The diverse options as to what to eat in Delhi's Nizamuddin neighborhood, ranging from exclusive fine dining to inexpensive street food for the masses, reflect the huge distinction between the east and west parts of the area. Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah is the main attraction in Nizamuddin West. However, hardcore foodies flock to the alleys around it for authentic kebabs and Mughlai cuisine. This crowded and rather grungy area is worlds apart from upper-class Nizamuddin East, bordering Humayun's Tomb. Here's the pick of restaurants in the neighborhood.
One of Delhi's top fine dining restaurants, award-winning Indian Accent relocated to The Lodhi luxury hotel in early November 2017. The restaurant replaces On The Waterfront, and is conveniently situated opposite Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah. Despite the move, there haven't been many changes to the stunning setting, or to the food that Indian Accent serves (what's the need, really?). The restaurant continues to be a leader in contemporary Indian gastronomy, with Chef Manish Mehrotra combining classic flavors with unusual global ingredients. He developed this skill during nine years working abroad and is recognized as one of the best chefs in India.
Order the Chef's Tasting Menu (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) to go on a 12-course culinary voyage, from appetizers to desserts. The food is complemented with an extensive wine list. Be sure to make a reservation (phone: 11 6617-5151), as this restaurant is deservedly very popular. For an extra special experience, ask for one of the tables that are positioned over the water (there's no additional cost).
Dastarkhwan-E-Karim opened in Nizamuddin West in the 1960s as the first branch of historic Karim restaurant, which has been serving royal food to the common man near Jama Masjid in Old Delhi since 1913. It was inaugurated by the wife of India's fifth president, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (the president really loved the food). Dastarkhwan-E-Karim remains the restaurant's best branch, although many diners say the dishes aren't as spicy or as tasty (possibly to cater for expats living in the area).
If you're a vegetarian you may want to skip eating there, as meat dominates the menu—especially mutton (goat). Adventurous eaters may find delicacies such as the Nayab Mughz Masala (goat brain curry) or Gurda Kaleji (goat kidney and liver curry) appealing. Those who prefer chicken should try the Akbari Murg Masala (chicken cooked with curd and spices) or Chicken Burra (oven roasted chicken). Pair it with a soft rumali roti.
Kebabs: Ghalib Kabab Corner
Ghalib Kabab Corner is a cramped, no-frills restaurant that's also one of the most famous eateries around Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah. Named after a 19th century Urdu poet, it delights non-vegetarian foodies with its specialty shaami kababs (small burger patties made from minced goat meat and spices). Apparently, the restaurant won a kebab festival contest at Delhi's Maurya Sheraton luxury hotel in 1984, although it definitely won't win anything for its decor. It's tucked away in the narrow lanes of Nizamuddin West (to get there take a left before the Dargah, after entering Nizamuddin Basti) and is more than 40 years old. The kebabs are cooked over charcoal fire, giving them a delicious smokey taste.
Book lovers will enjoy spending time hanging out at the cozy Cafe Turtle, on a quiet street in Nizamuddin East Market. The cafe operates in conjunction with Full Circle Bookstore, which aims to provide a relaxing space for people to meet and chat. A varied and compelling collection of books is placed around the cafe, and is available for sale. Read your new purchase while munching on a healthy low-calorie salad, sandwich, quiche, pizza, or cake. The coffee is excellent, or if you'd prefer a fresh juice instead, there are plenty to choose from. Try the Vegi Lucy (carrot, tomato, beetroot, ginger, and mint) for a nutritious pick-me-up.
Also in Nizamuddin East Market, near Cafe Turtle, Kit Kat Kitchens is a tiny take-out joint that's most appreciated for its succulent momos (fried, tandoori and steamed). Kit Kat opened there in 2015 but was previously located in Nizamuddin West, where it had a huge loyal following in the late 90s and early 2000s. It's great for a quick bite! However, if you want something more substantial, the menu has an array of Chinese dishes as well as limited north Indian cuisine.