Delhi is a culinary melting pot with influences from all over and offers a gastronomic journey like no other city. Amidst all the fancy cuisines, humble Punjabi food holds a special place in every Delhite's heart.
Wholesome, rich in flavours, and robust, Delhi's Punjabi food scene is a culmination of a variety of cultures and influences coming together. This includes refugees from Pakistan post-partition like the founders of iconic eateries like Moti Mahal Deluxe, said to be the birthplace of butter chicken. Today chefs across the eateries are bringing in ingredients like broccoli, mushrooms and alternate grains like jowar and bajra for food that is experimental and yet rooted in the cuisine's best cooking practices.
From classic chole bhature to fusion tandoori broccoli, here are the best places to explore for Punjabi food in Delhi
1. The Great Indian Mela
Just like the name, it’s a place for everything desi. This Indian heritage-inspired restaurant will have you swooning over the great ethnic-themed graffiti art. The colourful decor, complemented by luminescent lights, creates a warm and inviting ambience that sets the perfect tone for your evenings. So, whether you're a true desi at heart or someone eager to explore authentic Punjabi cuisines, this is the place for you to take your taste buds for an adventure ride and while you’re there, we recommend you try their Amritsari macchli.
Location: Ambience Mall, Gurugram, NH 8, Ambience Island, DLF Phase 3, Sector 24, Gurugram
Price range: Rs 1,500 for two people (approx.)
2. Dhaba Estd. 1986 Delhi
Based in the heart of Delhi, Connaught place, this restaurant was opened in 1986 and has been known to serve lakhs of people every month. With its authentic Punjabi swag and dhaba-style interiors it was designed to be an original highway-themed eatery. Their authentic Punjabi food and fusion creations will leave you licking your fingers and even the kadhai of your chicken. The tall ceilings, retro decorations and Punjabi quirky surroundings narrate their journey throughout the years and create an ambience you can enjoy in and have a great time. You can try out dhaba prawns, balti meat, tandoori dhaba rann here, which is slowly cooked to perfection and don’t forget to check out their theka which offers a wide array of cocktails from tharra to classic ones with that desi twist.
Location: B 42, 1st floor, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Price range: Rs 950 for two people (approx.)
3. Pind Baluchi, Connaught Place
Just like its name, Pind Baluchi has a village-themed ambience and a banyan tree right in the middle of the restaurant. With years of experience under their belt, they've not only curated the finest selection of Punjabi dishes on their menu but also perfected the art of making guests feel like family.
Don't miss their dahi ke kebab and lehsooni tangri, each bite bursting with authentic flavours and for a blissful end to a sumptuous meal have their super tasty matka kulfi and mango lassi.
Location: 13, Regal Building, near Regal Cinema, Hanuman Road Area, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Price range: Rs 1,600 for two people (approx.)
4. Moti Mahal Deluxe
The legendary Moti Mahal isn't just a place to dine but a living chapter of history, born from the very partition of India. Each bite here is a testament to the rich legacy that has stood the test of time. This place is so famous that even the Wall Street Journal couldn't resist giving it a shout-out! Talk about world domination!
Reaching the hearts of billions of people every day, this one has branches not just around the country but also at some famous foreign destinations.
Now, to make it more appealing to you all, this is the birthplace of our beloved butter chicken, tandoori chicken and dal makhani.
Price range: Rs 750 for two people (approx.)
5. Punjabi by Nature, Kirti Nagar
Not far from Connaught Place in Delhi is one of the oldest and most visited markets in the city, Kirti Nagar. A number of Punjabi restaurants are situated in this area including this one. Offering Punjabi dishes ranging from makki di roti te sarson da saag to royal tandoori murgh they have it all! If you happen to like exploring old markets that bring chaos in our lives and yet make us feel alive with all the beautiful things like their street food and such classic restaurants then this is definitely a place you should keep on your wishlist!
Location: Satviklife Moments Mall, SCO-19, First floor, City Centre, SEC- 29 Market, Block K, Kirti Nagar, Gurugram
Price range: Rs 450 for two people (approx.)
6. Punjab Grill, Aerocity
Beware! This one is hot! The Punjab Grill restaurant offers flavours that will set your taste buds on fire. Offering the real taste of Punjab they have dishes that are served spicy and hot. Specialising in the veg and non-veg range of kebabs straight from the main grill they also offer a range of exotic dishes like tandoori broccoli, achari fish kebab, and chicken malai tikka to name a few.
Not just food, the ambience also effortlessly blends old-world charm with a modern twist, featuring magnificent traditional chandeliers, graceful wall mirrors, and portraits of esteemed Sikh personalities adorning the walls.
Location: Shop 3, Worldmark 1, Aerocity Access Rd, Aerocity, New Delhi
Price range: Rs 2,500 for two people (approx.)
7. Rajinder Da Dhaba
Having been around for more than 30 years now, this iconic restaurant has managed to consistently maintain its rich flavours with its regular specialities from the murg malai tikka to the saucy satay chicken. If you want that authentic Delhi-6 vibe but with a Punjabi fusion, this is the place for you. The seating arrangement or the ambience might not be top-notch here but the food definitely is.
Location: AB-14B, Nauroji Nagar Marg, opposite Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi
Price range: Rs 600 for two people (approx.)
8. Dhaba by Claridges
Remember all those roadside dhabas with buttery paranthas and chole bhature as pit stops on your long drive journeys? This is the ‘same same yet different’ version of all those memories. This restaurant seamlessly creates a highway side scene with copper kettles, bright lights, kitschy decor, vintage roof with chandeliers made of mud pots and going as far as having an actual colourful truck. Now, about food, try their famous balti meat, kanastree baingan, dal makhani and for all those years you’ve hated bottle gourd, try their ghiya ka paan and I assure you, you’ll have a new profound respect for it.
Although on a higher end in terms of pricing, the food and ambience will make it all worth it.
Location: The Claridges, 12, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Rd, Tees January Road Area, Motilal Nehru Marg Area, Delhi, New Delhi
Price range: Rs 5,500 for two people (approx.)