Sunday, December 23, 2007

Top Pune Eat-Outs

Lunch Thali at the Mystic Masala PuneIn an earlier post, I had listed my top five favorite restaurants in Pune. However, for new visitors to Pune, here is a larger list of eating options which I frequent, to give you a flavor of what's available (and good!). Please note that I am partial to restaurants located in the Camp Area. Also, I am only covering mid-range restaurants in this post which are 'safe enough' for our friends from abroad.

Note: The locations and phone numbers of all restaurants mentioned here are provided at the end of this post.

Update, June 2011: Updated post on Best Dining Options in Pune.

Indian food

By default when someone says Indian food, it usually means North-Indian food. The menu will include kababs, curries, and common breads such as Naan and Roti.

Kulfi Falooda at the Mystic Masala PuneSigree has a better lunch buffet (now) than the Bombay Brasserie and therefore would be my top choice for a business lunch. Bombay Brasserie easily makes the best kababs in town and will be my top dining choice for Indian food. They also have a sit-down buffet option outdoors during the evening which includes unlimited kababs, bread, dal, biryani and desserts. If you choose the à la carte menu, I recommend Murgh Kali Mirch and the Sheek Kababs here, followed by Dal Bukhara with Garlic Naan and Gosht Biryani. Make sure you try the Rabdi for dessert, or better still combine and share portions of rabdi with malai kulfi.

Buffet at the Sun N Sand PuneAmong the five-star hotels, Chingari at the Le Meridien and Kabab Hut at the Sun N Sand are good options, but the quality of their kababs fall short of those found at the Bombay Brasserie.


For something different, you can also try the Lunch Thali at the Mystic Masala in the Taj Blue Diamond hotel. The South Indian thali was the best one I have had so far at this place.

Mainland China PuneChinese and Thai

Mainland China is the best option for great food during lunch or dinner. They also have a special lunch menu which let's you order a soup, entree, rice/noodles and desserts for a fixed price. I recommend the Peppery Lemon Soup (chicken or prawn), the steamed dim sum platter and the Chengdu Clay Bowl Chicken.

Malaka Spice and Silk Route are great options for Thai food (they also have Chinese, Vietnamese, Malay and Korean and other Far East Asian food items on their menus). Malaka Spice has a decent wine list too. The ambiance in Silk Route may not be top-notch but the food more than makes up for this.

Alternately, Whispering Bamboo at the Taj Blue Diamond is an excellent choice for a business dinner or for one of those special occasions. Do try their prawns in pepper and salt as a starter and the water-chestnut dessert here.

Mainland China PuneSea-Food

Sea-food in Pune usually means Cuisine from the Konkan Coast. These restaurants will serve you a variety of fish, prawns and crabs made in different styles.

My top choice is Krishna (they used to call themselves Trishna earlier) and Coconut Grove, followed by Spice Garden (old-timers will know this place as Farshid's). Mahesh Lunch Home, which showed a lot of promise earlier, sadly comes fourth in my list!

At Krishna, I usually order Pomfret fry (bone-less) which is excellent with mint-chutney and onion rings. At Spice Garden, I love their tandoori Surmai (king-fish) chunks. At all these places, I love having a Gassi with either the appam or neer dosa. The gassi is a Konkan curry that is made of grated coconut and spices with prawns, fish or chicken. The appam and neer dosa are speciality steamed breads only found in some of the southern Indian states.

The Coconut Grove also serves a mean Clams Masala that you must try when visiting this place.

Sizzlers

This is a new category of eat-outs I only encountered when I made Pune my home; I do not remember any 'sizzler' restaurants in Delhi. And my friends from the USA, this isn't a Pune version of Hooters! It's not the waitstaff that sizzles but the food they serve on hot iron griddles. :-)

Sizzlers usually consist of grilled meats, veggies and fries that are arranged on a hot iron griddle and serves with a sauce of your choice. The loud sizzling noise and smoke as the food is brought to your table are what makes this interesting. My top choices are Yana, Zamu's and Yoko's. If you don't mind the cramped interior Bounty is a good one too. Incidentally, The Place claims to be the first sizzler restaurant in Pune (and apparently in the country too).

My favorite sizzler is usually the Chicken Shaslik (because it is the spiciest one of them all!) but I ask them to serve it with fries instead of rice. Try the sizzling brownie with ice-cream for dessert if you are eating at Yoko's.

International Fare at Flags PuneThe Others

And finally, here my other favorites that don't fall into any particular category.

La Dolce Vita and Toscana for Italian food. There is a new restaurant in town but I haven't tried that yet. La Dolce Vita has a large selection of wine and has recently opened a Martini Bar right next door. Toscana is my choice for a romantic dinner during the summer evenings.

Flags is an interesting restaurant that features food from many different countries; good ambiance, lots of entree choices and innovative cocktails make this a good dinner destination, especially after a movie at the neighbouring Inox multiplex.

International Fare at Flags PuneNot Just Jazz By The Bay is in my list, not only for it's live music during the evenings, but also for their creative Salads & Sandwiches lunch buffet during week-days.

For unwinding during the evening over drinks, Kiva' new location in Koregaon Park is my current favorite. Extensive menu of starters, cocktails, retro and rock music. Very tastefully done interiors too.

And finally, Arther's Theme which claims their cuisine is French. French or not, the food is good. I love this place for sentimental reasons: it is one of the earliest places I and my wife frequented during our first weeks in Pune. However, I love their quaint interiors and innovative menus too. They are one of the few restaurants in Pune where you get nicely presented plated food.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I am certain I will have other eat-outs to talk about in the coming year. Meanwhile, if you are at Pune and have try one of these places, I would like to know if you agree with me or have another opinion. Bon Appetit!

Locations and Phone Numbers

Sigree: City Tower, Dhole Patil Road Road & Boat Club Road Junction : Ph- 66027080
Bombay Brasserie: City Point, Dhole Patil Road & Boat Club Road Junction : Ph- 66011101
Chingari at Le Meridien Hotel: RBM Road : Ph-26050505
Kabab Hut at Sun N Sand Hotel: Bund Garden Road : Ph - 26137777
Mystic Masala at Taj Blue Diamond Hotel: Koregaon Road : Ph -66025555

Mainland China: City Point, Dhole Patil Road & Boat Club Road Junction : Ph- 66013030
Malaka Spice: Lane 6, Koregaon Park : Ph - 26136293
Silk Route: Lane 6, Koregaon Park : Ph - 26135793
Whispering Bamboo at Taj Blue Diamond Hotel: Koregaon Road : Ph -66025555

Krishna: Ashoka Mall opposite Sun N Sand hotel. Ph - 26132331
Coconut Grove: Mangalwar Peth,Opposite Ambedkar Bhavan : Ph - 26053981
Spice Garden: Dhole Patil Road (at the end of the lane on which Zamu's is located)

Yana: Gold Ablabs Multiplex, Kalyani Nagar : Ph - 56092451
Zamu's: 189 Dhole Patil Road : Ph - 26123610
Yoko: 3-G, 5th avenue, Dhole Patil Road : Ph - 30908165
Bounty: Landmark Garden, Kalyani Nagar : Ph - 26613360
The Place: Moledina Road & MG Road junction, beside Hotel Aurora Towers : Ph - 26134632

La Dolce Vita: City Point, Dhole Patil Road & Boat Club Road Junction : Ph - 26145555
Toscana: Next to Bishop's School, Kalyaninagar : Ph: 26686520
Flags: Metropole, Bund Garden Road : Ph: 26141213
Not Just Jazz by the Bay: E-Square Multiplex, University Road : Ph: 56044200
Kiva: Lane 6 (all the way down towards South Main Road), Koregaon Park : Ph - 30520987
Arthur's Theme: Lane 6, Koregaon Park. Ph - 26132710


Recent Updates on Pune's Dining Scene:

35 comments:

A C said...

Great Effort ...Congratulations Next time in Pune I sure would try couple of tem

RennyBA said...

Your posts are such a great read and this one was really good. So informative and well documented with wonderful pics.

My mouth is watering and I just love to see food so exotic and different from what we have in Norway.
My fav would have been seafood!

Wishing you A Wonderful Yuletide :-)

Vishal Pipraiya said...

Must visit is the Bhagat Tarachand branch on laxmi road

Shantanu said...

@ac: Thanks! When you do, please let me know which one you visited and how you found it.

@rennyba: Thank you, Renny. Let me wish you and your family a Very Happy Xmas and New Year too.

@vishal: Hmm...haven't heard of that one? What kind of food do they serve? BTW, I left out places from the non-Camp areas because I haven't really been to that many in Aundh/Kothrud/Laxmi Road.

BeeLee said...

Hey Shantanu, Merry X'mas and a happy new year to you too :-)

beaverboosh said...

Shantanu,
I am seriosly considering a culinary expedition to Pune! Thanks for the season greeting!
BB

edwardkhoo.com said...

Seeing those pics makes me fee like want to eat my laptop :P

Laura Spencer said...

Wow! The food looks delicious. Thanks for this mini-restaurant guide. I'm sure that those traveling to Pune will be grateful for this.

Random Magus said...

All the food talk is making me hungry even though I am full and its past midnight.
Merry Christmas

Sig said...

Love the pics esp. the first thali pic... looks like Pune is a culinary heaven...
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and family Shantanu!

Shantanu said...

@beelee: Thank you. Merry Xmas!

@beaverboosh: You should. :-)

@edwardkhoo: Ha ha. :-)

@laura: Welcome to my blog. Thank you!

@ramdom magus: There is always space for a little more. :-)

@sig: The thali is from the Mystic Masala. One of the few five-star hotels that serve a lunch thali in India.

Zhu said...

I'm actually really full right now thanks to a great Xmas dinner, but still, my mouth is watering...

Sagari said...

woww plate full of yummy food

Shantanu said...

@zhu: Hope you had a great Xmas!

@sagari: Welcome and thanks...

Life is Colourful said...

It's so delicious, not only food, but your post as well.

Shantanu said...

@life is colourful: Welcome to my blog... and thanks!

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

my new year resolution to visit reach one of the place mentioned by you

Param said...

Great information! …any idea what are the best places in Pune for Biryani?

Shantanu said...

@harekrishnaji: Fantastic! Let me know how you find them.

@param: I love the gosht dum biryani at Bombay Brasserie. Other popular places are Blue Nile (low-end but many old-timers like this place; alo, biryani not prepared in dum style) and Sigree.

Param said...

thanks!

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Just 10-15 days back I carried home, Chicken Biryani from Koyla at FC Road for my guest and it was completly let down. They were all totally disappoitend with the quality of the food. Simply horrible.

Thought I will share this experience.

Shantanu said...

@harekrishnaji: Thank you for the input. Koyla has two branches, the other one in Koregaon Park. I have never liked the food very much.

working abroad said...

shantanu, great blog. Me and a few coworkers will be working in Pune for the next 6 to 9 months. We are looking for great steaks in pune. If you know of any restaurants, or especially how to get uncooked beef that we can grill ourselves let me know.

Shantanu said...

@working abroad: You are in luck! As you can imagine, India is not the best place to eat beef given that a large part of the population considers the cow holy. However, in Pune, you do get beef steaks easily. Every one of the sizzler places listed above serves steak.

trips said...

Hey Shantanu i just came across your post and it is a great read with comprehensive information.. My email id is trupti@metromela.com or shetty.trupti@gmail.com..Can you please email me your id or phone number...I would like to discuss with you something regarding the write up..

Anupam Kr. said...

Guys..there is new place called "Marwar" that opened up yesterday on Baner road, small shop like resturant somewhere between foodbazaar and CCD, looks like a wadapao joint from far, young boys from Jodhpur have started on shoestring budget, but the food is amazingly authentic and has a very unique earthen flavour to it, the chances are that they will mess-up in couple of months, so while they are still good..go and soak urself up in Dal-Baati and gatte ki sabji for prices as low as 50/- per head,

Shankar said...

My compliments on your writing and pictures. Enjoyed the restaurant reviews and travel tales. Since you are a gourmet traveller, do you also wield the knife and ladle at home?

Anonymous said...

A must visit is The Green Villa situated at Lane C, Koregaon Park, Pune. I love their Mughlai food. They also serve Lebanese and hookas of which I am not a fan of. I visited the family section and we all LOOOOVEEED the food!!! Pune was really lacking a good and affordable Mughlai place before.

Vikram Karve said...

Shantanu,
Like you said you seem focussed on the Camp and Koregaon Park area. The places you mentioned are indeed good, but they serve cuisine you get at other places in India and abroad too.
How about exploring the heart of Pune and discovering some authentic Maharashtrian Puneri cuisine...!
Happy Eating
Vikram

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

well. Vikram is right. You can try Duryankur for a change . I personnally does not like Shreyas at all. I prefer Asha Dinning Hall at Apte Road. Simple homely bhojan, somewhat of Karwari Thali. Nice place.

Shantanu said...

@All: Thank you for the opinions and comments.

@Vikram: Indeed! I have to do a series on local food including some of the street food. :)

@Harekrishnaji: I will note these places down. Thanks.

Deepti said...

Hi,
Thanks for this post! Just one addition: Silk Route is far better in Chinese and what one might call proper "authentic" Oriental cuisine than Mainland China. Their sushi fare is really good for starts and there is a lot of variety in Vietnamese, Burmese, Japanese cuisines.

Subha Rajeev said...

great food-rendezvous !! keep posting

R I T I said...

Shantanu, did you try Chang's ? It's a little chinese place in Viman Nagar. It's one of our regular haunts, love the food ! Pretty close to your place to. It's near Dutta Mandir.

Varun said...

Hi, I just came across your blog a few months back. After reading your blog, I decided to visit Galaxy Grill at aundh. It was a wonderful dining experience. I am a foodie like u. I have also written some blogs. just wanted some tips from you on blogging...can u give me some tips on blogging?