There are some outstanding Bengali restaurants in Kolkata, where you can enjoy authentic and delicious tasting Bengali cuisine. A hit in the City of Joy, many of these restaurants have gone on to open up branches all over India. Seafood lovers will really love seafood dominated Bengali food. To get the most from your dining experience, keep in mind how Bengalis eat their food to preserve the subtle flavors -- vegetarian dishes first, followed by fish, and then meat.
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6 Ballygunge Place was founded in 2003 to fill the gap in the market for standalone Bengali specialty restaurants in Kolkata. The original one is located in a white, century-old and character-filled converted bungalow in upmarket Ballygunge. Its dishes were developed from scouring renowned cookbooks, including those containing traditional recipes from Rabindranath Tagore's family.
- Address: 6 Ballygunge Place, Ballygunge, Kolkata. Also at DD 31 A, Sector 1, Salt Lake, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)2460-3922.
- What's Good: Pabda Macher Jhal (spicy fish curry, prepared with mustard paste and poppy seeds.)
- Cost: A meal for two at this mid-range restaurant will cost around 1,000-1,200 rupees. For a real feast, go for the sumptuous lunch and dinner buffets.
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This relatively new and memorable Bengali cuisine restaurant is named after a hit 1961 Bengali romantic drama starring Suchitra Sen and Uttam Kumar. Its decor, featuring movies stills and old portraits of the stars, reflects the theme. Soft romantic music from Bengali cinema plays in the background as well. The restaurant was founded by two chefs (Ranjan Biswas and Swarup Mondal) who have 10 years experience working in luxury hotels. Their menu combines traditional and innovative fusion dishes.
- Address: 49B Purna Das Road, Hindustan Park, near Gariahat, Kolkata. Also at G 40A Bagha Jatin, near Ganguli Bagan Post Office, Jadavpur, Kolkata.
- Phone: (cell) 9831611210 / 9007912433.
- What's Good: Signature dishes that are liked by Uttam Kumar, including Kacha Lanka Mangsho (mutton in coriander gravy).:
- Cost: 1,000 rupees for two people.
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For something deliciously different, try Bohemian's contemporary Bengali fusion food. Chef Joy Bannerjee, who was previously Head Chef at Oh! Calcutta, uses distinctly Bengali spices and flavors in his cooking -- but with a twist! The menu has tweaked traditional fare plus a range of innovative global dishes, including many vegetarian options.
- Address: 32/4 Old Ballygunge 1st Lane, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)6460-1001.
- What's Good: Royal Bengal roast mutton.
- Cost: About 1,800 rupees for two people.
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If you've got money to splurge on eating out, you won't be disappointed with Oh! Calcutta. This award winning, fine dining restaurant can now be found in major cities across India. It aims to recreate dishes from traditional old style Bengali recipes, selected through painstaking research. The environment is elegant, and there's a private dining area as well.
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- Address: Forum Mall, 10/3 Elgin Road, Lala Lajpat Rai Sarani, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)2283-7161.
- What's Good: You can't go wrong with the seafood. The Bhapa Hilsa (steamed Hilsa fish) and Smoked Bhetki (smoked Bhekti fish) are legendary.
- Cost: About 2,000 rupees for two people.
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The elegant and iconic fine dining Aaheli has been serving authentic Bengali cuisine for decades, and is popular with both locals and foreign visitors. It offers a wide variety of dishes from all over Bengal, with a focus on bringing back exclusive lost “Zamindari cuisine”, the food of aristocratic landowners. Live Bengali music and waiters clad in traditional attire enhance the ambiance. Do note that alcohol is not served in the restaurant (although it is available elsewhere in the hotel).
- Address: The Peerless Inn Hotel, 12 Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Esplanade, Kolkata.
- Phone: (cell) 9903034456.
- What's Good: Chingri Malaikari (prawns in coconut milk curry) and Rui Macher Patishapta (fish crepes).
- Cost: A meal for two will cost around 2,000 rupees.
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In the New Market area and serving authentic Dhakai Bangladeshi cuisine, award winning Kasturi is an inexpensive but delicious option. Established in 1994, the restaurant pioneered this type of cuisine in the city. Ignore the uninspiring decor, the food is what counts there. And, the crowded dining room is testament to this.
- Address: 7A Mustaque Ahmed Street, New Market Area, Kolkata. There are branches in Ballygunge and Hindustan Road as well.
- Phone: (cell) 8334922221; 9748906025.
- What's Good: The signature dish, Kochu Bhapa Chingri (steamed prawns with taro root).
- Cost: A meal for two will cost around 600 rupees.
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Don't have much time to eat? Bhojohori Manna is where you should head to get tasty Bengali cuisine on the run. And with outlets all over Kolkata, you're sure to find one conveniently close by. The restaurant is named after a famous Bengali track, sung by Manna Dey, for a film made in the 70s. The track "ami sri sri bhojohri manna..." revolves around a magical cook who traveled to many lands and acquired a unique culinary style of his own.
- Address: The outlet at 18/1A, Hindustan Road, Gariahat, is the most upmarket and recommended. There are also branches at Ekdalia Road, Hazra, Salt Lake Sectors I & V, Star Theatre (Hatibagan), Ruby (Kasba Industrial Estate), and Esplanade.
- Phone: (33)2466-3941.
- What's Good: Kosha Mangsho (spicy mutton curry) and Daab Chingri (coconut and mustard prawn curry).
- Cost: A meal for two will cost around 600 rupees.
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Also in the New Market area and serving primarily Dhakai Bangladeshi cuisine, The Bhoj Company opened in 2012. It's a small restaurant that's developed a loyal local following. The food is affordable, super authentic and servings are generous. Service could be better though.
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- Address: 30A Free School Street, New Market Area, Mirza Ghalib Street, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)4006-6003.
- What's Good: Kochu Pata Diye Ilish Bhapa, Bhetki Paturi, and Chingri Machher Malai Curry.
- Cost: Expect to pay around 400 rupees for two.
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Born out of our deep passion for cooking and a love of authentic Bengal cuisine, Lokaahar opened its doors in October 2015 in a lane near South City Mall. It's one of a flurry of new Bengali restaurants in Kolkata, and is indeed one of the better ones. This homely standalone restaurant has quickly become renowned for the consistently good quality of its cuisine. The owners have converted the ground floor of their house into the restaurant. It's a small place, with seating space for up to 25 people. Apart from the yummy food, the restaurant is noteworthy for its rustic rural theme. The owners have focused on highlighting rural life and promoting artisans from various districts of Bengal by selling their handicrafts. The menu is also derived from dishes found in the far reaches of greater Bengal. Best of all, it's budget friendly!
- Address: Prince Anwar Shah Road, 533 Jodhpur Park, Kolkata.
- Phone: 96740 89993 (cell)
- What's Good: Mocha Chingri, Posto Bora, Dhokar Dalna,... Chandana Kheer, Mutton Dak Bunglow.
- Cost: Around 400 rupees for two.
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Kewpies Kitchen started as an intimate, unassuming, family run restaurant over a decade ago and has become a famed place to dine in Kolkata. Located in the owner's home, it seats just 50 people. Sadly, the standard has reportedly dropped in recent years but if you want reasonably priced Bengali food in a unique environment, do give it a try.
- Address: 2 Elgin Lane (behind Netaji Bhawan), Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)2475-9880.
- What's Good: The traditional Bengali thali (platter) served on a banana leaf.
- Cost: Expect to pay 800-900 rupees for two people.