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10 of The Most Famous Indian Eateries That Are Still Flourishing Since India's Pre-Independence Era

This Republic Day experience a trip down memory lane at India's nostalgic restaurants!

25 Jan, 2024 by Reeth Naomi Puri

This Republic Day experience a trip down memory lane at India's nostalgic restaurants!

While India's culinary scene continues to thrive and make waves on the global dining map, there are a handful of restaurants that have withstood the test of time and have been around since the pre-independence era. These historic establishments are like pages ripped straight out of a captivating history book. With utmost dedication, they have preserved the flavors of yesteryears by meticulously following and preserving their age-old recipes, each with its own rich legacy. This Republic Day, embark on a nostalgic journey and treat yourself to a meal at these iconic eateries scattered across India.

Flurys, Park Street Area, Kolkata

Though it was established in 1927 by a Swiss couple named Joseph and Frieda Flury, you wouldn't guess Fury’s age by looking at the beautiful ambiance and the delectable treats it offers - from plum cakes and rum balls to flaky patties and more. These mouth-watering delicacies ensure that there is always a winding queue outside its doors, especially on weekends and during Christmas. Located in the vibrant heart of the city, Park Street, Flurys holds a special place in the hearts of every Kolkatan and is known as one of the best restaurants in Kolkata.

Must-haves: Cheese Patties, Chicken Mustard Sandwich, White Chocolate and Cranberry Brownie, Rum & Raisin Cake

Cost for two: ₹ 400

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United Coffee House, Connaught Place (CP), Central Delhi

Founded in 1942, United Coffee House emerged as one of the initial eateries to introduce high-quality dining experiences in the capital city and today is hands down one of the best restaurants in Delhi. Preserving its nostalgic ambiance from the pre-independence era, this cozy and inviting restaurant is nestled in Connaught Place and frequented by diplomats, businessmen, and tourists alike. United Coffee House is not just a coffee joint, but also a sophisticated, eatery that offers a diverse range of delectable dishes including classic continental delicacies, Mediterranean cuisine, and beloved Indian dishes.

Must-haves: Railway Mutton Curry, Keema Samosa, Mushroom Stroganoff, Chicken Ala Kiev, Tomato Fish

Cost for two: ₹ 2100

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Tunday Kababi, Aminabad, Lucknow

This renowned restaurant, founded by the esteemed Haji Murad Ali back in 1905, continues to captivate food enthusiasts with its mouthwatering and irresistible kababs that are simply unparalleled. Whether you visit the original location in the charming Phool Wali Galli in Chowk, old Lucknow, or one of its numerous franchises scattered across the country, be prepared to savor a plateful of kebabs that will leave an indelible mark on your taste buds.

Must-haves: Tunday galawati kebab, Mutton korma, Chicken kali mirch, Mutton boti kebab, Sheermal

Cost for two: ₹ 400

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Dorabjee & Sons, Camp Area, Pune

Established in 1878 by Dorabjee Sorabjee, this humble tea stall has transformed into a renowned Parsi restaurant. Despite its expansion, the restaurant has managed to maintain its vintage charm with a simple and minimalistic interior. Amongst the best restaurants in Pune, located in a cozy corner of Pune Cantonment, it is the perfect spot for a delightful dinner with loved ones. The mouthwatering Parsi delicacies such as Dhansak, Patra Fish, and Chicken Salli are freshly prepared and served piping hot, leaving you craving more.

Must-haves: Mutton Curry with Rice, Mutton Kheema, Farcha Chicken Fried in Eggs, Dhansak Dal, Chicken Dum Biryani, Chicken Cutlet with Gravy

Cost for two: ₹ 600

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Nizam's, New Market Area, Kolkata

Raza Hassan Saheb established Nizam's Restaurant in Kolkata back in 1932. This iconic eatery is renowned for introducing the first kathi rolls in the city. In 1964, the restaurant replaced iron skewers with bamboo sticks to grill the kebabs, hence the name "Kathi" was added. Even today, Nizam's continues to be a prominent name in Kolkata, and no trip to the city is complete without savoring their famous kathi rolls from the pre-independence era.

Must-haves: Khiri Roll, Chicken Kathi Roll, Mutton Kathi Roll, Murgh Kathi Kabab, Mutton Seekh Kabab, Mutton Rezala

Cost for two: ₹ 500

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New Market Area, Kolkata
600 for two approx

Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR), Basavanagudi, South Bengaluru

Renowned as the city's oldest idli dosa restaurant, Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) is one of the best restaurants in Bangalore to savor authentic Udupi cuisine. Founded in 1924 by Parameshwara Maiya and his brother Ganappayya Maiya, this humble eatery quickly gained fame. During World War II, when rice was scarce, MTR ingeniously created the delectable Rava idli. Even during the temporary closure of the restaurant in the 1970s due to a state of emergency, MTR introduced a fascinating alternative by offering ready-to-make mixes for idli and dosa. It was from this very establishment that the brand MTR Foods originated.

Must-haves: Bisibille Bhaat, Rava Idli, Set Kaali Dosa, Pudi Dosa, Vada

Cost for two: ₹ 250

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Britannia & Company Restaurant, Fort, South Mumbai

The best restaurant in Mumbai to sample authentic Parsi food Britannia has managed to maintain its original charm and warmth since it first opened its doors to British officers stationed in the area. It even boasts the original Brentwood furniture from Poland, imported by the previous generation. In a city where authentic Iranian restaurants are becoming scarce, Britannia stands strong, thanks to its simple yet incredibly delicious Iranian and Parsi cuisine.

Must-haves: Bombay Duck Fry, Mutton Sali Keema, Mutton Dhansak, Chicken Berry Pulao, Veg Pattice, Caramel Custard

Cost for two: ₹ 1000

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Karim's, Jama Masjid, Old Delhi

In 1913, Haji Kareemuddin laid the foundation of Karim's, which has since become renowned for its mouthwatering Mughlai dishes in India. While numerous luxurious establishments have presented the emperors' cuisine, Karim's stands out with its delectable Nihari, cooked overnight for a delightful breakfast, the incredibly flavorful Badam Pasanda, Paya, and the succulent Chicken Jehangiri. Originally a humble eatery in Galli Kababian, Jama Masjid, Karim's has now expanded to multiple locations, yet it remains a favorite among food enthusiasts.

Must-haves: Tandoori Chicken, Mutton Burra, Chicken Boti Roll, Mutton Shami Kabab, Badam Pasanda

Cost for two: ₹ 1600

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Rayar's Mess, Mylapore, Chennai

If you're craving fluffy idlis and hot crispy vadas, make sure to check out Rayar's Mess in Mylapore. Founded by Srinivasa Rao in the 1940s, this charming little eatery captures the essence of the pre-independence era and is tucked away in a cozy corner of Mylapore. Not only is it renowned for its delicious South Indian cuisine that has been satisfying taste buds for decades, but it also prides itself on its impeccable cleanliness and prompt service.

Must-haves: Rava onion dosa, Mysore Bonda, idli, vada, Pongal

Cost for two: ₹ 200

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Leopold Cafe & Bar, Colaba, South Mumbai

One of the best restaurants in Mumbai, Leopold’s was established just after the 1857 mutiny and till today continues to thrive. It serves mouthwatering food and offers a cozy ambiance that encourages long conversations among friends. Located in the vibrant Colaba neighborhood of Mumbai, it has become an iconic destination that cannot be missed during a visit to the city.

Must-haves: Leos Special Chicken Soup, Reshmi Kebab, Crispy Chicken, Laccho Fish, Chicken Tikka Masala, Jhingha Tawa Masala

Cost for two: ₹ 2500

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Conceptualizer, Ex Chef, Photo Blogger, Coffee Fanatic, Book Worm, Dog Mom and most importantly a Food and Travel Writer.

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