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.
Kolkata restaurants Oh! Calcutta
Lala Lajpat Rai Sarani
Phone: +91 33 22837164
Bengali cuisine that includes dishes pulled from the dusty cookbooks of grandmothers as well as cutting edge fusion dining, presented in a Kolkata club atmosphere. The prawn curry and Lucknow biryani are house specialties and there are three outlets in town. Flurys
18 Park Street
Phone: +91 22 2229 7664
Legendary tea room built in 1927 by Mr and Mrs Flurys, who wanted to bring British and continental tea and dainty culture to Kolkata. They were very successful since their tea room is as popular today as it ever has been, with Swiss chocolates and rice puddings a deliciously incongruous answer to a piping hot Kolkata afternoon. Nizams
23/24 Hogg Street
Phone: +91 33 2216 7517
Established in 1932 and credited with the perfection of the Bengali signature dish, the kati
roll, Nizams keeps rolling out the good stuff with the freshest ingredients and hottest onions and chillis coating their katis
. Checkered tablecloths and private tables hidden behind curtains add a sublimely cartoonish allure.
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