If you’re looking to catch some great grub while out on your many road escapades off the city, the truck stops here. Travelling on a highway is dotted with memories, and for most travellers these are related to stopping at a local dhaba (roadside eatery) and trying out that fantastic local dish. While earlier, these places were just a staple for truck drivers, they are now popular with those who want a tummyful of unpretentious charm. And, with Imtiaz Ali’s Alia Bhatt-Randeep Hooda starrer Highway bringing back the buzz about the big roads, we thought we’d turn the spotlight on some of the best dhabas on the national highways linking Delhi to various states and cities.
Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda in a still from Imtiaz Ali's Highway.
“Some of the best dhabas are on the highway to Punjab. We start our breakfast at Gulshan Dhaba in Murthal where we eat aaloo parantha with fresh homemade dahi and white butter. We stop for lunch at Puran Singh in Ambala for mutton curry and roti with farm fresh salad. A floating restaurant on the canal in a place called Sirhind when you go towards Amritsar serves lovely tea,” say Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma, anchors of the TV show, Highway On My Plate, and authors of the book by the same name. “If you’re headed to Shimla, stop at Shaan-e-Himachal in Dharampur for tikkas and chutney,” they add.
While most of the famous dhabas are on Delhi–Punjab Highway, there are some worth a try on others, too. “On NH8 after Manesar, there is Old Rao Dhaba; their kulfi faluda and naans are good. On NH2, near Palwal, there’s Pahlwan Dhaba. Dal tadka loaded with desi ghee is hot here,” says Piyush Acharya, organiser, Highway Dhaba walks.
Famous for dhabas on highway
Every foodie in the city has visited or heard about dhabas in Murthal on the highway linking Delhi and Punjab. Some of the popular dhabas are Ahuja no.1, Sukhdev, Gulshan and Vaishno Dhaba. Stuffed paranthas, especially aloo-pyaaz ones served with white butter, are a big hit.
Nobody can miss the hoardings of Jain Shikanji the moment one starts on the highway to Dehradun. The place serves 10 to 12 kinds of shikanji and has patrons that include Bollywood stars.
Apart from the RTDC midway, there’s more Bajwa Ka Dhaba, famous with truck drivers, serves robust dhaba food. Another popular dhaba is the Old Rao Dhaba known for their kulfi faluda and giant-sized naans.
Pahlwan Ka Dhaba near Palwal is one of the most popular dhabas of the area. Dals and tandoori rotis served with a liberal dose of desi ghee are their speciality.
Gajraula is one of the few places on this route that boasts of popular dhabas. Some of the popular ones are Deepak Vaishno Dhaba and Bhajan Dhaba.