A number of recent trips to Ahmedabad and as many sorties to its restaurants that ‘serve the best Thali’ has prompted me to take up the task of listing down my favourite Thali joints in Ahmedabad. But hey! Recommending the best thali in Ahmedabad is not an easy task, and certainly not the job of the chicken-hearted. For, emotions run high in this land of the Gujaratis. But then, such is my romance with the dish that I, a ‘pure non vegetarian’, have been swept off my feet by the pure-veg offerings of this land! Now, with almost every street dishing out the delectable all vegetarian Gujarati Thali and claiming supremacy over the ‘plate’ of contention, my task gets that much tougher.
Toran : My favourite, right opposite Income Tax office on Ashram road. The food is low on oil and is the tastiest. The items they serve are slightly limited compared to some of the larger counterparts in other parts of the city, but this restaurant is one of the oldest. There is a small courtyard outside where you will almost compulsorily have to wait because of the crazy rush at peak hours. But take heart, the restaurant has air conditioning and their service is excellent.
Agashiye: The House of MG: The fanciest of them all and again a must visit for all tourists. Located in the old part of the city in a heritage hotel, Agashiye is a different and an exclusive experience. The hotel is simply amazing – one of the oldest havelis belonging to a certain Chimanbhai Patel. Gandhiji is supposed to have lived here when he came back to India. Food, here, is very expensive – the Thaali is a whopping 1,000 rupees per person! The food is good, not excellent mind you, but the ambience and service more than makes it up for the no-so-great tasting food. What appeals most is the open air seating and the serving of snacks at the annexe. The staff is very friendly and will gladly show you around the place. Make sure you take a spin, for, it’s worth it!
Gordhan Thaal at Satelite: Have figured that Gordhan Thaal is a favourite with most Ahmedabadis, but I find the food to be extremely oily and rich here. The food however is nice, but being high on spice and oil, you feel horribly bloated really quick. But the biggest plus point is, you get by far the best aamras here during the Mango season. The Chaas (a light drink made with curd) is excellent as well, and so is their deserts. As I said, Gordhan Thaal is a popular place, and very popular with tourists and office crowd too. Must eat here if in Ahmedabad for the first time, but remember I have warned you about the oil…
Swati Snacks: Swati Snacks is probably Ahmedabad’s Thaali Mecca! That’s what the Ahmedabadis swear by. Be ready to wait for at least 30 mins if you want to eat here, such is the popularity! Divided into the regular restaurant and a fine dining place upstairs, Locals claims that the ‘real’ experience is eating at the regular restaurant and NOT the fine dining place in the first floor. The snacks are to die for here, but, hold your breath, I found the Thaali to be very disappointing. It is the most expensive compared to other restaurants and sadly, is very limited in choice and gives fixed quantity with only 2 dishes in mains. This, when most Thaali joints spoil you with refills as if you have met a relation after a long long time. Food at the Swati Snacks is excellent in taste, but the lack of options makes it one of the most disappointing experiences. Would recommend only for snacks and not Thaali at all.
Have I missed out on any Thali-joint in Ahmedabad that you consider iconic? Write to me, and I shall visit them the next time i go to the city…