Putucceri, Puducherry or just plain Pondi…call it whatever you want, each name conjures up a picture of an exotic little corner of India everyone’s heard of, but few have planned a trip to.

You might’ve seen it in the opening sequence of Ang Li’s ‘Life of Pi’ though, and Pondicherry is every bit as charming and tranquil as depicted. Tree-lined boulevards, a beautiful promenade by the sea, colorful villas and a little dash of France in everything…Right from the architecture to the language to its Ville Blanche and its food, Pondicherry is a relaxed Gaelic vignette in the permanent rush hour that’s India.

Between 1674, when the French set up a trading outpost here, and 1947, when India became independent, Pondicherry was tossed around a lot between the East India Company of the French, Dutch and the British. All of them left, but France didn’t really go away. Today, this city’s culture bears testimony to its French past, especially so in its lip-smacking cuisine which is an eclectic mix of local and European tastes.

So pack your bags, look through all the hotels in Pondicherry, book one and read on to find out the 10 best restaurants in town to fuel your trip:

 

  1. Café dés Arts

Café dés Arts | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Café dés Arts | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

They got a rickshaw right on their front lawn! And nice, cosy chairs, a true blue boho ambience (and the décor), a tiny but interesting library and some fantastic French food (the traditional French cupcakes are a must) are its major highlights. Go for brunch or to catch up with friends or just sit quietly and enjoy a book. And, don’t forget to visit their in-house stores stocked with some awesome merchandise. One of the best French restaurants in Pondicherry, it serves all the classics from the country like croissant, baguette, ratatouille, croques, tartines and crepes.

 

Where: Suffren Street, White Town

Cuisine: Indian, French

Timings: 8:30 am to 7:00 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Cost for Two: ₹ 800

  1. Le Rendezvous

Le Rendezvous | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Le Rendezvous | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

This really is a place for a rendezvous with cool, unhurried ambience and many choices for food. The toast of the town, the café-restaurant is the dream project of ex-Taj chef Vincent Mathias. Run by his wife and daughter after his sad passing, Rendezvous was designed to be a place, where people could just come and meet friends and family over relaxed, delicious meals. Go for the ambience, Jamaican Mojito, all kinds of seafood and the fabulous live music.

Where: Rue Suffren Street, White Town

Cuisine: French, Creole

Timings: 12:00 pm to 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Cost for Two: ₹ 1200

  1. Surguru

Surguru | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Surguru | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

While in India’s very own French Riviera, visit Surguru restaurant, Pondicherry’s culinary jewel and a major landmark. Serving mouth-watering South Indian fare, Surguru is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Pondicherry. A must-dine-at place in Pondicherry, Surguru is quick and efficient, value for money and offers a great experience.

Where: MG Road, Heritage Town, White Town and Ellaipillaichavady

Cuisine: South Indian, North Indian

Timings: 6:30 am to 11:00 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 400

  1. Domus

Domus | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Domus | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

Domus is perfect for that one laid-back day away from all the sightseeing you have done on your vacation. And it’s all-veg, so you could bundle it up with your mid-vacation cleanse day. But, the food is so delicious you’d probably end up eating more – BYOS (Build Your Own Sandwich), European salad ‘thalis’ (on actual stainless steel plates) and smoothies…a perfect courtyard café, Domus is the place you want to be at on the designated day for doing nothing.

Where: Rue Suffren Street, White Town

Cuisines: French, European

Timings: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 300

  1. Satsanga

Satsanga | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Satsanga | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

Satsanga grows their own veggies and ensures your prawns (and other seafood) are completely sea-to-the-table.  And they take really good care of you. And that makes it one of the best restaurants in Pondicherry. Remember to try ginger and honey prawns, and the famous ratatouille. Linger on in the courtyard garden and you’ll be all fuelled up for the next day’s sightseeing.

Where: La Bourdonnais Street, White Town

Cuisine: French, Indian and Italian

Timings: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 1000

  1. Restaurant Chez Francis

Restaurant Chez Francis | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Restaurant Chez Francis | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

Housed in an old French colonial-style building dating back to the 1760s, Restaurant Chez Francis is considered one of the best restaurants in Pondicherry. Among the most exotic places you’ll encounter in Pondicherry, the restaurant serves some excellent Creole prawn curry. Dinner is served in a candle-lit hall that doubles up as a buffet place by day; the ambience is peaceful and romantic. So, when in Pondy, take your dinner date to Chez Francis for a great evening.

Where: Rue Romain Rolland Street, White Town

Cuisine: French, Creole, Indian

Timings: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 2000

  1. Maison Perumal

Maison Perumal | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Maison Perumal | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

A 130-year-old Chettiar mansion turned into a boutique hotel, Maison Perumal is a vibrant amalgam of the vernacular and colonial styles of architecture. The vibrancy shows up in the food it serves too. Vazhapoo Vada (made from banana flowers), seafood dishes like Sutta Era (tiger prawns) and the best Creole (French-Tamil) Thali you can find in Pondicherry…the menu is led by what’s available in the market on that day and is infused with local flavours and ingredients. This is a definitive Pondicherry experience and you mustn’t miss it.

Where: Perumal Koil Street, Heritage Town

Cuisine: Creole, Chettinad

Timings: 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 900

  1. Kasha Ki Aasha

Kasha Ki Aasha | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Kasha Ki Aasha | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

Kasha Ki Aasha is an experience in itself. For starters, it’s run by an all-girl crew, who’ll make you awesome lunches and cakes to enjoy under shady trees, lounging on comfy chairs. Then, it’s also a boutique that sells all things, handmade – home accessories, personal care products and clothes. Finally, it’s got that scrumptious organic coffee that can put a Band-Aid on the worst of days – not that you’d have one of those on a vacation in Pondy!

Where: Rue Surcouf Street, White Town

Cuisine: European, Fusion, Indian

Timings: 9:00 am to 11:00 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 700

  1. Bay of Buddha

Bay of Buddha | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Bay of Buddha |  # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

One of the best non-veg restaurants in Pondicherry, Bay of Buddha offers fragrant Asian dishes. A rooftop restaurant with beautiful views of the Bay of Bengal, this elegant eatery also offers great vegetarian options. But for those who are in love with the fruits of the sea, there are prawn crackers, Thai-banana leaf-wrapped snappers and much more. This al-fresco bar close to Promenade Beach is a must-visit in Pondicherry, even if you’re only there on a short sojourn.

Where: Goubert Avenue, White Town

Cuisine: Pan Asian

Timings: 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 1500

  1. Gelateria Montecatini Terme

Gelateria Montecatini Terme | best restaurants in Pondicherry

Gelateria Montecatini Terme | # Among the best restaurants in Pondicherry (img source:shutterstock.com)

Want a little bit of Italy in French Pondy? Head to Gelateria Montecatini Terme for some gooey, swirly, jewel-hued gelato made the old-fashioned way. Only fresh fruits and milk, no preservatives. You can find gelato at a lot of good restaurants in Pondicherry, but GMT (as it is popularly known) does it the best. Try their single flavour gelatos like caramel, vanilla or hazelnut or the tropical delight made up of pineapple, jackfruit and guava. Or die with happiness with the decadent custard cream gelato. Can you picture yourself walking down the promenade, gelato in hand, and wind in your hair? Us too!

Where: Goubert Avenue, White Town

Cuisine: Desserts

Timings: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

Cost for Two: ₹ 150

Like our list? Add to it some of your own favourites or places you discovered in Pondicherry. Tell us in the comments below if you’ve visited any of the restaurants on our list and what your experience was like. We’re sure it would be superb!