Connaught Place, New Delhi's central business district, has really come alive in recent years. This once rather bland neighborhood is now home to some of the city's best restaurants and bars. Most are located in the Outer Circle (also known as Connaught Circus). It's vibrant and social! Whether you're interested in sampling some street food or would prefer fine dining, here's the pick of what to eat in Connaught Place.
Veda is definitely not your ordinary north Indian cuisine joint. It's an eclectic collaboration between New York restaurateur Alok Aggarwal, Indian-born New York-based Master Chef Suvir Saran, and acclaimed Indian fashion designer Rohit Bal. The restaurant's exquisitely opulent interiors have a distinct regal feel. Think deep red brick walls, velvet curtains, chandeliers, and mirrors everywhere. Many of the dishes are served with contemporary twists. The lamb leg is the house specialty. There's also a special tasting menu with small portions of a selection of items. Want a romantic dinner? This is the spot. Opening hours are daily from noon to 11.30 p.m.
Renowned for its delicious and reasonably priced authentic vegetarian south Indian cuisine, this very successful chain of restaurants has expanded across India and internationally since it was founded in Chennai in 1981. The Connaught Place branch was launched in 2004. It's hugely popular, so expect to wait before being seated on weekends. Dosas are a specialty here. If you're feeling hungry, try the classic Tamil Nadu thali. Finish off with a south Indian filter coffee. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Quirky yet elegant Farzi Cafe aims to bring Indian cuisine into vogue, and it's doing a great job of it! The restaurant was established by late Indian food expert Jiggs Kalra and his entrepreneur son (who are also responsible for the wildly successful Masala Library). Farzi Cafe has the same approach to Indian food as Masala Library, focusing on molecular gastronomy. However, the food is more experimental and affordable, as the restaurant is aimed at a younger crowd. Look for dishes like tempura fried prawns, duck samosa, and asparagus and water chestnut korma. Bands and DJs regularly perform there on weekends too, so you can party on until late. (Note that children aren't permitted in the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights).
Continential and Indian Cuisines: Kwality
One of India's top historic restaurants and one of the oldest restaurants in Delhi, Kwality opened in Connaught Place in 1940. It received a new lease on life with an extensive nostalgia-drenched revamp in 2018. The restaurant claims it serves the best chole bhature (spicy chickpea curry and puffy deep-fried bread) in the city, with a secret recipe from a cook in Rawalpindi, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan that was the original "channa (chole) capital". However, it also does some classic Indian curries and Continental dishes that have stood out over the course of the restaurant's life. A piano lounge adds the heritage ambiance. Opening hours are noon to 11.30 p.m.
If you're craving authentic Hyderabadi biryani, Bikkgane Biryani is the place to go. This aromatic, non-vegetarian delicacy is regarded as the king of rice dishes. It's made from basmati rice, cooked with a special blend of spices in a pot. The restaurant serves all types, ranging from mutton to prawn, but mutton is the most famous. There are options for vegetarians too. Plus, tikkas, curries, and kebabs to complement the biryanis. Such is the legendary status of this restaurant that you'll need to wait at least 20 minutes for a table on weekends. Opening hours are 11.30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
There's nothing quite as satisfying as a thali, with its array of different dishes, if you're hungry. At Rajdhani, this platter comes with a mind-boggling 32 items! What's more, there are 72 different menus, which are consistently rotated. The thalis are vegetarian and consist predominantly of Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine. The first Rajdhani restaurant opened in Baroda in Gujarat in 1985, and now there outlets in about 30 locations across India. Opening hours are noon to 3.30 p.m. for lunch, and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. for dinner.
What started out as a small shop in Bikaner, in Rajasthan, has become an export sensation for Indians living all over the world. Haldiram's arrives in Delhi in 1982 and tantalized the city's residents with its wide range of hygienically prepared savories and sweets. You'll find inexpensive vegetarian street food favorites from all over India there including iconic raj kachori, chole bhature, masala dosa, and pav bhaji. Wash it down with a lassi or fresh lime soda. The restaurant is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cha Bar, located in the Oxford Bookstore, is one of the best places to drink tea in India. The concept started in Kolkata in 2000 and has been responsible for turning chai (tea) into a trendsetting lifestyle drink across the country. With more than 150 teas on the menu, there's something for everyone, from a reinvention of the ubiquitous milky Indian "cutting chai" to exotic Japanese Genmaicha. Choose from flowering teas, organic teas, herbal and Ayurvedic teas, diet teas, exclusive teas from Indian tea regions, and the best cultural teas from Sri Lanka, South Africa, Thailand, Russia, Japan, China and Arabia. The possibilities are almost endless! Gourmet snacks and light lunches are served, plus customers are welcome to relax and read a book from the store's collection while they drink.