just the taste of this goodness with a melt- in- the -mouth feel in very morsel is worth a little cheat. The shop sells sweets that are made from pure, undiluted buffalo’s milk. This gives their desserts that rich, exuberant and divine taste that you won’t find so easily today.
Paranthe Wali Gali
– Chandni Chowk
Gali, in Hindi means a lane. Thus, the lane of paratha shops. This gali, in Chandni Chowk sells some of the most unimaginable stuffed parathas. While on your walk through this lane, you’ll see stuffing of tomatoes, aubergines, cauliflowers, lady’s fingers and what not. The most mind-blowing one is the Malai (cream) Paratha. Yes, that’s right. There is only one shop in that stretch that sells these delectable goodies. Made with layers of cream and khoya you’ll forget your diet once you’ve tasted them.
-Sri Aurobindo Marg, Laxmi Bai Nagar, New Delhi
Open spaces, craft and lots of food. What else do you want to explore on a pleasant evening or a lazy winter afternoon? Dilli Haat is the place where you’ll find an amalgam of food and handicrafts from all over India. The food/ you name it, you’ll find it right under one open space. Each Indian state has a stall at the haat and serve the best of their delicious delicacies. Getting to this place is the easiest as almost everyone in Delhi know it. Get there for anything from momos to Daal Bati Churma and Roghan Josh to Idli, Dosa.
– Shop 50, Middle Lane, Khan Market, New Delhi
Ask anyone for the best rolls around in Delhi and the only name they’ll call is Khan Chacha. Today, it has become no less than a brand in Delhi with a lot of chains all over even in Noida. Khan Chacha serves the best kebab rolls with a tantalizing mint chutney that works so well with the spicy and meaty kebabs and the plain rumali roti used to wrap them in. If you’re hungry after a lot of shopping and are looking for something quick to get, Khan Chacha is the way to go!
– Block-P, Connaught Place, New Delhi
This little shop has always been a go-to place whenever I’m in Delhi. My father always talks of this cute little place. Since his youth, this shop has been serving the slurpy goodness we all call milkshake. The thing that attracts a lot of attention is the old-fashioned milk bottles they use to serve their shakes. If you’re in CP just for the sake of being there or are on a shopping spree and need something to cool you down, Keventer’s is a must try. Finding it is not tough as the crowd outside this establishment is evidence enough to know you’re at the right place. I’d suggest you try the cold coffee they make, it is just divine!
Amritsari Lassi Wala
– Fatehpuri Chowk, Chandni Chowk, Delhi
It’s hot and you’re tired after exploring all of Chandni Chowk’s spread. If you’re looking for something sweet, filling, chilled, fresh and healthy, then Amritsari Lassi Wala is your saving grace. Lassi is a Punjabi beverage made with diluted yogurt with sugar and topped with a dollop of frozen rabri. It might sound odd but trust me, it’s the best cold, milky Indian beverage you’ll ever have. They also have a variety of flavors to choose from. I’d recommend the Kesar Pista Lassi. It is really tasty and satisfying.
The Junkyard Cafe
– Block J, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi
For all those young hearts looking for a place to crash and enjoy some good Indian food, this is the right place. As the name suggests, the cafe looks like a plush junkyard with warm lights and a steam-punk theme with the furniture. They serve a spread of North Indian dishes and the portions are really generous. They have also extended to have an outlet at Connaught Place and Saket.
ITC Maurya, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Coming to fine dining restaurants in Delhi, Bukhara stands at the top of the list. This legendary place has been host to names like Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin. It was also a part of the list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants from 2002-04, 2006 and 2007. They boast a menu of authentic tandoori delights and the daal makhani here is said to be on the stove for over 24 hours and is served with anything that is ordered. Everything they cook is a novelty. And not to miss their giant Naan that always steals the show.
ITC Maurya, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
The second of ITC Maurya’s fine dining restaurants, one will surely have a tough time choosing between Bukhara and Dum Pukht. Dum Pukht in literal sense is a method of slow cooking that originated in the Awadh region. The opulence of royalty, the intricate wall designs and the ambiance of the restaurant adds to the flavorsome meals cooked here. The iconic Dum Pukht biryani is irresistible. The Royal Repast, a set five course menu is equally tantalizing.
– Taj Mahal Hotel, Mansingh Road, New Delhi
Varq actually means beaten gold and silver edible leaves. The restaurant has stood up to the meaning of its name. Plush, decorated with gracious Indian art, Varq is a gastronomical take on traditional Indian cuisine. Master chef Hemant Oberoi is the one who creates some of the most gratifying fusion delicacies that you’ll make sure you come here again and again. From the starters right to the dessert platters, they’ve got it all in place and oh so delicious.