A trip to Amritsar cannot be complete without an elaborate ‘food’ plan, no? We did our homework on the best places to eat in Amritsar, the best kulchas, Amritsari fish, Tandoori Chicken et all….and could manage to squeeze quite a bit, although nowhere close to all that there is to offer….
Here’s an account of our gastronomic experience in Amritsar…
Kulchas: Kulchas are a big specialty in Amritsar. Which is why the entire phrase – Amritsari Kulcha! The Kulchas are deep fried to a crispiness that makes the eating with ‘Chola’ that extra special. And so it was Kulchas for breakfast on both mornings we stayed in Amritsar — The best experience was at ‘All India Famous’ at Maqbool Road. The long line of cars waiting on the kerb vouches for its popularity. The making of the Kulchas is as amazing as having it — once out of the tandoor, an old gentlemen, with his hands sunk in a large bowl of butter, doing away with any kind of etiquette, dabs handful of the butter over the Kulchas. That quantity of butter in one Kulcha can give a weak-hearted a terrible shock! The taste, needless to mention, is one of the best you will ever get. The Chana here though, isn’t great at all.
The next best we had was as ‘Kulchaland’ at Ranjit Nagar. We had been given a mix feedback. But to be honest, we found it the best overall. The Kulchas were small and really crispy with perfect filling. The best was the chana served with it which was really tasty.
We missed Monu Kulcha which is supposed to be the best as they had still not opened at 9am when we reached there. With that, we realized that even though it is for breakfast, all restaurants in Amritsar open only after 10 am.
Non-Veg Delicacies — Tandoori Chicken, Amritsari Fish: The prize goes to Beera Chicken for the most amazing Chicken Roast in town — juicy, fresh off the oven and simply brilliant. We ended up ordering a second helping. The Amritsari Fish was one of the best we have had, though what turned us off a little was the tartare sauce it was served with.
Next in line is Mama Meat Shop at Maqbool road. It, by far, has the best Bheja Fry! The rarest I have had in ages. One look at the restaurant though, and most people, in all likelihood, will give it a miss – hygiene doesn’t figure in their priority list. Avoid the anguish by taking your food to the car. The slow-cooked Bheja Fry melts in the mouth. All it requires is a little mutton curry in it! Tasted the Mutton Tikka along with it — was good, but not great. The ‘All India Famous’ Kulcha shop is right next door and it makes sense to hop shops if in a big group.
We missed the Parkash Meat Shop at Maqbool Road, opposite Mama, since there was no room in our stomachs! Famous for its gravies, a roadside dhaba once again – best had in the car or take away.
Veg Thalis: Kesar Da Dhaba wins hands down! The iconic dhaba is a few minutes off the Golden Temple and is almost as important a place of visit. Like all other places in Amritsar, hygiene is not a criteria for anyone here too, but fast-turned over food more than makes up for the lack of basic amenities and hygiene. Order the Thali, and the Dal and Palak Paneer is one of the greasiest and tastiest you will ever have. You share tables and don’t have any privacy but nobody cares. Food is definitely not cheap here but every item dripping in ghee gives the feeling that they are not cutting any corners. We had double serving of Phirni here. A must visit for everyone who is planning a trip there but skip a meal before going there to do justice.
We went to Balawan da Dhaba (near Partition Museum) too, but the food there isn’t much to write home about. Skip it.
Sweets/Desserts: Bansal Sweets at Lawrence Road offers a wide variety of choices for the sweet tooth, and what’s more, their service is excellent!
( Plan your Amritsar trip with the help of our suggestions and recommendations on itinerary, the best shopping localities — read — A Weekend Trip to Amritsar, the Holy City)