Indian restaurants are making a mark in the global dining scene, by offering the best of local cuisines, and inter continental food twisted with Indian spices and recipes. With varieties of flavors and evolving culinary culture, there is just no stopping to the Great Indian Dining. In mid of all this, there are restaurants that have been serving great foods since the pre independence era. Walking in such restaurants is like revisiting history. These restaurants are deeply rooted to their specialty, and are sure to make you feel nostalgic about the rich culinary culture of the by gone days.
Ion this blog we have created a list of top restaurants in India that have existed since the pre independence era. You might have heard about their names in the past, but that is not enough. These historical restaurants also deserve a place in your bucket list.
Tunday Kababi, Lucknow
Tunday kababi is the most popular names when it comes to delectable Kebabs. It was established by Haji Murad Ali in 1905. The name Tunday comes from the fact that the founder and chef didn’t have one hand, the left arm, which he had lost during a kite flying accident. There is a history behind the famous kebabs of Tunday. The Nawab of Lucknow owing to his teeth problem held a contest for the softest and juiciest kebabs, rest is history.
Tunday Kababi is known for its world famous Galouti Kebabs. They are so soft that they will melt in your mouth like butter. The preparation of Galouti Kebabs is done with help of various spices that were mastered by women of the family and are still in use. Tunday Kababi has had the privilege of hosting many celebrities and serving them the delicious kebabs.
In Lucknow there are two major locations where you will find the outlet of Tunday Kebab. One is in narrow lanes of Chowk near the Akbari Gate. The second is in Aminabad which was opened by the grandson of Tunday Kababi. Apart from these two prime spots, Tunday Kababi also has a network of other joints across India and Gulf Countries.
Britannia and Co, Mumbai
South Mumbai is not only about colonial buildings and old world charm, but is also home to some of the Parsi Restaurants in Mumbai. Britannia and Co is one of them and the finest to indulge into some Parsi food. It was established by Boman Rashid Kohinoor in year 1923 in the fort area of Mumbai in Ballard Estate. It was established to serve Parsi food to British officers that were deputed in the fort area. Since ages it has the legacy of serving some of the Parsi dishes.
Boman Kohinoor was a Zoroastrian immigrant from Iran. The majority of Parsi’s are Persians that left Iran. They adopted the blend of Persian and Hinduism culture which later gave them the name of Parsi. The dishes on the menu of Britannia and Co are not only Parsi dishes, but Indian dishes and western dishes too. One of the signature dish of this restaurant is Sali Boti, which is a Parsi dish, and is similar to Meat Stew. It is prepared using mutton.
The other most popular dishes of the restaurant are Chicken Berry Pulav, and Mutton Berry Pulav. It is prepared using Basmati rice, with sprinkles of berries, cashews, while in the mid of it you will find, chicken or mutton cooked with varieties of spices. For the desserts, you can try the caramel custard of this restaurant, which is another popular dish.
Indian Coffee House, Kolkata
Indian Coffee House is located in the bustling lane of College Street in Kolkata. For ages it has been a popular hangout of students attending Presidency College, or Calcutta University. The place is popular for a laid back day with cup of coffee and some intellectual things to talk about. This place has been frequented by legends like Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindra Nath Tagore, and Satyajit Ray. Even the popular economist Amartya Sen has been to Indian Coffee House.
The place is so famed that a popular composer from India Manna Dey, has even written a song on this hangout, India Coffee House. Going back to history, it was established by the name of Albert Hall, in 1876, but was converted into Indian Coffee House much later in 1942 by the then Coffee Board. The interiors of the place are still almost the same and will take you back in time.
As the name suggests the place is popular for its coffee, but also serves other dishes such as Chicken Cutlet, Fish Cutlet which are known here by the name of Kabirajis. The place also offers some tasty chicken sandwiches, and egg sandwiches. The best thing about this place is that it has very nominal rate card. Everything you eat and drink here is very affordable.
If you live in Delhi and you haven’t heard or eaten at Karim’s then you do not have any right to call yourself a foodie. This restaurant was established in 1913 near the Jama Masjid of Old Delhi, by Haji Karimuddin, who was a son of one of the cooks of the Mughal Emperors. Since then the restaurant has carved its niche in serving Mughal dishes to its customers. This restaurant is a haven for all non vegetarians. Each dish is prepared with a unique recipe and blend of finest spices.
The restaurant had very humble beginnings, as they only served two dishes, which were Daal, Aalu Ghosht, along with Rumali Roti. Mutton Nihari, and Chicken Jahangiri, of Karim’s is quite popular amongst its patron. The Nihari which is served in Breakfast at Karim’s is cooked the entire night, and will give you flavors never tasted before.
Chicken Barrah, along with Chicken curries, and Mutton curries are also some of the popular here. Vegetarians dob not need to be disappointed because Karim’s also serve some Veg. dishes too that are delectable. Though the restaurant is located near Jama Masjid, but Karim’s also has a network of franchise restaurants that have opened in various parts of the country.
Dorabjee and Sons, Pune
Dorabjee and Sons is the oldest Parsi restaurant in Pune. It was established back in the year of 1878, by Sorabjee Dorabjee during the British rule in India. The restaurant has very humble beginnings, as the founder of the restaurant started the business by selling Bun Maska and Irani Tea. Over the years of acceptance of the patrons the restaurant was established which served full meals. Dorabjee and Sons restaurant is located near the Sarbatwala Chowk in the Camp area of Pune City.
Today the restaurant is being operated by the fourth generation descendent of the family, Darius Marazban Dorabjee. One of the best combination of food and beverage that you can have here is Keema Pav, along with raspberry soda. Raspberry soda is very common amongst Parsi’s and you will find it as a part of all their celebrations.
Some of the other popular dishes of Dorabjee and Sons are Dhansak or Mutton Paya, Dum Biryani, Bheja, and Keema. It is to be noted that earlier back in days, Dorabjee and Sons didn’t even had tables and chairs, while people were supposed to sit on floor and eat. Ion present times restaurant doesn’t has any fancy interior decors, but the restaurant is worth every dime you will spend here.
Vidyarthi Bhavan, Bangalore
This popular eatery joint of Bangalore was established back in 1943 by Venkataramana Ural. It was initially established to serve the younger audience, school and college going students. Times might have changed but their recipes back from time are still young in Vidyarthi Bhavan. The restaurant is so popular that hundreds of people flock here as early as 6 AM in the morning. On weekends, the crowd is so much that you will not even find a space to place your feet.
Vidyarthi Bhavan is popular for its breakfast options that include the popular crispiest Masala Dosa and filter coffee. The restaurant is frequented by many celebrities and well known names. IT has hosted meals for Billionaire Gautam Adani, former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, and the renowned author Ramachandra Guha.
The most popular dish of Vidyarthi Bhavan is Benny Masala Dosa. It is prepared using Ghee, which adds crispness to the dish. Vidyarthi Bhavan is a pure vegetarian restaurant. Once you visit here you will be bound to be mesmerized by the waiters carrying stock on Masala Dosa plates in one hand while they head to tables to serve the customers.
Flurys is located in the Southern avenue of Kolkata. The bakery was established in 1927, by a Swiss couple Joseph and Frieda Flury who built this bakery as a tearoom and confectionary shop. Since then has been serving some of the finest pastries in Kolkata with other savories, like sandwiches, desserts, and other snacks. Back in the time Flurys was a popular hangout point for British families who used to visit the restaurant for breakfasts, especially on Sundays.
Flury’s has attracted many celebrities over the years for a scrumptious meal. Some of regulars here were Dilip Kumar and even Raj Kapoor. The restaurant was also a favorite hangout spot of Satyajit Ray. Chicken puff patties and even handmade chocolates are some of the popular dishes of the place. IF you are in Kolkata then you should visit this restaurant.
Apart from the main restaurant which is located in Southern Avenue of Kolkata, there are more than 25 outlets of the restaurant. The design aesthetics of the restaurant are also going to attract you and will suit well on your Instagram feed. The pink door of the restaurant can catch an eye of almost every passerby. Inside the restaurant there are beautiful graffiti that adorn the place.
United Coffee House, Delhi
United Coffee House is located in the Connaught Place of New Delhi. It was established back in 1942 by Lala Hans Raj Kalra and supposed to be India’s first Western style café. The place is in the heart of the city and has been a popular hangout point for long gossips over a cup of Kona Coffee. The restaurant has emerged from the image of being a café serving coffee to a place that now boasts of a menu including, Mughal dishes, European dishes, and western dishes.
It is believed that this place has visitors including the British officials and even the freedom fighters. The interiors of the restaurant today are very lavish and British themed, with royal chandeliers. One of the most popular dish served here or say the most popular snack served here is Samosa. The restaurant is also known for its Murgh Makhani, and Tikkas.
The signature dish of this restaurant is the popular Tomato Fish whose recipe dates back to 18th Century from Bengal. Another signature dish of the restaurant is Baked Alaska, which is a fruity cake covered with cream which has been baked. The flavors of this dish is going to stay for long and you are going to keep coming back to taste the dish.
Leopold Cafe, Mumbai
The café is located in the Colaba Causeway which is popular place for its old buildings and is lined with cafes and eateries. Leopold Café is an Iranian café which was established back in 1871 by Sherezad Dastur. The name of the café was inspired by the King Leopold of Belgium. In its initial days the café was, just a general store which reformed to being a café much later. The initial name of the restaurant was Leopold Café and stores.
The café is so popular that it got mention in the famous novels The Shantaram, and The Mountain Shadow which were written by Gregory David Roberts. The café was also targeted in the 2008 deadly terror attacks on Mumbai. In present times there are bullet holes that people come to see. IT might have been brought down once, but the spirit of the café remains undeterred.
Café Leopold primarily serves Indian and European dishes. It serves pastas, sandwiches, risottos, and even Mughal dishes. In beverages it serves cold coffees and milk shakes. The Leopold Café is also popular for its beer towers that are served here. The restaurant has been frequented by many celebrities in the past and continues to be one of the most popular restaurants in Mumbai.
The Glenary’s is located on the Nehru Road in Darjeeling which is in close proximity to the Mall Road. It has a legacy of more than 100 years. Initially this restaurant was opened by the name of Vado by an Italian who had the same name. Since then it has changed hands of many owners before finally landing up to AT Edwards, who was a local working in the restaurant. The place is a popular hangout point in Darjeeling preferred by both the locals and the tourists.
The restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Mountain Kanchenjunga. The place is popular for its chocolates and baked items. Some of the most popular food items served here are Cinnamon buns, Apple Pie, and the Darjeeling Tea. In total the Glenary’s is a two storey building which has full service restaurant on top, café and bakery in ground floor, while a modern bar and pub in basement.
The interiors of the Glenary’s are finely detailed. Back in the time, Glenary’s was popular for its breakfast options that today include pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and more snacks. Then baked items of Glenary’s are so popular that many top hotels of Darjeeling get their supplies from here.
What could be better than a combination of History, Travel and Food!