There are plenty of ‘best restaurants’ lists all over the Internet. Why do we even need one? After all, food is a choice, taste is a personal matter and budget is a big factor.
In spite of all these factors, the biggest reason for a ‘list’ is aspiration. A restaurant aspires to be on a list, and a diner aspires to eat at a restaurant on a list. A list is believable, relatable, something to work onwards. Think of it as a culinary road map. From Delhi to Mumbai, Kolkata to Chennai, with several stops along the way, we bring you a list of what we feel, are the 50 Best New Restaurants in the country. We are sure you’ve been to some, and must have heard of others. And we hope there are some surprises in store for you too. (Read about Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4)
We’ve done the hard work for you. Now, it’s time for you to go taste. Happy feasting.
It began as a tribute to the Parsi community of Mumbai and Gujarat, especially their food and unique culture. But in its little less than a decade of existence, SodaBottleOpenerWala has transformed into an edible museum of Iranian food, and boasts of recreating traditional dishes like Parsi papeta per eedu, aletee paletee, spicy khiri tikkas, boombla, baghali polo and even shole zard from time to time.
UNIQUENESS: Chef Anahita N. Dhondy, who has a pretty inspiring story of her own. Selected in the ‘Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019’, she is known for her role in bringing Parsi food to the mainstream and efforts towards food sustainability.
Shikaar Bagh, Jaipur
CUISINE: ITALIAN AND RAJASTHANI
True to its name, Shikaar Bagh does resemble a hunting lodge, at least on the inside. One of the new entrants at the popular Hotel Narain Niwas Palace, Shikaar Bagh is a perfect spot to spend a romantic or a special evening during the monsoon or winter months. The restaurant is a paradise for non-vegetarians but the vegetarian options are limited.
UNIQUENESS: The hunter-café vibe right in the heart of the city.
Whether making sauces, dips and marinades in-house, using a slew of local vegetables, having a roll-on menu that dedicates itself to a known and a lesser-known region every month, or by just being true to the original flavours—these are just a few of the reasons why Sriracha is considered one of the finest pan-Asian haunts in Bengaluru. They are known for following the traditional style of making spring rolls and Buddha bowls on the table, using fresh ingredients.
UNIQUENESS: The Cambodian Khmer barbecue is an experience that you may not want to miss
Sonar Tori, Kolkata
The first restaurant which opened several years ago, is a part of the Ganga Kutir resort (Ffort Raichak) and has restricted entry. However, the recently opened second outlet in City Centre mall is accessible to all. Realising that it is not easy to beat the vista offered by its older sibling (overlooking the Ganga), the new outlet decided to play with the décor. Light installations made with 268 inverted spittoons, bedframes holding lampshades, a brass banana plant, creatively used Banarasi saris and period furniture are some of the key features of this speciality Bengali restaurant from Ambuja Neotia Hospitality. Food is served in typical kansa (bell metal) utensils. The thali (with dishes rotated on a regular basis) is the best option if you want to sample the entire gamut of a Bengali meal.
UNIQUENESS: The menu includes dishes served at an urban home as well as in rural Bengal, especially from the agrarian and fishing communities.
Studio–The Pan Asian Galerie, Kolkata
This chic pan-Asian restaurant at the Novotel Kolkata is rewriting the culinary map of New Town and is the place to go to if you are looking for live acts along with eclectic food and a wonderful cocktail menu. They serve Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese dishes under the watchful gaze of the hotel’s passionate executive chef, who is slowly but surely convincing this conservative city to get experimental with its eating.
UNIQUENESS: The food items are categorised under country names, making it easier to choose from and know the origins.
The Tanjore Tiffin Room, Mumbai
If you are in Mumbai and craving Tamil cuisine, then head to The Tanjore Tiffin Room. It will hit all the right notes—nostalgia, taste and simplicity. It serves home-style food, using recipes that have been handed down for generations. Intimate lighting, al fresco seating and sepia-toned family photographs that adorn the walls make for a comforting ambience. They offer flavourful pepper chicken, and jackfruit cutlets, and their curries—mainly coconut-, tamarind- and tomato-based—are rich.
UNIQUENESS: Authentic, understated Tamil cuisine presented in an unpretentious manner. Also, they let you sample different curries before you order.
Oudh 1590, Kolkata
If there is one reason why Kolkata will always remember the last ruler of Lucknow, Wajid Ali Shah, it is the import of Awadhi cuisine. Although the mini-Lucknow that the exiled Nawab built along the western neighbourhood of the city has lost its sheen, Oudh 1590 (part of Platter Hospitality) recreates the charm of Awadhi culture and cuisine through its branches across the city. Chandeliers, paintings, textiles, woodwork and bric-a-brac have been used to create the ambience but the restaurants are not clones of each other. Sit down for a sumptuous meal while being regaled with strains of thumri playing in the background. They follow the typical Awadhi style of dum pukht cooking.
UNIQUENESS: Try the Metiabruz biryani (available in both mutton and chicken versions) to know how Kolkata modified the original Awadhi dish.
Le Cirque Signature, Mumbai
In 2011, when New York legend Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque paved its way into India for the first time, there was uproar in the Delhi food circuit. Was this really a restaurant in a five-star hotel that consistently made delicious food, and was worth it too? Two years later, Le Cirque Signature opened in The Leela Mumbai, soon becoming a loved restaurant for its delectable and authentic French and Italian cuisine—keeping up with the standards it first set in America. A rounded menu, classic ambience, and an extensive wine cellar that’ll put a teetotaler to shame are just some of the reasons to visit Le Cirque.
UNIQUENESS: In Mumbai, Sirio’s spaghetti primavera and a mean creme brûlée. In Delhi, a dazzling view of the cityscape—and from a few tables, the Rashtrapati Bhavan—is as sweet as the dessert here.
Tempero at the ITC Grand Goa (formerly the Park Hyatt) dishes out some of the best vindaloo, recheado lamb and fish curry but there is something more on offer. We love their interpretation of coastal cuisines, with a blend of Portuguese and indigenous cooking styles. Familiar ingredients like coconut, cashew and fenugreek are reimagined at Tempero, which means ‘seasoning’ in Portuguese. Beyond the fish, crab and lamb, the vegetarian food is a must try. Home-cook-turned-chef Sarita’s (aka Sacramenta Carvelho) take on Saraswat Brahmin cuisine is definitely something.
UNIQUENESS: Sign up for a cooking class with Chef Sarita.
Few chefs have mastered the art of showcasing a food culture with flourish like Chef Vikas Seth. The Amritsar-born, lounge specialist makes no bones of his love for Mexican food—and it manifests itself as Sanchez, an extremely popular Mexican restaurant in Bengaluru. What makes it a crowd-puller? A menu that is constantly bringing in surprises from beyond Mexico City, and ingredients that are locally-grown and sourced. Sanchez also makes the most of its dips on the table by using traditional Mexican cooking tools.
UNIQUENESS: The only Mexican place in India to serve lesser-known dishes like gorditas, moles, tlayuda, tacos al pastor, and make Oaxacan artisanal cheese and queso fresco in-house.