Kolkata Eating Guide – Top Food Destinations
Kolkata is literally a melting pot of cultures. This quality is best accentuated in its rich culinary traditions, which has been culled through the ages and inspired by several migrations and invasions. The Mughals for instance introduced the love for decadent biriyanis and thick gravy based curries among the populace. The ubiquitous “kathi roll”, which has become popular across the country was invented here by the Mohmedan community. The wave of Haka Chinese immigrants who moved to the city during the Sino-Indian war, brought with them delicious recipes of authentic Haka Chinese food. Their ingenuous recipes, combined with the local herbs and spices have become a distinguished brand today, popularly referred to as “Indian-Chinese” food. Then you have Continental Food that was popularized by the British and other Europeans during the colonial rule. From the humble “bread and stew” at the local street stall to the succulent sizzlers and steaks at restaurants, numerous variants of the Continental style can be savored in the city. Here is a list of the top restaurants, eateries (Kolkata Eating Guide), which the City of Joy is renowned for.Click for the Kolkata Restaurant’s List. (PDF version)
Arsalan (popular for Kolkata Mughlai Food)
Although the Golden Age of the Mughal Empire has receded from public consciousness, their imperial legacy lives on through their monumental buildings and spectacular cuisine. The latter is best experienced in the city of Joy, which is famed for being the birthplace of the “kathi roll”. The Mughal Emperors were gracious enough to pass on their treasured recipes to the Mohmedans of Kolkata, which has manifested itself in the guise of authentic Mughlai food that has been replicated to the letter. One of the leading exponents of Mughlai cuisine in the city is Arsalan, a popular restaurant chain that boasts outlets across the country and abroad. Since its inception on October 6th 2002, the restaurant has been dishing out a wide assortment of Mughlai fare ranging from Biryanis and Kebabs to a variety of rotis and parathas accompanied with succulent Tandoori dishes. Arsalan’s main branch is located at Mariana Garden Court, 191, Park Street (Park Circus, 7 Point Crossing) Kolkata- 700017.
Shiraz Golden Restaurant (popular for Kolkata Mughlai Food)
Amidst Kolkata’s burgeoning restaurant business, Shiraz Golden Restaurant still retains its pride of place in the palates of Kolkata’s food lovers. A pioneering institution in the realm of Mughlai food, the restaurant is renowned for its mutton Biriyanis and kebabs. Such is the popularity of the restaurant that it is considered almost de-rigueur to sample its delicacies while visiting the city. Despite the years that have elapsed, the restaurant has been consistent in its ability to satisfy patrons with its aromatic and flavorsome spread. The fine basmati rice is tempered with just the right blend of spices and ingredients to create mouth watering Biriyanis. Food mavens can also choose from a variety of kebabs, risalas and chops as accompaniments for the main course. Keeping in consonance with the demand, Shiraz has opened up several outlets across the city, the most popular of them being the one located at Mullick Bazar crossing.
Bhojohori Manna (popular for Bengali cuisine)
The aestheticism of Bengali culture is best delineated by its art, literature and delectable cuisine. Kolkata’s Bhojohori Manna is one such restaurant that pays homage to Bengal’s evergreen culinary tradition with élan. The eatery was established with the objective of preserving Bengal’s rich gastronomical lineage in the guise of a budget hotel that is affordable by all. Despite the years that have elapsed since its inception, the restaurant has retained its old world charm, which effortlessly conjures up scenes from a bygone era. The restaurant derives its name from a popular Manna Dey song of the 70s. Connoisseurs can savor timeless favorites, including the likes of Daab Chingri, Mutton Dakbangla and Goalondo Steamed Curry amidst a soothing Bengali ambience. Marvelous sketches of Sukumar Ray adorn the walls and serve as a beguiling testimony to Bengal’s artistic heritage. Bhojohori Manna is also renowned for its seasonal delicacies, including its esteemed varieties of Hilsa preparations, which is a unanimous crowd favorite. The handwritten menus on a whiteboard announce the items for the day and vary according to the season, festivity and ingredients available on that given day.
Aaheli – The Peerless Inn (popular for Bengali cuisine)
For a firsthand experience of Bengali warmth, hospitality and sumptuous food, step into the Peerless Inn. Located in the heart of the city on Chowringhee Road, the Peerless Inn provides a world class lodging experience for the discerning traveler. Apart from its luxuries, the Peerless Inn also offers vacationers with a wide range of dining options. The Aaheli conjures up a mouth watering array of quintessential Bengali dishes. Signature preparations involving meat, fish and poultry can be savored here. Such is the reputation of Aaheli’s culinary delights that it has become increasingly popular among Kolkata’s international tourists as well. As the restaurants’ logo suggests, Aaheli creates a nurturing ambience for all its diners while they lose themselves in the delight of spectacular food. The menu comprises of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. Generally the vegetarian thali consists of delicious loochis, dal, rice, assortment of veggies, pulao, chutney, papad and 2 varieties of Bengali sweets. The non-vegetarian thali includes aromatic favorites such as Betki fish curry, mutton curry, and prawn malai curry that are complemented with the staples of pulao rice, loochis, dal, veggies, chutney, papad and two selections of Bengali sweet.
Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick (popular for Kolkata sweets)
Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick is a legendary sweet shop in South Kolkata. The shop has been catering to the local sweet tooth for more than a century, refusing to compromise on its consistency and quality. The USP of this sweet shop is the freshness and distinguished taste of their eclectic variety of sweets, which range from traditional Bengali to newer innovative hybrids. Their specialties include the Jolbhora and Taalshash. The new ranges of east meets west hybrids include the Chocolate Kaju Barfi and the Nolen Gurer Mousse. Age-old delicacies including the sorrabri, lal misti doi, pantua, rossomalai and the ever popular chanar payesh generate a huge demand on a daily basis. The shop prides itself in adhering to the time tested recipes and preparations that have been passed down through the ages. Traditional Bengali utensils such as the lohar petano kadai and the kather taroo, which is a long wooden spatula are still used to prepare the delicious sweets. Additionally, the sweet shop uses high quality raw materials, which include imported Belgian chocolate and exotic fruits sourced from all across the country and abroad to lend the sweets a regal flavor.
K.C. Das (popular for Kolkata sweets)
K.C. Das is an inimitable sweet shop that has reigned supreme in Kolkata since the early 1900’s. It was established by Krishna Chandra Das, a sweetmeat extraordinaire and scion of Nobin Chandra Das, who is credited for pioneering the “Rossogolla”. Following the footsteps of his father, Krishna Chandra Das opened the first K.C. Das outlet in 1930 along with his son Sarada Charan. K. C. Das is acknowledged for inventing the “Rossomolai”, a peerless favorite among Bengalis. He was also the first to introduce the canned rossogolla, which became an instant favorite among travelers. Following his demise, his legacy was passed on to his son Sarada Charan, who followed in his footsteps and established the brand K.C. Das in 1946 as a private limited company. Since then K.C. Das has snowballed into a long standing benchmark for Bengali sweets, incorporating modern methods into its production, whilst retaining its quintessential flavor. They currently have outlets all over Kolkata and Bangalore, whilst generating a global interest in the market place.
Banana Leaf (popular for South Indian food in Kolkata)
For an authentic South Indian dining experience in Kolkata, head to Banana Leaf. The restaurant occupies a sprawling 3500 square feet of space and has a capacity of 110. It danced into the hearts of Kolkata’s food lovers in 2002 and has earned rave reviews from star personalities including Mithun Chakraborty, south Indian actor Dhanush and industrialist Sanjiv Goenka, among many others who have had the pleasure of dining here. Banana Leaf zealously adheres to its credo – “south Indian food ……..served fresh”, which is exactly what guests can expect when they enter this homely restaurant, brimming with the aromas of South Indian spices. Adding to the authenticity of its menu are the South Indian chefs, specially recruited to deliver an uncompromising array of dosas, vadas, idly and uttapam. The food is prepared hygienically in an exclusive automated unit that functions in accordance with the Health & Food standards observed by quality restaurants in the country.
Beijing Restaurant (popular for Chinese cuisine)
Just like Kolkata’s other migrant communities, the Chinese have left an indelible mark on the city’s culinary landscape. The restaurant which best embodies the flavors of Indian Chinese food is Beijing Restaurant, located in China Town, which is also home to the city’s Chinese milieu. The restaurant is renowned across India for its adherence to traditional Hakka Chinese cuisine, as most of China Town’s residents are of Hakka Chinese origin. Although the food is Chinese, the spicy flavors are most definitely Indian with a hint of Bengali for good measure. Apart from the delectable noodles, some of the other crowd favorites found on the menu include chicken lollipops, aptly named “drums of heaven”, for their irresistible flavor and crispiness. On a cold winter day, nothing warms the cockles of your heart better than the delicious Thai mixed meat soup, which is a thick broth comprising the choicest cuts of meat, imbued with a rich lemon flavor. The gamut of prawn based dishes is also to die for. In particular, the garlic prawn and sweet sour prawn will do quite a tango in your mouth. Spice lovers can relish the lip smacking mutton ribs cooked in schezwan sauce. And just like any other Chinese restaurant, diners can select from a wide range of fried rice and noodle dishes that best complement the aforesaid delicacies. Unlike most of its peers, Beijing Restaurant conjures up a remarkable ambience for its diners, replete with an upbeat service and adequate parking facilities. Beijing is situated at 77/1 Christopher Road, Tangra, Kolkata.
Peter Cat Restaurant (popular for Continental cuisine in Kolkata)
In the domain of Kolkata’s Continental Food, one name rings supreme – Peter Cat! Emblazoned with a quirky logo, the restaurant’s ambience proffers an elegant mix of Indian and Continental, which blissfully translates into its menu as well. Its inexpensive cost, enchanting ambience, fascinating history and delicious repertoire of Continental and Indian delights have made it a popular haunt among locals and tourists who visit Park Street. The restaurant has an interesting etymology to boot. It was named after a famous cat that frequented the Lord’s cricket ground of London between 1952 and 1964. The name fit aptly with the cricket crazy milieu of Kolkata and the restaurant has continued to be a sensation since its inception in the swinging sixties. Peter Cat has gained widespread acclaim for its stupendous kebabs and sizzlers. A must have is the chelo kebab, an Indo-Continental hybrid comprising of one chicken kebab with two minced mutton kebabs, served on a bed of rice and a fried egg. Another crowd favorite is the succulent chicken kebab that is served with vegetables, egg and sauce. Despite its bustling crowds, the service is incredibly prompt and upbeat. This is one Cool Cat worth a visit!
Bar B Q (popular for Continental cuisine)
Joining the fray of Kolkata’s new breed of Continental restaurants is Bar B Q, located on Kolkata’s Park Street. As the name suggests, Bar B Q is most famous for its grilled and tandoor dishes. These include an excellent variety of decadent kebabs, sizzlers, roasts and other grilled foods. Bar B Q offers several dining options that include breakfast and brunch, lunch and dinner. For lunch and dinner, spot reservations can be made. Customers can also avail of takeout and home delivery options within a certain radius. The sophisticated yet homely ambience is perfect for a family meal, dinner to commemorate a special occasion or entertain business clients over a hearty spread.
Dacres Lane (popular for street food)
There is a popular refrain echoed by residents of the city of Joy, stating that a cultural tour of Kolkata is incomplete without sampling its legendary street food. From the ubiquitous “kathi roll” that came into existence during the colonial era to the irresistible spread of cutlets, fish fries, chops, chowmein and the like, the people of Kolkata are spoilt for choice. One such street, which has become synonymous with Kolkata’s deep fried treats, is Dacres Lane, located between Esplanade and Waterloo Street. The place is steeped in history and was once a fashion locality frequented by the hip and happening of the city. The street was named after Philip Milner Dacres, who was the Collector of Calcutta, circa the 1700s. Dacres Lane is reckoned as the Mecca of Kolkata’s street food. Here, fast food mavens can take their pick from a wide assortment of deep fried foods, Chinese style fried rice, chowmein and Biriyani at astonishingly low rates. A cut above the rest is the infamous “Chitto dar dokan”, which has been serving up a sensational mutton stew accompanied with bread toast for almost 50 years.
Allen Kitchen (popular for snacks)
If splendid budget food is what you crave, mixed with a dash of nostalgia, head to the time honored Allen Kitchen in Jatindra Mohan Avenue. The eatery was named after a Scotsman by the name of Mr. Allen, who happened to be the original proprietor of the place. Allen Kitchen reached its heyday after it was taken over by the late Jiban Krishna Saha in 1958. 130 years later and the restaurant is still a ready reckoner among Kolkata’s Foodies. The undeniable USP of Allen Kitchen is its signature Special Prawn cutlet. Succulent prawns are spiced, breaded in a layer of crumbs and deep fried in ghee to give the Prawn Cutlet its remarkable texture and flavor. Some of the other perennial favorites on the menu include the Fish Roll, Fish Cutlet, Fish pakoras, Fish kabiraji and Mutton Ishtew, to name a few. A new entrant known as the Chicken Stack introduced by current owner and professional chef Goutam Saha will gratify your senses and satiate your taste-buds like never before. The dish comprising of spicy boneless chicken, cooked in onion gravy is a perfect entrée to conclude an evening. Allen kitchen remains open from 4pm to 9pm, but it is best to get there before 7pm as most of the food gets sold out rather quickly.
Mitra Café (popular for snacks)
The Mitra Café is yet another relic that has gratified the taste-buds of many generations in the city. It was founded by Mr. Sushil Roy in the year 1920. The name stems from the Bengali equivalent for friends. The eatery was coined “Mitra Café” as a token of Mr. Roy’s appreciation for his customers who he valued as friends. During its nascent stages, Mitra Café had a limited menu, which has increased dramatically over time. Now along with the customary cutlets and other delicious snacks, the menu has incorporated Mughlai as well as Bengali delicacies. For breakfast, customers can choose from hot freshly made omelets with butter toast. The evening menu includes an entire gamut of chicken, mutton, prawn and fish dishes that could rival any of its contemporaries. From mutton curry’s drizzling with gravy to sumptuous biryanis and a host of fish and chicken preparations, Mitra Café never ceases to impress its patrons.
Flurys (popular for breakfast)
Flurys! The mere mention of its name precedes its reputation. It started out as a nouveau tearoom in the late 1920s by its proprietor’s Mr and Mrs J Flurys. In those days, it largely catered to a British, European and affluent Indian clientele. More than 80 years later and the wide assortment of rich puddings, creamy pastries, Swiss chocolates and other confection continue to sell like hot cakes. The old décor was given a contemporary spin in recent times, making it a roaring success with the city’s younger clientele. Apart from its timeless chocolate bakes and desserts, the iconic Flury’s breakfast, which is served all day is an experience in itself worth raving about. It is a quintessential English breakfast consisting of two slices of crispy bacon, one fried egg, two grilled sausages, one hash brown, a grilled tomato that is accompanied by two slices of toast with butter, preserves and washed down by a glass of fruit juice, tea or coffee. You will realize it is money well spent after you’ve had your fill. Flury’s currently has a total of 13 outlets to its credit, with plans of expansion to other major cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Click for the Kolkata Restaurant’s List. (PDF version)