FOR FOOD LOVERS, A TRIP TO INDIA IS THE STUFF OF BUCKET LIST FANTASY. THE SUBCONTINENT IS NOTHING SHORT OF CULINARY HEAVEN—AND IS HOME TO A NUMBER OF GLITTERING, WORLD-CLASS RESTAURANTS THAT TEMPT DINERS FROM FAR AND WIDE. BUT THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN INDIA AREN’T JUST THE MOST FORMAL OR HIGH-END. FROM CASUAL STREET FOOD SLINGERS AND ROADSIDE DHABAS TO TRENDY CAFES AND FAMILY-RUN EATERIES, INDIA’S MOST ENTICING KITCHENS CAN BE FOUND ALL OVER THE MAP. EMBARK ON A FOOD LOVER’S ADVENTURE ACROSS INDIA, AND GET READY TO DISCOVER A WHOLE KALEIDOSCOPE OF FLAVOURS.
1. 1135 AD, JAIPUR
Named for the year that the ruling Rajput dynasty came to local prominence, 1135 AD offers an opulent introduction to the cuisine of Rajasthan, as well as splendid surroundings (located as it is within the Amber Fort). You can dine beneath crystal chandeliers and gilded ceilings, or be serenaded by musicians from a table on the open-air terrace.
2. 1559 AD, UDAIPUR
Another Rajasthani dining destination named in honour of an important date—in this case, 1559 was the year that Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singhji—1559 AD overlooks the lovely waters of Lake Pichola. Follow diners in the know to its beautiful garden area, where you can sample from an eclectic menu of Indian, Continental, and Thai dishes.
3. 6 BALLYGUNGE PLACE, KOLKATA
For an authentic tasting tour of the flavours of West Bengal, drop by 6 Ballygunge Place in Kolkata. From rohu fish simmered in mustard gravy to coconut-laced cholar dal, from spicy prawn curry to enchorer dalna (a seasonal curry that features green jackfruit), the restaurant serves up bold and beautifully traditional plates.
4. AISH, HYDERABAD
The Nizams were the ruling dynasty that oversaw Hyderabad for two centuries, all the way up until Indian independence. Aish, housed within the city’s elegant Park Hotel, at once pays tribute to that long legacy and borrows more than a pinch of its regal pomp. Under an elegant carved ceiling, diners can discover the menu of classic Hyderabadi fare.
5. AGASHIYE, AHMEDABAD
India has always been an ideal destination for adventurous vegetarians, and Agashiye shows off the versatility of the country’s vegetable-led cookery. A thali is the best way to sample widely, and return visits are recommended, as the menu changes daily. Located across two sprawling terraces within a local heritage hotel, Agashiye also serves up plenty of style.