They have a history sometimes, and sometimes they don’t. They have built a reputation making quality food which reached its saturation point and are now riding the descending waves of name, brand and reputation. We asked around and got the names of some restaurants that were once popular but lost their spark somewhere along the way. They only live through the recommendations of travel guides and the significance of their existence.
1. Karim’s, Delhi
Great mutton curry, so they say. How would I know? I got fed up waiting. If you’re willing to wait in the blistering heat or the freezing cold for a table, you’ll find out.
2. Tendulkars, Mumbai
This closed in 2007, and reopened a few years later. The restaurant does not have bad food per say, but tastier alternatives are available elsewhere. People just want to dine there because of the little master who owns it.
3. Khan Chacha, Delhi
Once famous for its chicken tikka rolls, this establishment decided to hand out franchise licenses to expand its business. Unfortunately, there was a drop in quality and now Chachaji rides on the waves of his past glory.
4. The Hub, Kolkata
A multi-cuisine restaurant in Kolkata’s Taj Bengal hotel is a popular choice for fans of buffet lunches. It is often a haunt for ladies of leisure who love luncheon. Prices are steep as ever and the food is just sub standard. The City of Joy has better options for a bland bit of pasta.
5. Bukhara, ITC Maurya, New Delhi
Made glorious with diners like former American President, Bill Clinton, Bukhara is just your dhaba that decided to get classy. The food is okay, except for the Dal Bukhara and Mutton Barra, which are out of this world. If eating at Bukhara is a status symbol, so be it!
6. Flury’s, Kolkata
The Swiss coffee house was revamped and introduced in the prime location of Park Street. The ambiance is brilliant as it preserves the feel of a European coffee house while watching the world go by. Too bad the pastries are not as Swiss as they claim to be, but are dry and too sweet.
7. Leopold Cafe, Mumbai
Leopold has seen Bombay become “Mumbai” since it first opened in 1871. It still houses its old school vibe and is very popular with foreign tourists. But the food has taken a turn for the worse.
8. Mocambo, Kolkata
A haunt for continental food lovers in Calcutta, Mocambo has seen all and fed all. As a child, my absolute favourite was a pasta bake dish that had a thick umbrella crust of cheese gratin under which was spaghetti in tomato ketchup. Meat lovers who are willing to risk upsetting their stomachs love this place. They could really go easy on the white sauces though.
9. Gulati, New Delhi
Pandara Road is the hub for butter chicken lovers in the capital. Travel guides recommend Gulati but locals say look elsewhere.
10. Cafe Mondegar, Mumbai
Like Leopold, the vibe is amazing and takes you back in time along with lovely illustrations by Mario Miranda. Too bad the food is average and takes forever to get to your table.
11. Oh Calcutta!, Kolkata
I refuse to comment on the brand’s restaurants that are in other cities around India. The one in its homeland is absolutely awful. The only plus point? Bengali food in a classy ambiance. The food, enough to make you detest Daab Chingri and fish for the rest of your life.
12. Bade Miya, Mumbai
Greasy and devoid of any flavour, the kebabs are really not worth the wait.
13. Mainland China, Gurusaday Road, Kolkata
Fancy and so Chinese, Mainland China continues to charm with its fabulous decor. The food, on the other hand, is no longer what it used to be. Expect to bump into several rude Bengali uncles who think they’re royalty just because they can afford to eat here.
14. Lucky, Mumbai
Many locals suggest the butter chicken over the biryani, that many consider its signature dish.
15. Trincas, Kolkata
Once the birth place of Calcutta’s live music scene and the starting point for many musicians, the restaurant was at the peak of the city’s Golden Age of jazz music, commerce and industry, until the Commies came in and ruined everything. The music in Trincas is no longer what it used to be. The food is never spoken of because people just go there for the live entertainment.
16. Jhaal Farezi, Kolkata
Average food while the interiors look more appetising. Desserts are a disappointment. Moving on…
17. Amber, Kolkata
Still a popular Punjabi joint, the food is not what it used to be. Expect your food to be oily and dunked with spices.
18. The Dhabas at Murthal
Many drive to this small town just to eat dhaba food. It’s a pity most of them are awful.
19. Paranthewali Gali, Delhi
Not really paranthas to begin with, but just giant pieces of flat bread that are dangerously deep-fried to death. Enjoy!
First Published on: Indiatimes.com