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Eating out: Legends of Delhi's belly

Last updated on: May 23, 2010 12:00 IST

Image: The spread at Karim's
Photographs: Harnoor Channi Tiwary Harnoor Channi Tiwary

Delhi is a foodie's delight. The variety on offer in the city is simply astounding. There is a kaleidoscope of cuisines available -- Mughlai, Manglorean, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Parsi, French and more. If you fancy a particular cuisine, you have the option of choosing a high-end fine dining restaurant, a cozy family place or even a quick fast-food cafe. The options are unlimited.

And in each cuisine, there are places that have become mini legends in Delhi. There may be better options that sprout up every now and then, but these maintain their status as the 'Legends of Delhi's belly'.

There are few institutions that can boast origins from the kitchens of Mughal kings. Karim is not just a restaurant. It is a legend, a pilgrimage of sorts. Especially recommended for non-vegetarians, Karim's kormas have satisfied many of Delhi's bellies over the decades. The original, located in the lane opposite Jama Masjid, is where the food is at its best. If you don't mind parking your car in Daryaganj and walking around crowded lanes, you will find yourself in a corridor that opens into a welcoming courtyard.

The three restaurants at Karim all have a common kitchen so the food is equally good. The decor is nothing special, think of it as a dhaba. The franchisees in Nizamuddin and Noida are not bad but we suggest you make the pilgrimage to the original branch.

Must-haves: Korma, Mutton Stew, Seekh Kebab and Mutton Burra Kebab. If you don't mind your roti a little sweet, do try their sheermal.

Meal for 2: Rs 500

Alcohol: No

Credit cards: No

Do you have a favourite restaurant or cuisine? Or have you sampled the latest haunt on the block? Be it Manali or Kanyakumari, Kashmir or Goa, Jaipur or Nagpur -- we would love to know more about the eating out options in your village, town or city. Simply e-mail your reviews to (subject line: 'Restaurant review') and do try to include a photograph of the establishment; we'll publish the best ones right here on


Image: Big Chill Fatoush Salad and Belgian Chocolate Shake

Many came and many went. But who could have guessed that a small stand-alone restaurant in a lane in East of Kailash visited by college students would become a legend in itself. Ritu Dalmia's Diva may do a mean Lamb Chop but the prize for the best Italian in Delhi must go to 'The Big Chill Cafe'.

With branches now in Kailash Colony, Khan Market, Select City Walk and Gurgaon, the restaurant has climbed the ladder of success solely on its own merit, having consistently dished out fantastic food. Ask any young Delhiite and they will have their favourite Big Chill dish to suggest. The decor is interesting with posters of movies (classics as well as recent hits). Call ahead to reserve as they usually have a crowd waiting.

Must-haves: Fusilli Chicken Piri Piri, Penne with Bacon, Grilled Prawns with Piri Piri sauce, Spaghetti with Chicken in red wine sauce, Minestrone Soup, Belgian Chocolate Shake. Their deserts are to die for. Choose from Mud Cake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Hot Molten Lava Cake and more.

Meal for 2: Rs 1,200

Alcohol served: No

Credit cards: Yes


Image: A Chungwa spread

Though you have options like 'The Chinese' and 'Mainland China' that serve authentic Chinese food (read bland for the Indian palate), if you prefer the Indianised version, drop in to Chungwa. Situated in Greater Kailash 2 M-block market, this restaurant took over the legend's mantle with the downfall of the earlier legend Fujia at Malcha Marg.

Chungwa has great food for prices that are not exorbitant and dishes out the most delectable Golden Fried Jumbo Prawns you would have ever had! Sit on the ground floor for a quiet evening or on the first floor, that has more of a club atmosphere.

Must-haves: Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Shredded Lamb in Hot Garlic Sauce, Spring Rolls, Golden Fried Jumbo Prawns and American Chopsuey.

Meal for 2: Rs 700

Alcohol served: Yes

Credit cards: Yes


Image: The Yum Yum Tree

When you feel like eclectic oriental food but can't decide between Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Korean or Vietnamese, head straight to the Yum Yum Tree at New Friends Colony. A fairly new setup, the restaurant boasts the only Sushi conveyor belt in Delhi. But that is not the only reason you should head here.

Though the a la carte menu is expensive, they have a great deal called 'Table on Tuesdays' valid on Tuesdays. The deal includes unlimited conveyor belt (which usually has 3-4 options in sushi, a salad, a chicken dish and dessert), and their fixed menu from which you can pick a four-course dinner. They also throw in unlimited Tiger beer in the deal. And priced at Rs 599 + tax, this is a great deal.

The Yum Yum Tree may not be a Delhi Belly Legend yet but it's unique proposition convinces us that this is a place you must visit.

Must-haves: Even if you are not a Sushi person, give it a shot here. Their sushis are yummy. Also try their Malaysian curries.

Meal for 2: Rs 700 (For the lunch deal)

Alcohol: Yes

Credit cards: Yes


Image: Nirula's

Last but not the least, if you have a sweet tooth and are a chocolate fan, there is no place in the country that can compete with Delhi's own Hot Chocolate Fudge from Nirula's. Most of us who have grown up in Delhi have seen the rise and fall of Nirula's but the one thing that keeps it afloat and on our speed dial list is their 'HCF'.

Three scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with the best chocolate sauce you've ever tasted and cashew nuts -- at Rs 120, it's money well spent.

Alcohol: No

Credit cards: Yes

Home delivery: Yes