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Best Café (Stand-alone)

india Updated: Oct 09, 2010 03:05 IST
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Want to just relax and chill for a while. Check out the best hangout joints in the city.

The Big Chill, Middle Lane, Khan Market
One of the evergreen favourites in Delhi’s food circle, this place really lives up to its name. The service is unfailingly polite, the decor quaint, and the food great. Whether it’s the Four Cheese pasta, Baked Potatoes or the Mustard Herb Chicken, it’s all large portions. But the real reason to queue up to get into The Big Chill remains the desserts — the Banofee Pie, Squidgy Cake, and Blueberry Cheesecake are crowd favourite.
Where: 35, Middle Lane, Khan Market, New Delhi; 41757533/ 41757544
Cuisine: Italian Timings: 12 pm - 11 pm Cost: Rs 1000

Hard Rock Café
Delhi’s Hard Rock Cafe may appear a baby in front of its big brother in Mumbai, but it still oozes a certain oomph. Rich red tints meet Red Hot Chili Peppers; wannabes sit alongside real rockers, and cheese-dripping tortillas compete with sauce-laden salmons. In music, there’s funk and punk, acid, psychedelic,
alternative, heavy metal, and more. In drinks, try the Caiparojka (that’s how they choose to spell it).
Where: M 110, 1st Floor, DLF Place, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi; 47158888 www.hardrock.com
Cuisine: American Timings: 12 pm - 1 am Cost: Rs 1500

Amici
This Italian café has a lively atmosphere, a great menu and some fabulous food. There’s an outdoor seating area, but the cosy interiors are a better bet. Wraps, burgers and imaginative drinks supplement the pizzas and pastas. Try the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Signature Shake from the drinks section and the fabulous Dry Pizza Secco from the extensive pizza menu. Also try the juicy Tenderloin Burger here.
Where: 47, Khan Market, New Delhi; 43587193
Cuisine: Italian Timings: 11 am - 11 pm Cost: Rs 1500

Market Café
A relaxed, resplendent café, this one’s a favourite with expats, literary types and upmarket regulars. The Wifi connectivity is another big draw. It’s colourful, cheerful and cosy in its new upbeat avatar. The new Mexican menu is a must-try. Other great options are Hummus with Pickled Chicken, Spinach and Roast Garlic Soup, and Rotola with Jalapeno Mayonnaise.
Where: 8, Khan Market, New Delhi; 41757703, 4175 7704
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 10 am - 10.30 pm Cost: Rs 1000

Mocha, DLF Promenade mall
With comfortable lounge sofas, bright interiors, an eclectic selection of music and assorted books, it is designed to appeal to the young and the young-at-heart. The variety it offers in terms of desserts, coffee, shakes and snacks is mind-boggling. The Mocha shake is thick and undoubtedly sinful, as are the Toblerone Milkshake and soul-satisfying Oreo Cookie Milkshake.
Where: 167, Ground Floor, DLF Promenade, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; 46075630-31
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 11 am - 12 am Cost: R 1000

The Living Room Kitchen & Bar
The décor replicates a cosy, casual and quaint living room — sofas of all shapes and sizes, centre tables, cane seats, scattered magazines — it’s all there. The cuisine is purely Continental and very enjoyable. There’s a separate smoking zone on the terrace. The service is prompt, sometimes even bordering on over-enthusiastic. They host regular music gigs and even quiz nights!
Where: 31, Hauz Khas Village, Hauz Khas, New Delhi ; 46080544/ 46080533
Cuisine: European Timings: 11 am - 1 am Cost: R 2000

Café Oz
Café Oz has a character that you’re likely to fall for after a tough day at work — casual, comfortable, cool. The interiors are funky, and there’s a laid-back feel to the place. The breakfast (or brekkie, as the Aussies say it) options are a boon, and an early lunch, the light sort, is a good thing to try out here. The grub is Australian fusion. Wash it all down with some sub-zero draught beer. Cafe Oz hosts regular live music sessions.
Where: 52, Middle Lane, Khan Market, New Delhi; 43597162/43597163; www.cafeozindia.com
Cuisine: Australian Timings: 9 am-12 am Cost: Rs 2000

News Café
The South African chain boasts innovative cocktails, great breakfast bites and non-fussy finger food. Among the cocktails, the signature Pangalactic Gargle Blaster — vodka and orange juice layered on top of cherry liqueur, grenadine and peach schnapps — is a definite winner. In food, go for the Club Sandwiches, Masala Omelette, and huge Cajun Chicken Fillet Burger, which is huge. Service is efficient.
Where: 311-314, 2nd Floor, DLF Promenade, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; 46605771-73
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 10 am - 12 am Cost: R 1500

Passion — My Cup of Tea, Vasant Vihar
Their concoctions are warm and endearing, the ambience cheerful. From teas infused with cinnamon and mocha to lemon and mint — you’ll find a happy variety here. The crowd favourite is Hibiscus Iced Tea. Add a little adventure to your cuppa by going for Hazelnut, Almond, or Caramelised Cinnamon flavours. The juiced teas are interesting, too. Have the Carrot Muffin, Vada Pav spirals or the rolls alongside.
Where: 60, Basant Lok complex, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi; 41669580
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 10 am - 9 pm Cost: R 300 Facilities:

Cha Bar, CP
If your idea of heaven is a cafe inside a bookshop, Cha Bar is the place for you. Located inside the Oxford Bookstore, it’s a modern tearoom with a great outside view, red, white and silver interiors, tongue-in-cheek posters and unhurried service. There are dozens of varieties of tea on the menu, many of them served in funky cups and teapots. Try the truck drivers’ Sau Meel Chai, the Ayurvedic tea. If you want a taste of something hatke, the salted tea from Ladakh should do the magic for you. Order a basket of assorted fries or a sandwich to nibble on. The place buzzes with gossip and intellectual debates.
Where: Oxford Bookstore, Statesman House, 148, Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place, Delhi; 23766083
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 10 am - 9.30 pm Cost: Rs 500

Chalchitra
ABollywood-themed diner that features a cool décor and innovative dishes at reasonable prices. A newly opened space, it has an enthusiastic and hospitable staff. You can even enjoy hookahs here. The glossy menu has interesting cartoons to look at, while you decide on what to eat. There are traditional starters and then there is the funky Chilli Idli or their Nazza options (a pizza variant). If you go for their sandwich platter you may just be done for the day. The grilled delicacies are served with many side dishes, filling you up easily. There are also some excellent mocktails and cocktails to choose from. If you are bored of the same old dal makhani and kadhai paneer, give this place a try.
Where: M-38, 1st floor, Greater Kailash II, Delhi; 9999855519/ 9811996893; www.chalchitra.in
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 10 am - 1 am Cost: Rs 1000

Café Turtle
Once upon a time, book reading was serious business, and restaurants, frivolous. But Café Turtle in Khan Market broke the rule. There are books, coffee, and food that goes beyond the standard coffee-shop fare of stale sandwiches and chunky cake slices. Begin with Mushroom Tarts, go on to Quiches and Pastas, and round off the meal with their famous ‘homemade’ cakes.

The place also serves some great shakes and smoothies — we recommend the Jamun Sherbet. The aroma of the freshly baked cakes and and just-brewed coffee, the artistically-done interiors, and the location within a bookshop... all these make Café Turtle a crowd favourite in an area where you are already spoilt for choice.
Where: Shop No. 23, Middle Lane, Khan Market, Delhi; 24655641-43; www.atfullcircle.com
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 9.30 am - 9.30 pm Cost: Rs700

Café $tyle
The dollar baby is quite a brat, and a lovable one, with its new hookah lounge and the fancy bikes parked within. The vintage cars, which once stood outside to lure you, though, have gone missing. The scrumptious food, thankfully, hasn’t. Their soups are superb, and so are the steaks and pastas. The breakfast menu is quite comprehensive, offering Mumbai and Delhi version apart from the regular English or American kinds. The walls have interesting decoratives that are sassy and classic — from Monroe to Presley and Victorian to punk. There are board games, too, so boredom is non-existent. The best part — it stays open even after midnight, a luxury no other stand-alone hangout in Noida offers.
Where: K 1, Dharam Palace, Sector 18, Noida; 0120-4548472
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 9 am - 1.30 am Cost: Rs 1000

The Kitchen
Tucked away in a small corner of Khan Market, The Kitchen serves as a cosy getaway for young couples, groups of friends and
corporate types alike. Eastern spice and soul food marry well at this space-challenged eatery, that holds its own against the burgeoning number of ‘swankaterias’ in the area. Seafood Linguine and Lime-leaf Caesar Salad share space on the menu, and among the fusion dishes, the Penne with Thai Green Curry is a welcome surprise. A modest selection of healthy options and desserts rounds up this intriguing menu. Though it’s tiny and doesn’t serve alcohol, weekends see au courant gourmands make a beeline for the rustic diner, so come early to bag a table.
Where: 75, Middle Lane, Khan Market, New Delhi; 41757960-61
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 11 am - 11 pm Cost: Rs 1000

Urban Café
Trying to pick an eatery to dine at in Khan Market leaves one spoilt for choice. Urban Café scores brownie points with its head-turning décor. A sensory overload, it’s a curious mix of very old and very new in one impressive package. And the menu takes over from the interiors, by offering you multiple choices for every course — the restaurant does profess to be multi-cuisine, but it takes the ‘multi’ part seriously. We recommend the continental cuisine the most, and the Warm Chocolate Pudding in desserts.
Where: 70, 1st and 2nd Floor, Middle Lane, Khan Market, Delhi; 43597127/ 9999918034
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 11 am - 12.30 am Cost: Rs 2000

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Set amidst the hustle and bustle of a mall, this cafe is a popular pit-stop for shoppers. There’s an indoor lounge-style seating as well as an alfresco area. The coffees are delicious — the rich, smooth caramel and cinnamon-flavoured ice blended coffees are the highlights of the menu. Sit comfortably and hold a hot cuppa in your hands as you watch the shoppers discussing their purchases. A great place to people watch or simply to read a book while sipping on your cuppa.
Where: G 42-46, Ground Floor, Select Citywalk Mall, Saket, New Delhi; 40597535
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine Timings: 10 am - 11 pm Cost: Rs 700

Triveni Tea Terrace
As some Delhi food bloggers put it, eating here is
like making a Fabindia statement — it’s desi, and delightfully so. It’s located inside the Triveni Kala Sangam, and so you will find kohl-eyed women talking art over chai and theatre personalities and intellectuals smoking and discussing all things soul and mind. Come here for Paranthas, Rajma Chawal, Sabhudaana Vadas and Shammi Kebabs, Pakodas, and chai. The portions are big, and the prices unbelievably low.
Where: Triveni Kala Sangam, 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, Connaught Place, New Delhi; 9810118115
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 11.30 am - 5 pm Cost: Rs 200

Latitude, Khan Market
Chef Ritu Dalmia of Diva has lent her culinary finesse to this elegant and relatively new Khan Market coffee shop, too. It sits above the swanky Good Earth store, and commands a nice view of the area. Try Chicken Breasts Chestnut, Grilled Fish and Prawn Curry. Of course, there’s also a great selection of pastas and salads. Regulars give a thumbs-up to the desserts section, too, especially the Baked Cheesecake. Come here for a thoroughly enjoyable and leisurely meal.
Where: 3rd Floor, Good Earth store, 9, Khan Market, New Delhi; 24621013
Cuisine: Continental Timings: 11 am - 11 pm Cost: Rs 2000

Costa Coffee, Connaught Place
A warm and cosy ambience, cordial service, quality coffees and some great snacks — those are the highlights of this urbane, trendy chain of cafes. This particular outlet, divided into two levels, is always buzzing with people thanks to its location. Go for an Americano or Ristretto if you prefer the flavour of pure, unadulterated coffee; we also recommend the Iced Caramellato and Latte. As for snacks, the huge muffins and the sinful tavoletta literally take the cake.
Where: L-8, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi; 41500864
Cuisine: Continental Timings: 9 am - 11 pm Cost: Rs 300

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