Saturday, June 11, 2011

Best Dining Options in Pune

Stone Water Grill PuneA lot of people still visit my blog when searching for dining options in Pune. Since the time I last put up my Best Of list, there have been many new and worthy entrants into Pune; also, some of the old ones have since closed. Therefore, my dear foodie friends, here's a brand new set of recommendations; let me know if you agree too.

Speciality Indian Cuisine:

The Great Kabab Factory is probably the best place right now for kabab lovers in Pune in a five star setting. They offer a fixed menu of seven kababs, Indian breads, dal followed by biryani and desserts. Do try their Gilauti Kabab, their signature speciality.

Paprika Hot RocksSigree is a good option too for kababs, biryanis and curries and is very popular during weekday lunch hours when they offer a buffet style sampling of their fare.

Oh! Calcutta is a personal favorite and recommended for those who want to try something a little different. Do try the Kakda Chingdi Bhapa - a starter of crab and prawn meat steamed in banana leaf - and the Kosha Mangsho with Luchi - a Bengali mutton dish with Bengali-style poories.

Taareef is another front-runner if I am in the Aundh area. They serve the most delectible Murgh Kali Mirch kababs and a fantastic Gosht Dum Biryani. The Tandoori Raan is another winner if you have a large appetite.

TGKF PuneFor Kashmiri and Mughlai food, Shikara is another excellent choice. Do try the Gushtaba, Chakori Kababs and Tabak Maas here.

East Asian and Chinese:

I am in love with Baan Tao, the recently opened Thai restaurant in Ista Hotel. Their Thai chef dishes up some of the best Thai dishes in town. Do try the papaya salad and the Thai Fish in Tamarind Sauce and also the Green Curry with Prawns or Chicken.

Mainland ChinaMalaka Spice continues to delight with creative cuisine from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Burma. An extensive menu, a caricature artist and a 'street food' section makes this a place worth visiting.

Mainland ChinaHarajuku serves the best Japanese food in Pune. Visitors from Japan are frequent visitors to this restaurant in the O Hotel in Koregaon Park. While they have a limited variety of sushi, they dish up a decent selection of soups, teriyaki and teppanyaki dishes.

Finally, Mainland China which will probably win any popularity content. I have never had a bad day here. Everything on the menu is excellent. I usually start with a Peppery Lemon Soup and Dimsums which always make for a good start. Another option is the excellent Tsinghoi Chiken starter. For the main course, Burnt Garlic Fish with Seasonal Greens, Sapo Chicken or Sliced Lamb in Chillibroth are all winners.

Pure Vegetarian:

For those not of the carnivorous bent, there are several choices. While vegetarian food in India is almost always associated with the low-end, affordable segment, that is now a-changing. Shakahari at the new ICC Marriott Hotel provides specialty Indian and Thai food that is guaranteed to be pure vegetarian with nary a trace of animal produce.

Dario's is rated by many as the best Italian food in town. They only cater vegetarian food, but their pizzas and pastas are among the best.


Unique to Pune's dining scene, sizzler restaurants have existed here forever. But among the many available, I recommend Bounty's in Kalyani Nagar and Zamu's in Dhole Patil Road. Both are small and intimate places frequented by youngsters. My favorite at Zamu is the Chicken Shaslik with a starter of their popular Garlic Mushrooms. At Bounty, I usually order the Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce. The sizzle from the hot iron griddles are especially delightful during the monsoons and winter months.

Western and European Fusion Cuisine:

For those who are desperate for a steak or a taste of Europe, there are now a few choices.

Stone Water Grill provides a good selection of Mediterranean dishes nicely plated in a chic dining area. Paprika Hot Rocks is another interesting new place where they dish up grilled meats and vegetables on a hot volcanic rock. Other options popular with Pune's exploding expat population are The Ship, Arthur's Theme and Sen5es. Sen5es is especially good if you are dying for a steak or a rack of lamb. Visit during the evening hours when they light some fires given the place a very special atmosphere.


For high quality Italian food, La Terrazza is my current favorite hands down. This delightful restaurant in the Hyatt Regency is helmed by an Italian chef and provides the best food and wine combination in an unpretentious but five star setting. There is also Prego at The Westin, Little Italy on University Road for those looking for a more affordable option and Alto Vino at the ICC Marriott Hotel.

La Terrazza Hyatt PuneGood Booze and Grub:

For some drinks in a lounge setting both Esca and Zicomo are new options in the Aundh/Baner areas. However, for atmosphere nothing beats the grand-daddy of them all, 1000 Oaks on East Street. Kiva and Smokies are close second and third in my opinion.

Indian Coastal Cuisine:

When people say Seafood Restaurant here, they usually mean seafood cooked in the Konkan way. So you if love spices and seafood, head out to Nisarg in Kothrud, Mahesh Lunch Home on Moledina Road or Rahul in Aundh. They are the best options in town for Konkan seafood. Another interesting place is Coconut Grove.

Udupi/South Indian fast food:

For some quick idli-vada-dosas, Pune has Vaishali its most famous restaurant. No reservations and always packed, this place gets its share of local celebrities. Kalyani in Kalyani Nagar and Madhuban in Dhole Patil Road are a good option too for those in these parts of town.


Priyanka said...

Despite being vegetarian , Darios is a really good Italian food place

Priyanka said...

The best seafood option now in Pune is probably Masemari near Tilak road

Anonymous said...

@Priyanka: Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

Cybergirl said...

I'll prefer Yana's in Mariplex Mall anytime over bounty sizzlers.
Also, If you are on a lookout for kashmiri food, do try northern frontier on Nagar Road.

Shantanu said...

@Cybergirl: Thanks for sharing. Have tried Yana’s and do like their large menu. I may not ordered the right one probably - didn’t particularly enjoy that sizzler.

Shantanu said...

@Cybergirl: Thanks for sharing. Have tried Yana’s and do like their large menu. I may not ordered the right one probably - didn’t particularly enjoy that sizzler.

ketan said...

If you want to try authentic Maharashtra thali (closest to home cooked Maharashtrian food), then visit Badshahi or Poona Boarding house. Both are located on Tilak road. Badshahi (completed a 100 yrs few yrs ago) is actually located in an old Pune style wada, and they still serve you water in brass vessels. Its an experience of its kind. But no fancy suff. Just plan old mess kind of setting. Do visit it once, though.

titbit said...

Thanks for sharing these best option's at pune. nice post !!

Tirupati Tour package from Chennai said...

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Rahul Vikas said...

Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing this information,
Enjoy multi-cuisine delicacies at one of the best hotel in Pune.