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Best restaurants: Crystal awards

india Updated: Sep 11, 2010 13:22 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Here're the best restaurants in Delhi...

Best North Indian
Moti Mahal, Daryaganj
This gastronomic institution - known as the ‘inventor’ of the Butter Chicken and Tandoori Chicken - is as old as free India, but it seems to be showing no signs of greying. The service is quick and the food as delicious as ever. It’s no wonder that the place, once patronised by the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, continues to feature on the itineraries of visiting dignitaries.

Where: 3704, Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryaganj, Delhi; 23273661; www.motimahal1947.com
Cuisine: Mughlai/North Indian Timings: 12 pm - 12.30 am Cost: R 800

Moti Mahal Delux, South Extension
This Moti Mahal is one of a chain of restaurants and an off-shoot of the ‘original’ in Daryaganj. Their Butter Chicken is definitely a must-try on the menu. The paneer dishes are also worth a shot. Also recommended are the Pindi Chana Masala, melt-in-the-mouth Murg Malai Kebab and Kalmi Kebab. Try the Moong Dal Halwa or the Gulab Jamun and you would be asking for more.

Where: E-31-32, South Extension-II, New Delhi; 9311010879; www.motimahaldeluxe.com
Cuisine: Mughlai/North Indian Timings: 12 pm - 12 am Cost: R 800

Bukhara
Bukhara needs no introduction. The restaurant, declared as one of the best in the world by The Restaurant Magazine, has gained an almost legendary status for its Indian cuisine, focusing on the Northwest Frontier Province region. Try the kebabs and the roast lamb and the Dal Bukhara. It is cooked over slow coal fires for eighteen hours, and leaves an everlasting taste.

Where: ITC Maurya, SP Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi; 26112233; www.itcwelcomgroup.in Cuisine: North-west Frontier Timings: 12.30 pm - 2.45 pm & 7 pm - 11.45 pm Cost: R 4500

Punjabi by Nature, Vasant Vihar
Punjabi By Nature became popular as it was the first place to invent Vodka Golgappas. The restaurant has also introduced new items such as Tandoori Quail, Drunken Prawns and Sharabi Naan. The portions are huge, so it is a good idea to consult the ever-helpful wait staff before you order. Round off a meal with flambéed Gulab Jamun.

Where: 11, Basant Lok Complex, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi; 41516666-68; www.punjabibynature.in
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12:30 pm - 11 pm Cost: R 1500

Baluchi
This popular restaurant has re-invented itself recently. The USP is the handpicked wine-list to ensure the best pairings with Indian cuisine. The place also boasts an Indian Bread Bar Counter. Must-trys include Tandoori Pomfret and Spicy Gatta Curry. The Paan Kulfi provides a fitting end to a satisfying meal, and the Banta bottles a quirky but satisfying accompaniment.

Where: The Lalit, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place, New Delhi; 44447777; www.thelalit.com
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12.30 pm - 12 am Cost: R 2000

Dum Pukht
E ver wondered what the Nawabs of Awadh had for dinner? At Dum Pukht, you are transported to that royal world and its distinct culinary traditions. The result is delicately spiced fare packed with flavour. The favourites here are the Kakori Kebab, Dum Ki Khumb, Baingan Mirch Ka Salan, and the exquisite Raan-e-Dum Pukht. The restaurant is currently renovation

Where: ITC Maurya, SP Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi; 2611 2233; www.itcwelcomgroup.in Cuisine: Awadhi Timings: 7:30pm to 12.45am Cost: R 3500

Masala Art
T his is exactly where spice meets real life and sends you to a different universe of seasonings, flavours and aromas. The emphasis is on light, healthy and traditional food, served amidst an elegant setup. Lending extra spice to the culinary experience here is the breads trolley that makes the round of the restaurant, making rotis in front of you. The Bailey’s Coffee Kulfi makes for a delicious dessert.

Where: Taj Palace Hotel, 2, SP Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi; 26110202; www.tajhotels.com Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12.30 pm - 11.45 pm Cost: R 3500

Pindi
It’s unpretentious, with a modest decor and as Punjabi as the name suggests. Apart from the ubiquitous Butter Chicken and the array of kebabs, a must-try from the menu is the rich Mutton Korma with rumali roti or butter naan. For vegetarians, the Pindi Chana, Tawa Kebab and Paneer Peshawri are must-trys. The place is bustling at nights. A meal for two is reasonable, portions are generous and service quick.

Where: 16, Pandara Road Market, Pandara Road, New Delhi; 23387932
Cuisine: North Indian, Chinese Timings: 12 pm - 12 am Cost: R 1000 Facilities:

Gulati restaurant
With more than half a century under its belt, this place continues to be popular among Delhiites looking for some asli Punjab da khaana. Enjoy your mocktail or lassi while you ponder over what to order. Highly recommended is the chef’s special Murgh Gulati Bemisaal. The prices are easy on your pocket and you wouldn’t mind stepping into this eatery very often.

Where: 6, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi; 23782949; www.gulatirestaurant.in
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12 pm - 12 am Cost: R 800 Facilities:

Punjab Grill, Saket
Jiggs Kalra has scored a huge hit with Punjab Grill that brings the flavours of undivided Punjab - Lahore, Rawalpindi, Amritsar, Multan and Patiala - under one roof. For starters, the Champ Taajdaar is a must try. Special attention is paid to the cuts of the meat, so you can expect your dum-cooked biryani to have just the lamb’s shoulders.

Where: 2nd floor, Select Citywalk mall, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi; 41572977
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12 pm - 11.30 pm Cost: R 1800 Facilities:

Pirates of Grill
The first thing you wonder as you enter Pirates of Grill is why everyone is wearing strange red bandanas, and then you get it - it’s the ‘pirates’ thing, of course. The USP of this new all-day dining restaurant in Rajouri Garden is the barbeque, and each tabletop comes with its own grill. There’s valet service to make matters easy on arrival and the ambience inside is pleasant. The restaurant serves fixed-charges buffet, with the menu changing almost every day. From the starters, non vegetarians can try the superb Kali Mirch Chicken. For vegetarians, the Tandoori Mushroom is the one to go for. For the main course, the Biryani and Rogan Josh are not be missed. The dessert spread is another highlight of the restaurant, with cheesecake and chocolate mousse vying for the top spot and the Moong Dal halwa giving them strong competition, though. With Pirates of Grill, West Delhi has a promising North Indian restaurant to boast about.

Where: C-12, Vishal Enclave, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi; 45034444 Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12.30 pm - 3 pm & 7.30 pm - 11 pm Cost: R 1200 Facilities:

The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson Delhi
The Great Kabab Factory, or TGKF as this chain of outlets is more popularly known, is a veritable haven for kebab lovers. Every day, the kitchen prepares six different kinds of kebabs apart from curries, breads, and a biryani. This is one place where vegetarian dishes also win hands down. Try their Dal Kebabs, Potato Kebabs and Paneer Tikkas. The best part is that one can order unlimited helpings of everything.

Where: Hotel Radisson, National Highway 8, Mahipalpur; 26779191; www.radisson.com
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12.30 pm - 3 pm & 7.30 pm - 11 pm Cost: R 2000 Facilities:

Dhaba, the Claridges Delhi
Every effort has been made to recreate a roadside dhaba tucked along the national highways. The trademark truck, kitschy décor, and an ambience full of colour and hullabaloo go perfectly with the food. The highlights of the menu are Masala Prawns, Tandoori Pineapple ki Chaat and Balti Meat. If you yearn for Yellow Dal and Rice, Dhaba is one of the few places that does it right. The service is efficient and comes with a smile.

Where: The Claridges, 12 Aurangzeb Road, New Delhi; 41335082; www.claridges.com
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12 pm - 2.30 pm & 7.30 pm - 11.30 pm Cost: R 3000 Facilities:

Karim's hotel, Jama Masjid
This renowned institution has been in business since 1913. While the restaurant has several outlets now, the original one in Jama Masjid holds a charm of its own. The Burrah Kebabs are undoubtedly the stars of the show. The Ishtoo, Paaya, Kormas, Shammi Kebabs, and Brain Curry are also heavenly. Finish off your meal with a creamy Firni, and you will probably be stuffed for a week.

Where: 16, Gali Kebabian, Jama Masjid, Delhi; 23264981; www.karims.com
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 7am - 3.30 pm & 6 pm - 11 pm Cost: R 600 Facilities:

Park Balluchi, Hauz Khas Village
Situated inside Deer Park, next to the historic Hauz Khas Village, it’s Park Balluchi’s mesmerising setting that captivates the heart. But that’s not the only draw, the extensive menu also beckons you. Try the Murg Potli before moving on to Samundri Sher. There’s a decent selection of alcohol to wash down all the food. With efficient service, hearty fare and a dramatic setting, it is no wonder that Delhiites flock to this place.

Where: B 1, Deer Park, Aurobindo Place Market, Hauz Khas, New Delhi; www.parkballuchi.com
Cuisine: North-west Frontier Timings: 12pm-12am Cost: R 1500 Facilities:

Pind Balluchi, South Extension
If Punjabi and North Indian food is your idea of a great gastronomic adventure, Pind Balluchi might just hit the bull’s eye for you. This place is packed even a little ahead of the lunch hour on a weekday. The staff is prompt and helpful the décor interesting with a queer blend of quintessential Punjabi food with a Rajasthani setting. Try the Dahi De Kebab for starters. For the main course, opt for Fish Curry and Mutton Biryani. For dessert try their special Gajar Ka Halwa.

Where: N 9, Main Market, South Extension, New Delhi; 41408141; www.pindballuchi.com
Cuisine: North Indian/Punjabi Timings: 11.30 am - 11.30 pm Cost: R 1200 Facilities:

Orange Hara, Rajouri Garden
T he concept is traditional Indian food served in a modern, mall-friendly, young-at-heart settings. The service is informed and articulate. Start off with their excellent Papri Chaat, that can be the envy of a Chandni Chowk chaat-wallah. The magic continues with the Matarwali Tikkis and Tandoori Prawns. The intensely spicy Mirchi ka Salan is one of Orange Hara’s best offerings. A meal at this restaurant is certainly great value for money.

Where: T.D.I. Paragon Mall, Ground Floor, Rajouri Garden, Delhi; www.orangehara.com
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12 pm - 12 am Cost: R 1000 Facilities:

Best Vegetarian

Sattvik
Perhaps the best thing to have happened for pure vegetarians in the city, Sattvik combines warm and happy interiors with delicious vegetarian fare. The restaurant has notched up quite a fan following, with Dal Sattvik and Paneer Moksha among the more popular dishes. The cauliflower preparations are also quite good and the avacado chaat makes you yearn for more. Most people appreciate this place as they keep the dishes lightly flavoured and are low on oil. We recommend the Pan Pasand mocktail and the rose petal Kulfi. Those who get tired of vegetarian can dine on the terrace café, which serves oriental fare. A place for the family to enjoy an evening of fun and great food.

Where: 2nd Floor Select City Walk, Saket, New Delhi; 40599911; www.sattvik.com
Cuisine: North Indian Timings: 12pm-12am
Cost: R 1200 Facilities:

Dwarka
This restaurant is one of those rare places in the area where you can go to enjoy the best of South and North Indian food. Their sambar and chutneys are a delight as they are not too tangy or hot. In the North Indian variety try the Tandoori Aloo and the Tadka Dal with soft, melt-in-the-mouth Butter Naan. The special thalis are incredibly reasonable, allowing you to have the best of the menu in one sitting. The authentic flavours, variety of choice and value for money servings make it a must-visit destination for foodies.

Where: 3F, Kamla Nagar, Delhi; 23840078
Cuisine: Multi cuisine Timings: 8am-11pm Cost: R 400 Facilities:

Veg Gulati
The food here is delectable and the service good. The ambience is traditional and the place is decorated with intricate carvings, wooden paneling and huge mirrors. Bollywood music plays out while you munch on the delectable food. A must-try is the Paneer Tikka Kesari. People rate Vadi Aloo, Kadai Paneer and Yellow Dal as top sellers too. There are a selected dishes which don’t have onions or garlic. The restaurant is open till late in the night and one can find a bite to eat even after midnight.

Where: 8, Pandara Road, Market, Shri Bandra Ukil Marg, New Delhi; 23388830; www.veggulati.com Cuisine: Multi cuisine Timings: 12pm-12:45am Cost: R 700 Facilities:

Shudh restaurant, Karol Bagh
A popular restaurant that side of town, Shudh stands out among several other pure vegetarian diners by offering dishes from a variety of cuisines — North Indian, South Indian and Chinese, apart from mocktails, fresh juices, snacks and soups. The highlights of the extensive menu are Paneer Rubiyani, Dahi Kebab and Tandoori Pineapple in the North Indian section and Coconut Rawa dosa and Paper dosa in the South Indian. You can be assured of a value for money meal here. Service is efficient and the ambience warm.

Where: Hotel Swati Deluxe Building, 17A/32, W.E.A Karol Bagh, New Delhi; 45000300
Cuisine: Multi cuisine Timings: 11am-11pm Cost: R 300 Facilities:

Tatva
This high end fine-dining Indian restaurant holds the distinction of being part of the city’s only hotel that serves purely vegetarian food. At Tatva, the concept is expressed in gourmet fare that is served in slick, relaxed, all-red interiors. We recommend you try the rich Dal Makhni and Nazakhat Ke Kofte — they won’t leave you disappointed. But it is the flavourful Handi Biryani combo that is the star of the menu. Tatva might be located a little out of the way for most Delhiites, but a meal here will be certainly worth the journey.

Where: Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, 64/6 Site-IV, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad; 4180000; www.countryinns.com Cuisine: Indian Timings: 12pm-12am Cost: R 2000 Facilities:

Best South Indian
Sagar Ratna, Defence Colony
Sagar Ratna at Defence Colony continues to have a special charm of its own, years after it started. Neither the food nor the super-efficient and friendly service seems to be showing signs of decline. The Dahi Vada, Rasam, Idli, Onion Rava Masala Dosa and Mysore Masala Dosa remain as lip smacking as ever. If you are with your family then order a Paper Masala Dosa and enjoy. The ambience is simple and pleasant. The place is always filled by the cheery chatter of families who come for an economical but satiating vegetarian meal.

Where: 18 Defence Colony, New Delhi; 24333688; www.sagarratna.in
Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 8am-11pm Cost: R 300 Facilities:

Saravana Bhavan, Connaught Place
Astrictly vegetarian place, they not only serve breakfast, lunch and dinner but also sell a variety of delectable South Indian sweets and namkeens. The food is delicious, menu extensive and service is very efficient. You have the option of tasting several dishes at one go if you opt for the the tiffin platter. The mini idlis that come with a dash of desi ghee make for a filling breakfast. Try the refreshing pomegranate juice or fresh sweet lime juice. Finish off your meal of a thali with a cup of strong and sweet filter coffee.

Where: 46, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi; 2331 7755; www.saravanabhavan.com
Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 8am-11pm Cost: R 300 Facilities:

Dakshin
The aesthetically-done interiors impress you the moment you enter. Among the first places in the city to popularise non-vegetarian South Indian cuisine, this five-star restaurant is still the ultimate destination for those seeking dishes such as Kozhi Melagu (Chicken Chettinad) and Mamsum Kajepu. Dakshin offers specialty dishes from most states south of the Vindhyas, stuff that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the city. Start with some hot Rasam and then treat yourself to dishes such as Vazhaipoo Vadai (banana flower and lentil fritters), Dakshin Yera and Appam. The service is warm and unobtrusive.

Where: Sheraton Hotel, District Centre, M Block, Saket, New Delhi; 42661122; www.itcwelcomegroup.in Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 12.30pm-2.45pm & 7.30 pm-11.45 pm
Cost: R 2500 Facilities:

Gunpowder - the peninsular kitchen
The Capital’s newest love interest is the brainchild of ex-journalist Satish Warier and academic Kiran Bhushi. Gunpowder offers authentic peninsular cuisine amidst simple but comfortable interiors. The view of the surrounding greens and lake is breathtaking. The unique thing about the menu is that it’s handwritten and changes daily. The dishes span a large part of peninsular India. Toddy Shop Fish Curry, Andhra Mutton Curry, and Pandi Curry not only have interesting names but also taste good. It’s wise to reserve a table in advance.

Where: 3rd Floor, 22, Hauz Khas Village, Hauz Khas, Delhi; 26535700
Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 12:30pm-3pm & 7:30pm- 11:30pm Cost: R 800 Facilities:

Andhra Pradesh Bhavan Canteen
The big draw here is the food – an unlimited vegetarian thali at rock bottom prices (the limited non-vegetarian dishes need to be ordered separately). Piping hot sambhar, rasam, rice, poori and vegetables just keep on coming. The place also serves authentic Hyderabadi Biryani on Sundays, attracting huge numbers of people. The place is also unique for the way it serves food - even before you sit down, there are plates with starters already on the table. The super busy wait staff takes time out to tell you how to sample a particular dish.

Where: 1, Ashoka Road, Connaught Place, Delhi; 23387499
Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 12pm- 3pm Cost: R 200 Facilities:

Naivedyam- Hauz Khas Village
A beautiful nadi, lamp and Tanjore paintings greet you as you enter Naivedyam. The moment you are comfortably seated, the staff serves you rasam and papads to clear your palate. Served on a banana leaf, their Maharaja Sajjige Masala Dosa is a must-have. The sambhar and chutni served adds a distinctive flavour to the whole meal. The pure vegetarian thali is also a great option. You can also try the fresh lime juice which is very refreshing. Finish your meal with Pineapple Kesar Bhath.
Where: 1, Hauz Khas Village, Hauz Khas, New Delhi; 26960426, 26536045
Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 11am-11pm Cost: R 600 Facilities:

Kaustubh
This pure vegetarian restaurant prides itself on its dosa selection - there are thirty kinds on offer, of which Andhra Pesarathu and Nei Roast Dosa are especially worth a mention. The main course menu is divided according to states - Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. You can also go for the unlimited thali. The desserts section has three kinds of payasams, and the Chakkarai Pongal makes for a wonderful end to a satisfying meal.

Where: D-2, Shop No 5 & 6, Southend Bldg, Behind Select City Mall, Saket, Delhi; 44625611
Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 9am-11pm Cost: R 300 Facilities:

Zambar
There is no mid-way about south Indian food — either you like it or don’t. While Zambar – a promising new restaurant with master chef Bakshish Dean at the helm - is a haven for the former lot, its biggest strength is being able to pull in the latter ones, too. Embark on a culinary delightful journey and sample their non-vegetarian platter. Irrespective of whether you are a vegetarian or not, the Brinjal Gingili is a must-try. The Travancore Crab Scramble with Malabar Parotta is soul-lifting. Though the dessert section has limited options, the Coconut and Jaggery pudding is great option. The smiling staff is at hand in case you need any explanation about a dish. Some nice Carnatic ‘modern’ music accompanies you as you dig in.

Where: Third floor, Ambience Mall, NH 8, Gurgaon; 4665639 Cuisine: South Indian Timings: 12 pm-11:30pm
Cost: R 600 Facilities:

Crystal studded affair

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