Well, the disclaimer first. This is not an exhaustive list, since we have never been in Kochi long enough to dine at every good restaurant. But should you be there for a day or two, this list will certainly help you make up your mind if you too are a local food lover like us.
Saravana Bhavan for Breakfast: This is a no-brainer really. Give up your 5-star buffet breakfast for a simple idli-dosa-vada breakfast in any of the Saravana chains that are Kochi. We chose the one near our hotel Marriot in Edappally.
Fort House Restaurant in Fort Kochi: This is part of a family owned hotel in Fort Kochi and is famous for its seafood and hospitality. We went there for lunch and had a table right next to the lake, with ships and steamers sailing by while we ate. Order their specialities — Pepper Garlic Calamari and Prawn Kerala Fry for starters and Kerala Paranthas with Fish Kerala Curry. The whole experience, the excellent food, fresh fishes and the local ingredients, makes dining there a delight!
Cassava at Kochi Marriott: Well, it lives up to its reputation of being the best restaurant in Kochi for its service, hospitality and brilliant food. Being Marriott, Cassava is not really cheap, but then, the whole experience is completely worth it. There is a choice of fresh seafood, catch of the day, which the Chef will cook in the style you want. We’d recommend you to stay local – why else go to Kerala??!
They serve you a complimentary starter while you wait for your food to get ready. Unique and a Kerala speciality, the crushed Tapioca ‘Kappa Papadam Pidi’ was something we had never had before. We gorged on it and thanked them for introducting it to us! Once again, for the main course we stayed with Kerala cuisine, and feasted on steamed rice with Kerala Lamb Curry and Kerala Parantha and Idli-appam with Kerala-style Prawn Fry. Both items brilliant, with subtle but distinct flavors, as we said, we feasted, despite not being very hungry! The Chef also dropped in at the table to discuss the items and had a friendly chat with our 8 yr old.
Kayees Biryani in Pallimukku: Being biryani freaks, we could not do without tasting the special Kerala style mutton biryani which is their trademark. It gets over within hours so if you are going for lunch, be there real early or you will not get the same for sure. Its no frill, low priced – but great on flavor and taste. A must have …
Trident Hotel at Wellington Island: Trident Hotel at Wellington Island in Cochin is located in an isolated stretch of the city about 4-5 Kms away from the hustle and bustle of Kochi main city. The drive to the hotel can turn you off (it did to me), as the only thing you see for more than 15 minutes are scores of container trucks, petrol carriers and construction equipment. Being away from any kind of restaurant or sightseeing area, there is absolutely no place to walk, whether at the waterfront or elsewhere. Difficult, if you want to catch up with a little sight-seeing or eating local food or checking out local markets, as I usually like to do after the day’s schedules of meetings and calls are over.
Whatever be the shortcomings Trident has in terms of location, it more than makes up by offering the best personalized and warm service. Their staff can teach others a thing or two about hospitality. And their morning breakfast is to die for!! Other than the standard items, you could order 5-6 items off a special menu. Here’s a piece of advice though — please do not fill up your stomach with the usual breads and fried stuff. Instead, go in for their traditional Appam with Veg/Chicken Stew. It is absolutely awesome — mild-flavoured, easy on the stomach, what the locals have and just the right thing to get you started on a happy note for the day!
P.S: Need help to plan a roadtrip in Kerala? Read this post for itinerary, food and shopping tips — A Kerala Roadtrip to Discover God’s Own Country