I originally wrote this post in 2011 but hv been revising it from time to time. latest update being 30th april 2015
Some of the best Dilli food is found in Chandni Chowk & adjoining areas like Chawri Bazar as many of the shops have not changed much from what they were about fifty to hundred years ago. This is not a comprehensive list but is a fairly large list which u will need few visits to cover – Some of the eateries mentioned below (e.g. Karim’s ,Jalebiwala etc) have been covered in detail (in other posts) in this blog – u can read those & enjoy the pics as well.
Attached is a hand drawn (by YUMMRAJ) map without which you will never find anything. You may need to take a printout and carry it with you as, without a map, you can easily get lost here. Let me tell u that inspite of the printout u might need to use Indian GPS – ‘Bhaisab, ye ved prakash lemon wale ka dukaan kahaan hai?’
The best way to get here is to park your car in CP (Connaught Place) and take the metro to Chawri Bazaar or Chandni Chowk. Let me warn u though that there r huge queues at the ticketcounters of Chandni Chowk station on the way back. The other option is to park the car at CP & take an auto rickshaw.
As u alight from the metro at Chawri Bazaar, take the gate towards Hauz Kazi. Once you are up on the street, you will see a clearing/intersection of roads. Go to the diagonally-opposite corner of the road, towards your right. You will find a tiny shop called ‘Ashok Chaat Corner’. You will see the red-coloured Times Food Guide certification on its wall. Ask for their signature offering – kalmi chaat and urad daal chaat. They use a kachalu chutney which is totally different, and simply awesome. Avoid the paani puris – they r no different from the rest of the places.
To try one of the best kulfis in town, check out Kuremal Mohan lal kulfiwale. Do not miss their stuffed mango kulfi during summers / jamun / lichi….
Then take a rickshaw to the jalebi wala store in Chandni Chowk. Have jalebis there and start walking towards the parathe wali gali.
‘You will find Ghantewaala sweets on your left. They have fantastic kalakand and are also known for sohan halwa. I prefer the sohan tikki over the sohan halwa. The sohan papdi is also good.’ – I wrote that in 2011. The 200+ year old shop closed down in 2015.
Opposite Ghantewala hop into a small shop called Natraj ke Dahi Bhalley……… YUMM
A little walk along the same footpath as Natraj, u will find a chaatwala – very good aloo tikki chaat & also fruit chhat. Go for the less masala version.
Paranthewali gali is over-hyped and sadly they deep fry the paranthas!!!! Only two paranthas that stand out are rabri parantha and papad ka parantha.
Then start walking in as directed by the arrows in the map (walk into paranthe wali gali, turn right, turn left – you can stop for an aloo tikki chaat on your left.
Post this you’ll hit a T-point; turn right and keep walking – you will find the shop to your left) till you reach JB kachori wala on your left. You will be constantly jostling with people, stray dogs, cycles, thelas and motor bikes; but you’ll put with all this as the kachoris are too good – though they r spicy & hot as well. This is the second best Khasta Kachori I have ever had – the best one so far being Bajpai kachori bhandar in Lucknow.
Ask for Sagarmal Brijbhushan Rewariwale & try their kachori subzee. They serve Desi Ghee bedami pooris with super hot ‘n spicy aloo that set my tongue on fire.
Walk out of the Parathewali gali. Turn left and walk towards Town Hall. Once you reach the Town Hall clearing, there will be a shop on the 1st floor to your left – Asha Ram Foods. You will have to take a narrow staircase beside a Kotak Mahindra Bank ATM.
Once upstairs, you can get some good paranthas and sabzees. You will have to buy the food by waiting in a line, unless u have a lady in the group – says the waiter ‘If u have a lady in the group we serve u at the table – else u stand in a queue’!!!!!
Cross the Town Hall clearing and stop over at Ved Prakash nimbu pani wala. We, at times, have two glasses one after the other.
As u walk towards Fatehpuri Masjid u come across Tiwari Brothers on ur right. They serve some good samosas kachoris & sweets.
A little further is Shiv Mishtann Bhandar. They serve Desi Ghee bedami pooris with aloo, nagori pooris with halwa & chholey Bhature the traditional way super enjoyable till the time u start thinking calories.
Keep walking till you are near Fathepuri Masjid. Beside it is Chaina Ram Sweet shop. They are famous for Karachi halwa. That is good but I prefer the sew paak much better. Sew paak is a sweet made of sew (bhujia)!!!! I have never had it so good anywhere else.
On the right of Fatehpuri Masjid, go straight to Giani’s di hatti. They have a unique Rabri Falooda in one counter and daal halwa and gajar ka halwa in the other.
The rabri falooda looks innocent but is very heavy- ask for one glass & ask for the second if u still have space.
The halwas r one of the best I have had in a while. All the halwas at Bikanervalas , Haldirams & Om sweets r peanuts in front of the halwa served here.
Beside Gianis there is Kake di Hatti.
They make some awesome paranthas (light years better than the ones at parathewali gali) , super paneer curries, daal & lots of other curries.
A ride towards Jama masjid on a rickshaw in the morning hours will take u to the famous Lotan chholey Kulcha wala – A street side vendor selling unique chholey with good kulchas in the morning for 2 hours.
This was all veg food. For non-veg food, one of the most popular places is Karim’s opposite Jama Masjid. Go for the mutton sheek kabab and the burra kabab. They have a long menu card but these two stand out. From 9.00 am in the morning to 11.30 am, you will get slow fire cooked overnight – Nihari and paaya (stew made of hoofs of the goat). This is also something not to be missed.
For curries, I find Al Jawahar old shop better. Just walk out of the shop and walk into the Al Jawahar old shop to the right of Karims (when u face Karim’s). Eat the main course here. The mutton stew & korma is great.
To find other non-veg food, get off at the same place in Chawri Bazaar metro station and start going left till the hamdard shop. There are quite a few non-descript meat/kabab shops here. On the road perpendicular to hamdard, you will find a shop named Sangam Kababs. Moinuddin kababwale started this business on a thela and now his sons r taking it forwards. YUMM kababs for Rs. 10 a piece.
If you keep walking further you will find Mirza Ghalib’s house also to your right – though there’s nothing to eat there.
On the main Daryaganj Road (the road between Delhi Gate & Jama Masjid), there is a shop called Changezi Chicken. You can try the ‘changezi chicken’ dish but the ‘afghani chicken’ dish is lip-smacking.
Try Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken at Moti Mahal Deluxe on the main Daryaganj Road. They claim they are the inventors of these dishes.
If u want to gorge on Dilli’s own meat curry Nihari (meat slow cooked overnight with spices & herbs) , try Haji Shabrati Nihariwale.
If u r more adventurous, try Kallu Nihariwale. U will surely not b disappointed.
Near Haji Shabrati in case u want to try roadside Kababs, u might like Babu bhai kababwale.
Kaale baba kababwale makes some good meat kababs as well.
I guess this is a good amount of homework (or, rather road work) for you to start with.
Enjoy the experience, and pop in a few pudin haras (2 spoons of Aquaptychotis in case u r a bong) if there’s any suspicion of post-food indigestion etc …………………..