Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Dining
Home Up Dining Cinema Music Sports Dance Theater Art Clubs

 

Bengal, of which Calcutta is the undisputed political and socio-cultural capital, is one of the most fertile lands in the world. The soil of the estuarine delta of the Ganges is ideal for the cultivation of rice and a vast variety of vegetables (some of which make their way to grocery stores in Europe and Japan these days). The myriad distributaries of the Ganges is home to perhaps an equal number of species of fish and shellfish, including the famous hilsa (a close cousin of the European herring or the American shad) and the bhetki ("beckti" to the India-returned English). The district of Maldah, about 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of Calcutta, is famous for its mangoes (far overshadowing the other tropical fruits that grow abundantly in the rest of Bengal, for example, lychees, jackfruit and coconuts), while the foothills of the Himalayas, besides yielding oranges, cardamom, cinnamon and other spices, is famous for its tea. After all, Darjeeling, which is synonymous with the finest tea in the world, is the most popular hill resort for Calcuttans and the northernmost district of Bengal.

The abundance and variety of fresh ingredients at Calcutta's markets, together with the historical ease with which exotic food products (foie gras and beluga caviar both were well-known at the tables of Calcutta) have shown up at the dockyards of Calcutta, have made the Bengali cuisine arguably the most sophisticated in the world (the only ones which rival are the French or Chinese, per the late French president, Francois Mitterand himself). The immigrants to Calcutta have also brought their native cuisines that have further thrived on all that was available here, to levels sometimes unknown in their native lands. Thus, one of the most ubiquitous item at Chinese restaurants around the world, Hot and Sour Soup, emerged neither from the imperial kitchens of the forbidden city, nor from the pleasure houses of Shanghai, but from a Chinese restaurant on Park Street, Calcutta.

Calcutta has traditionally been regarded as the cradle of fine dining "East of the Suez" and although many of the restaurants that were responsible for this reputation, like Peleti's, Firpo's Louis XIV and Maxim's (of Paris fame) have disappeared, others have taken their place so that the legend lives on. The best classic restaurants are still to be found on Park Street and its offshoots, serving everything from American, European, Middle Eastern, Latino, East Asian, and Northern Indian with a distinctly Calcutta flavor and Continental flourish, although the newer ones are appearing in the south and in the shopping malls all over. This is not to say that Calcutta has haute cuisine only. Calcutta's dining scene has everything from palaces to pavements. Someone started selling food on the go (and still does), in the form of kathi kebabs (a lesser known but arguably tastier cousin of the Greek gyro), a couple of decades before the first MacDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken. It used to be until recently that a Bengali meal, the king of cuisines, could only be had at a Bengali home, but that has changed now so that upscale Bengali restaurants now serve elaborate meals in an atmosphere that exudes traditional hospitality. Of the expatriate cuisines in Calcutta, the most obvious is Chinese, found in the Chinatown area as well in most neighborhoods around the city. And by the way, if there are people who would judge a city's culinary worth by the presence of international fast food chains, Calcutta has the largest Pizza Hut outlet in Asia and Dominos Pizza is available in most places.

The following is a list of restaurants categorized by cuisine, price and location.

Restaurant Cuisine Price Address Description
Aaheli Bengali 150-350
12 Chowringhee Road
Phone: +91-33-2228 0301
Nearest Metro: Esplanade
This was Calcutta's first upscale Bengali restaurant, and it still draws a crowd. Traditional Bengali delicacies such as macher sorse paturi (fish cooked with mustard paste) and chingri malai curry are served in an intimate terra-cotta dining room. AE, DC, MC, V.
Aangan Indian
Swabhumi
89C Maulana Azad Sarani
Phone: +91-33-2235 9236
jiggis@hotmail.com
Popular new restaurant that specializes in the cuisine of the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Amber Eclectic
11 Waterloo Street
Phone: +91-33-2248 3018
amberskk@vsnl.net
Nearest Metro: Chandni Chowk
Tandoori
Aminia Moghlai
6A SN Banerjee Road
Phone: +91-33-2244 1318
Nearest Metro: Esplanade
Biryani
Aqua Java Cafe/ Multi-cuisine 79 Shambhu Nath Pandit Street

Phone: +91-33-2455 8501

Cafe
Bar-B-Q Chinese 150-350
43 Park Street
Phone: +91-33-2249 9916
Nearest Metro: Park Street
This local favorite serves Cantonese and Szechwan dishes in a setting that innovatively mixes Chinese and German-chalet decor under a name that, of course, conjures neither of the two. Try the crisp fried chicken served with a mild "surprise" sauce or the boneless chili chicken. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V.
Blue Fox Eclectic
55 Park Street
Phone: +91-33-2249 7948
Nearest Metro: Park Street
Right in the thick of things and popular with a young, hip contingent, the large and spacious Blue Fox has high ceilings, an overhead loft with additional tables, and quiet modern-Indian decor. Among the various Indian and Continental dishes, the sizzlers and crab or lobster thermidor are good bets. DC.
Charnock City Multi-cuisine
KB-26 Salt Lake City
Phone: +91-33-2335 1349
charnockcity@yahoo.com
China Valley Chinese
11/1 Lansdowne Road
Phone: +91-33-2247 0294
Nearest Metro: Rabindra Sadan
Enormous statues of male and female Chinese figures dominate the decor, surrounded by a stunning array of vases and urns, and large aquariums filled with iridescent tropical fish spur the imagination. China Valley's food is top-grade; a popular dish is the hot, spicy prawn Shanghai with rice. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC.
Chinese Pavilion Chinese
P21 Old Ballygunge Road
Phone: +91-33-2280 6107
Trams:
Chinoiserie Chinese
Taj Bengal
34B Belvedere Road
Phone: +91-33-2223 3939
Trams: ??????
Consistently rated one of the best Chinese restaurants in India (no mean honor these days), this specialty restaurant boasts pricey delicacies such as Peking duck and a highly unusual selection of corn dishes. One crunchy appetizer consists of deep-fried kernels of American corn; another dish features corn delicately flavored with garlic. Unsurpassed food, a calm green-and-beige color scheme accented by old-world mirrors and paintings, and excellent Taj service make dining here an experience. Reservations are advised on weekdays and essential on weekends. AE, DC, MC, V.
Chung Wah Chinese
13A&B Chittaranjan Avenue
Phone: +91-33-2237 7003
Nearest Metro: Chandni Chowk
Escoffier Patisserie
2/6 Lansdowne Road
Phone: +91-33-2475 4080
gfpl@vsnl.com
Nearest Metro: Rabindra Sadan
Floriana Eclectic
13D Russell Street
Phone: +91-33-2226 0475
Nearest Metro: Park Street
Piano Music Bar, Take way Service, Home Delivery.
Flury's Patisserie
18 Park Street
Phone: +91-33-2229 7664
Nearest Metro: Park Street
Reputed Swiss confectionary and tea room. Famous for pastries, puffs and Viennese coffee.
The Hub Eclectic
Taj Bengal
34B Belvedere Road
Phone: +91-33-2223 3939
Trams: ??????

 

This recently opened restaurant in the Taj Bengal hotel has been dubbed Calcutta's "international food theater." The grand, spacious interior, with marble floors and a glass spiral staircase, matches that of the hotel lobby. You can see the chefs at work in the kitchen, and they prepare dishes to your taste, making a meal here somewhat interactive. Though the emphasis is on Italian food, you get a wide choice of cuisines. Try the homemade pasta or the rack of lamb in brown sauce. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V.
Kewpies Bengali
2 Elgin Lane
Phone: +91-33-2475 9880
Trams: ????
Quaint and exclusive, this restaurant is in high demand at the moment. The delicious thalis (combination platters) are available both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, the latter with assorted meats or fish only, are served in a typically Bengali style: on cut banana leaves. You can also order the thali's vegetable or meat portions la carte. Reservations essential. No credit cards.
Mainland China Chinese
3A Gurusaday Road
Phone: +91-33-2287 2006
Nearest Metro:
Trams:
This restaurant is popular with Calcutta's chic set. Though the dining room is large, grand mirrors give the illusion of even more space, and the furniture is minimalist though comfortable. The Szechuan menu is extensive. Opt for the seafood platter or the chicken in a hot garlic sauce. Attentive service and valet parking make for a posh evening. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V.
Porto Rio Eclectic
28 Circus Avenue
Phone: +91-33-2281 3921
Trams:
Inside a white bungalow, helpful wait staffers dart past whitewashed walls hung with elegant paintings and take orders from guests who are seated at tables adorned with red-check cloths. Although the menu has Continental items, it's the many dishes typical of India's eastern and western coasts that are the draw. The Goan fish curry and the roast crab are both excellent choices. No credit cards.
Peter Cat Eclectic
18 Park Street
Phone: +91-33-2229 8841
Nearest Metro: Park Street
Peter Cat's so-called cello kebab -- pilaf-style rice with egg, butter, two mutton kebabs, and one chicken kebab -- is one of the most popular dishes in Calcutta. The dining room is intimate, with white stucco walls, Tiffany-style lamps, and soft lighting, and the menu is a mixture of good Continental and Indian dishes, especially tandoori fare. DC, V.
The Sheriff Tex-Mex
Lansdowne Road & Elgin Road
Phone: +91-33-2280 6444
Nearest Metro: Netaji Bhawan
Wild West joint,  very popular with the "smart crowd". The walls of this small space are bedecked with Stetsons, Colt revolvers, and lassos, and the waiters are dressed as cowboys. The Mexican food is fair enough if you need a little variety. Reservations essential. AE.
Sonargaon Indian
Taj Bengal
34B Belvedere Road
Phone: +91-33-2223 3939
Trams: ??????

 

The name means "golden village," and this North Indian restaurant is a tasteful replica of a rural home, complete with a courtyard, a well, dark wood on taupe stone, copper curios, and metal light fixtures. Popular dishes include kakori kebab (minced lamb kebab), murg Wajid Ali (stuffed, pounded chicken breast marinated in saffron and cooked in a mildly spicy sauce), and chingri malai. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V.
Taaja Eclectic
29/1A Ballygunge Circular Road
Phone: +91-33-2476 7334
Trams:
Taaja ("Fresh") is one of the best Continental restaurants in Calcutta, serving Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, and Hungarian food, but it goes beyond this classification to offer dishes from the Caribbean and Far East as well. The menu gives new meaning to the word "eclectic." Paella, Cajun crab cakes, moussaka, and cannelloni are all memorable choices. Reservations essential. MC, V.
Thai Tonight Thai
29/1A Ballygunge Circular Road
Phone: +91-33-2454 2036
Trams:

 

An alternative to the pricey, though more authentic, Thai food in luxury hotels' restaurants, this place offers a friendly ambience, great service, and even better prices. Try the standard chicken green curry or the bargain-priced glass noodles. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V.
Zaranj Indian
26 Chowringhee Road
Phone: +91-33-2249 5572
Nearest Metro: Park Street
Plush and well-decorated with a fountain and ornate furniture, this is a relaxing place for dinner: the staff doesn't rush you. Choose from a large la carte menu with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The tasty murgh nawabi is a boneless chicken with yogurt and nuts roasted over a charcoal grill. Reservations essential. AE, DC, V.

 

< Rupees 550
Rupees 551 - 1200
  Rupees 1201 - 3000
Rupees 3001 - 6000
> Rupees 6000

Bengali Cuisine

Moghlai Cuisine

European Immigrant Cuisine

Anglo-Indian Cuisine

Hakka Chinese Cuisine

Indian Immigrant Cuisine

Global Village Cuisine

 

Focus Calcutta Initiative, Inc. Contents may be used for non-commercial purposes without malicious intent. Last modified December 10, 2003