Indian food is our absolute favorite food, so naturally we placed great emphasis on choosing where to eat during our stay in Delhi.
Our rule of thumb is to go where the locals go. I'm always attracted to a small hole-in-the-wall place packed with Indian people. They know how to eat!
Eating at street stalls and local joints is great for our budget and our taste buds, unless we need a little reprieve from the hustle and bustle of this delirious city of over 25 million people. In that case, we try to choose a western-friendly place that serves mainly Indian food, not just their best attempt at Western fare.
We did this a few times and I sincerely regret not taking the time to eat at world famous Bukhara restaurant, especially after reading our food-blogger friend Reena's mouthwatering account of her culinary experience at Delhi's best restaurant.
Below are some of our favorites. Eat up!
Near Chandni Chowk:
Choli stall near the Red Fort.
Choli is a favorite Indian meal or snack that consists of a giant piece of puffed fried bread, and chickpeas in a spicy gravy. We stumbled upon this busy street stall when we ventured into a small alley searching for food after a tour of the Red Fort.
I don’t know the name, because I can’t read Hindi. But I can tell you how to get there.
From the Red Fort, cross the street. Instead of continuing straight down the main road, Chandni Chowk, turn left and walk past the Jain Temple and go down the first alleyway on your right. It’s about 20 meters down on the right.
You can’t miss the giant blue tarp shading the stall that’s likely swarming with locals eating the puffed bread. A plate of the best choli I’ve ever had was only 20 rupees.
We were extra cautious and skipped the two cold sauces on the plate, and just had two helpings of the bread and chickpeas. For the full experience, eat standing there with your new friends.
Parawthe Wala - est 1875 - 36 Gali Parawthe Wali.
While you're out exploring the delirious city and following our blogger-friend Swayam's recommendations for amazing things to do in Delhi, be sure to look for Parawthe Wala!
This one is hard to find on your own. Hire a rickshaw driver to take you to the Parawta Wala on Chandni Chowk, they will know where to go and drop you off at the start of the tiny, winding alley. Walk down and you will see it.
This restaurant has been run by the same family since 1875, and for good reason: it’s AMAZING!
Their potato parawta is a classic, must have. We also enjoyed their mixed veg parawtha. One parawta and a plate of delicious dipping goodness will set you back about 50 rupees. Go there hungry.
Sonu Chat House and Restaurant for South Indian Dosas - Main Bazaar Paharganj
On the main bazaar walk west (away from the New Delhi Railway Station) past the circle intersection of Che Tooti Chowk for about 20-30 seconds keeping an eye on your left.
The little restaurant has it’s cook top at ground level with about 10 tables below it. You are just far enough off the road to not be bothered, yet you still get some amazing people watching.
They serve some killer south Indian dosas and uttapam, as well as northern Indian favorites. I recommend the onion dosa, and Nick recommends the special masala dosa.
The manager is friendly and speaks enough English, the prices are fair (60-90 for dosas), and their chai is very flavorful. A must-do breakfast spot in Paharganj.
Sharma Restaurant - Main Bazaar, just next to the Metropolis House
We found Sharma by accident, as we listened to a recommendation and decided to try the restaurant on the rooftop of Metropolis House one afternoon. We promptly changed our minds because we were actually in the mood for authentic, cheap, street-side-cafe Indian food. Sharma fit the bill completely!
Nestled just next door to the massive Metropolis House hotel (to the right, if you’re looking at it), we found the hustle and bustle of their tiny, in-restaurant kitchen to be just as interesting as the people watching out on the street.
Their staff is friendly, but a bit hands-off, so be prepared to flag them down for what you need (perfect if you’re wanting a bit of privacy), and their prices are cheap. We had a couple of traditional vegetable dishes along with their buttery garlic naan, and it was delicious. Highly recommended if you’re trying to stay away from the “western” spots.
Exotic Rooftop Restaurant
Admittedly, eating here is a bit of a splurge as you can probably guess by the name, but the view makes it worth every extra rupee. The prices were not as inflated as we imagined, as they were at the Metropolis House, so we actually ate here twice in the five days we were in Delhi.
The restaurant overlooks the busy intersection of the Main Bazaar and Che Tooti Chowk, so you are guaranteed to witness some going-ons.
On our visits we had an assortment of traditional Indian vegetable dishes and bread. The food was great, but it was quite clear that we were paying extra for the ambiance and the view.
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