Best of all, it is the regional Bengali cuisine that is served up at most of Kolkata's à la carte restaurants and the staple Bengali dish, the kati roll, is said to have been developed and perfected in the kitchens here. Out on the busy Kolkata streets, the kati roll is greased up with egg and butter and served with pride by hawkers.
Seafood, fish especially, is the mainstay of Kolkata eating and the hilsa, which is fish marinated in mustard, is emulated with varying degrees of success by chefs in New York, London and Paris. Dining out in Kolkata can be a regal Raj experience, or a friendly affair in a large hall filled with sounds of the ubiquitous Bengali chit-chat.
The food options of gigantic Kolkata are contained as much as they can be in Esplanade, which offers Indian, Chinese, Italian restaurants as well as steaming hawker stands and British tea rooms. There's even a Swiss restaurant, Curd Corner, where homesick central Europeans can devour melted chocolates and yoghurts.
Modern Kolkata eats on the run here, with all major restaurants running busy home delivery options and outlets of Oh! Calcutta occupying spaces at the food courts of malls such as the Forum and SouthCityMall, India's largest. The Raj restaurant is typical of the cheaper places that serve delicious food from all over India as well as renting rooms upstairs.
Park Street is Kolkata's ritzy boulevard and many of the big names in town have their original—in some cases only—outlets here. Flurys is at 18 Park Street, across the road from Kwality and its roaring tandoor. Outdoor restaurants facing the park are a real treat on a cool night.