‘I don’t care if you’re doing haute cuisine or burgers and pizza, just do it right’. – Grant Achatz
‘Doing it right’ is what every cook aims at, every time they hit the stove. However, every foodie has to eventually settle on a list of places that get it right every freakin’ time. So, here is my list of restaurants in Pune which seem to be at the top of their game consistently; winning over the hearts and stomachs of both the young and old:
Few places in Pune take you on a perception altering gastronomic journey like Malaka Spice does. Started in 1997, with the aim of representing South East Asian cuisine in its truest essence, they have achieved their initial goal and surpassed any other expectations they set for themselves along the way. Currently operating through three outlets, Malaka Spice is considered to serve one of the classiest array of dishes in the city, combined with unmatched consistency in quality and service. Food connoisseurs come from all over the Pune to indulge their palates in flavors from Japan, Tibet, Vietnam and Penang; they never return disappointed. They serve liquor as well, making Malaka Spice the ideal spot for casual get-togethers or soft romantic dinners.
Established in 1935, Goodluck Cafe is an Irani restaurant located in the heart of the city, near Fergusson College. It has become a must-visit place which refuses to lose its charm, despite the proliferation of cafes and restaurants in the past two decades who promise varied cuisines and dining experiences. Throughout the day, everyday, people que up to get a table at this particular restaurant. Many a Puneri, living in the Deccan Gymkhana area are accustomed to break bread each morning here with a Bun Muska and chai, which happens to be a legendary combination all over the city. The other dishes that draw food lovers here are Mutton Keema with Romali Roti, Bheja fry, other non veg curries and the Thalis. It’s almost a crime to visit Pune and not pay homage to this age old temple of good taste and heavenly aromas.
The spices and aromas of the Middle east have come down to Pune and spread far and wide, thanks to this exquisite chain of restaurants. Meat lovers in the city find themselves longing to return to any of its 7 outlets repeatedly, to savour the taste of their soft kebabs, or their perfectly spiced Mutton Rogan Josh. A wholesome meal at Marrakesh ends only with a Malai Firni, a sweet dish that leaves one with a taste of milk cream and almonds. A must-try for anyone visiting Marrakesh for the first time is their Pita bread and Hummus. For those with no time to spare, a quick take-away counter serving Chicken Shawarma or Veg falafel ensures that one ‘gets the taste while in haste’ .
Dorabjee & Sons
137 years ago, an eatery was established in a red tiled building. They had affordable prices, generous portions, commendable quality and had set out to serve local residents. It is fascinating that they have stuck to all their initial principles, a whole century later, all while running out of the same red tiled building.
Catering primarily to non-vegetarians, Dorabjee & Sons is a simple looking, pleasingly clean restaurant run by a very cordial staff. It is currently managed by Darius Dorabjee, the great great grandson of Dorabjee Sorabjee who had established the place in 1878; originally as a pastime to serve the type of food he fancied to the people in the neighbourhood. The place is famous for its biryanis and cutlets, the chicken and mutton curries, along with their own custard which is still a steal at ₹50. The Sunday menu is a special treat in itself with specialities like Mutton shami kebab and Mutton dhansak being served.
A flight of stairs in a victorian heritage building on MG Road leads up to Marz-O-Rin, the first fast food joint to be established in Pune, way back in 1965. Marz-o-rin has since then served its customers with quality sandwiches, burgers, milkshakes and a range of Bakery products at very reasonable prices. A large number of customers come in every week to stock themselves with the assortment of cakes,cookies and pastries. This restaurant is also popular among people visiting other cities, both Indian and foreign who return to refersh their palates the Marz-O-Rin experience.