As you’d imagine, New Delhi is home to many of the best Indian restaurants on the planet. While some stick to stellar versions of traditional dishes, others have been busy fusing age-old recipes with international influences, conjuring up new creations that have been demanding the attention of critics all over the world. Here are five restaurants in New Delhi that no committed foodie traveler should miss.
Dvar at the Radisson Blu
Of all the Dwarka Delhi hotels boasting onsite restaurants, the Radisson Blu is one of the most popular. Dvar, dubbed the ‘Gateway to India Cuisine’, presents traditional fare, but in fine dining style. The dishes are sourced from all over India, rather than just one region, so you get the chance to sample some incredibly diverse cuisine without having to move from your seat.
Stand outs include tandoori pomfret (whole pomfret marinated in a tasty blend of green herbs and yoghurt and then cooked on charcoal) and amristari machli (fish fillets marinated in fenugreek, carom and red chilli and then fried). There’s also an extensive vegetarian menu and, to try a bit of everything, you can opt for a chef’s platter for two. Located at Plot No. 4, Sector 13 (right next to the metro station) in Dwarka city center, Dvar is open for dinner every evening from 7pm. There’s also a great Pan-Asian restaurant named Rice onsite.
As far as ‘fine dining waters’ S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are concerned, Bukhara is the best restaurant you’ll find anywhere India in 2014. At the same time, it ranked 27 on their famous ‘Top 50 Restaurants in Asia’ list. It’s also the preferred New Delhi dining option for the likes of Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin.
The menu, which hasn’t changed in 35 years, focuses on absolutely divine incarnations of cuisine from the North-West Frontier – an area made up India’s north-west region and connected sections of Afghanistan. One of the highlights is definitely the house dal: black lentils, tomatoes, ginger and garlic simmered all night long over a charcoal fire and served up with cream and butter. For atmosphere, it’s hard to beat. Think warm, rustic and inviting. Bukhara is located in the Diplomatic Enclave in Sardar Patel Marg.
In 2014, Indian Accent made some impressive ground on the S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna list, moving to number 29 from the previous year’s number 41 spot. The menu, designed by head chef Manish Mehrota, is all about breaking down geographical culinary boundaries and having fun in the process. So, star dishes include tandoori bacon prawns with wasabi cream, masala miso Scottish salmon and chicken tikka quesadillas with Swiss gruyère. The atmosphere is contemporary and extravagant. You’ll find Indian Accent at 77, Friends Colony West.
Just one place behind Indian Accent on the 2014 list is Dum Pukht. Like Bukhara and Dvar, this restaurant adheres to traditional recipes, but takes them to unprecedented levels of deliciousness. The main focus is on slow clay pot cooking, a technique started in northern India’s palace kitchens back in the 18th century. Meat is combined with special blends of herbs and then cooked in its own juices for hours and hours and hours. To match such an illustrious history, the decor is suitably palatial – think crystal and gold leaf. Dum Pukht is found in Sardar Patel Marg.
Finally, at number 5, there’s Varq. Like Indian Accent, this one is driven by innovation and discovery. Local street dishes are made over through experimentation with non-traditional ingredients, like foie gras, halibut and scallops. Plus, the desserts are outstanding – many are served with matching teas. Varq’s address is Number One Mansingh Road.