Pune India – Best Places to Eat and Dishes to Try
Pune is a place for gourmands, especially those in search of something new and adventurous on their plate. The city’s dining scene is flourishing and offers a mixture of both new fusion cuisine as well as delicious local fare, with many and varied eateries on every corner.
Local Specialties and Where to Try Them
The locals in Pune genuinely pride themselves on their traditional specialties, which are diverse in terms of their flavours but all equally delectable and will get your taste-buds racing.
Among Pune’s staple dishes is the aloo paratha, a fried flatbread smeared with a generous dose of butter and stuffed with spiced potato. The best place to try one is at Chaitanya Paranthas, nearby Mahatma Phule Museum, which has made a name for itself on this dish alone. Their menu nowadays offers a variety of options, including a pizza parantha but the classic is still the crowds’ favourite.
Misal pav is another local dish we heartily recommend; made of semi curried lentils, mixed with potatos, tomatos, coriander, aromatic spices and garnished with crunchy flour noodles it is the perfect breakfast dish or a mid-day snack. It usually comes with buns or bread and a dip. The best place in Pune for one of these is a small local, called Bedekar Misal, in Narayan Peth.
Om Jai ShankarPani Puriwala, on Babajaan Chowk, in Camp, serves the best pani puri in Pune according to popular consensus. A snack-type dish, originally proffered exclusively by street vendors, it consists of round, hollow, fried crisp balls filled with a mixture of flavoured water, dahi, tamarind chutney, chaat masala, potato, chickpeas, and finely chopped onion.
Best Places for Local Fare
Vaishali, on Ferguson College Road (FC), where you will find a host of eateries, restaurants, and food stalls, offers an excellent sev puri dahi puri, superb pav bhajis, delicious sabudana vadas and is famous for its coconut chutney. This is fast and delicious food on the go.
If you’re after something more wholesome like a traditional thali head for Shabree on FC Road, which serves authentic Maharashtrian sit-down meals. This place is famous not only for its toothsome thali loaded with puran poli, masala bhat, aaluchi bhaji, and kadi gole but also for its generous re-fills. So be sure you won't leave hungry.
Another great place to try an authentic local meal is a very small eatery called Tiranga’s NonVegHouse, it’s famous for its sizeable portions, traditional home-cooked biryanis, the most popular one being the mildly spiced chicken option. The food at Tiranga’s is freshly prepared, aromatic and draws large crowds so book in advance or get there to Paud Road before the dinner rush-hour.
The aforementioned local delicacies and traditional meals are relatively cheap in Pune. An aloo paratha will set you back from around INR70 to INR90. A thali meal or a biryani will cost anywhere between INR250 and INR300, respectively. Prices do vary according to where you go but local dhabas and snack bars are an inexpensive option to try Maharashtrian food. The best way to chose one of these establishments is by counting the number of locals queuing at their doors.
Wdstern and International Dishes
Traditional local cuisine and its numerous outlets are ubiquitous in Pune, and you will find something to your liking no matter where you go. But Pune is also fast becoming one of the most popular cities in Maharashtra for having a vast and diverse host of top-notch international, pan-Asian, and fusion cuisine restaurants for dining out in style.
Malaka Spice, located on North Main Road in Koregaon Park, is renowned on the city’s food circuit. This sophisticated alfresco restaurant serves-up Southeast Asian cuisine with influences from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and Cambodia. There is nothing typical about Malaka Spice or its cuisine. The restaurant is beautifully lit and set-out to create a luxurious atmosphere for a truly indulgent experience. We recommend you try their mutton chops, squid and vegetable taucheo or the papaya salad. Snacks and drinks are also available and the staff are not only knowledgeable about the menu but will be happy to recommend you something outstanding. This place is a little on the expensive side, however, with prices for two mains starting from around INR2000.
Prem’s is another excellent but more casual eatery, located nearby, in Koregaon Park. It is neatly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city in a tree-canopied courtyard, which makes it a perfect stopover for a lunch or an ice-cold beer. Its relaxed ambiance attracts large crowds of locals and tourists, who are known to spend hours there enjoying a drink or two with one of Prem's scrumptious dishes. We suggest you try their butter chicken, jalapeño cheese balls, paneer masala or the sizzlers, all of which are delectable. The average price for two is INR1500.
A great place nearby, if you’re looking for some relief from Asian cuisine, is Dario’s, situated at Sundarban Hotel, off North Main Road. This place offers a taste of authentic Italian cooking at its best. The popular bistro serves-up freshly prepared Italian mains such as ravioli Chiaramonte, handmade gnocchi vegani, tortellini fulminati and has an extensive menu of starters, snacks, and deserts. The selection of wine, beer and cocktails is equally as impressive. While it may be a little on the pricey side, with around INR1700 for two, Dario’s offers a memorable experience akin to an evening in Italy itself. The bistro has both inside and outside seating, extremely courteous staff and a laid-back atmosphere perfect for a leisurely meal and a drink.
Cafes and Coffee Houses
If, however, you’re after something quick and snappy like a steaming coffee and a pastry head to Mocha, a stone’s throw from Dario’s. This ultra-modern cafe with a stylish interior, friendly staff, and prompt service has coffees from around the world. Not only that they do delicious pastries and other snacks such as crispy pao sliders, pizza slices, smoothies, and desserts. The rasmalai cheesecake is fantastic with a cup of cinnamon mocha. A price for a mocha will set you back INR110, and the cheesecake is around INR225.
Other top-class cafes include The French Window Patisserie, which serves a variety of coffees, a great tiramisu, and choux pastries; and a place called Le Coffee House in Parvati Plaza, known for its cosy atmosphere, great inexpensive coffee, club-sandwiches, and cakes.
Bars and Cocktail Halls
Pune, being one of the biggest cities in the state, after Mumbai, has plenty of eateries, coffee houses, top-end restaurants, local dhabas and street vendors selling traditional Maharashtrian snacks.
Almost every high-end restaurant or casual dining venue has a cocktail and a wine list, so you won’t have to search hard for that much-needed glass of chilled Chardonnay after a long day of exploring the city.
Drinking establishments are also aplenty in Pune, but if you’re after something special we recommend you visit the bar at Arc Asia, near Westin Hotel. It has a great selection of malts, scotches, beers, and wines which you’ll be able to enjoy in sophisticated surroundings modernly lit sit-out areas, accompanied by some ambient music.
Pune has invested a lot to keep its city buzzing at night, but some drinking establishments tend to close early. Others, mostly known by those who frequent them, open at 7.00pm and close around 1.30am, therefore, it is always worth asking the locals about the latest dining and wining hotspots.