May 19, 2011

Culinary Chennai

I have lived in Chennai for almost two decades now and from what it was, when it came to eating out, to what it has become now, there has been a sea change, Chennai has finally arrived on the Culinary Map and I am picking my top five go-to places when it comes to all things yummy. Here’s my list:

Benjarong: Nestled quietly in the bustling TTK road, Benjarong spells class and authenticity. In the ten odd years of it being around and the countless times that I have eaten there, I have to say, this one scores high on the priority list. The cuisine is far better than any of the Thai restaurants in the city (LOTUS included), the staff is extremely courteous and efficient and the service is impeccable. That apart, the quality of the food, the gorgeous ambience and the exhaustive menu make this one a winner!

Tangerine: When you walk in to Tangerine, it does not impress you at all. If you are one of those people who judge a place by their ambience then Tangerine will definitely not make the cut. But if you want the BEST sizzlers in town (take a hike Kobe!), then Tangerine is where the action is at. The food here never fails to make an impression and over the years, their menu has only become more exhaustive and impressive. Definitely one of the best haunts in Chennai.

Copper Chimney: What can I say about Copper Chimney that hasn’t been said before? Well if I knew who the head chef was, I would personally go pay him my respects and give him a tight hug because the food at Copper Chimney is the kind that makes you happy and puts a smile on your face. Perennially packed, always bustling with activity, there never is a dull moment at this place. Oh and did I mention that their Dal Makhani is only the best in the country? (Yes Peshawari and ITC Sonar Bangla do pale in comparison!)

Azulia: If you like your hummus, khaboos and tabbouleh, then the buck stops here for you! The man who rules with an iron fist at Azulia, Chef Joseph Chahine is a delight to talk to and is more than willing to help confused, indecisive people like me with their order. While the prices are a little steep, the quality of food that reaches the table – be it a simple hummus or a gloriously smoked piece of haloumi cheese, everything is perfection on a plate. Say Yalla, Yalla to this one!

Cornucopia: This has to be one of my most favourite, comfort food restaurants in the city. Cornucopia has had quite a nomadic existence in the city, moving from one place to the other, but what they carry with them every time they move is the glorious food. Now located in Gandhi Nagar, Cornucopia is hands down one of the best places to go to if you like Continental food with a twist. With an extremely comprehensive menu, almost everything I have eaten here has been akin to a warm, comforting memory that lingers on…

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