“Calcutta is not for everyone. You want your city clean and green, stick to Delhi. You want your city rich and impersonal, go to Bombay. You want them hi-tech and full of draught beer, Bangalore’s your place. But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta”
Kolkata (or Calcutta), the city that is infused with a culture so unique and alluring that once you step in the city you’d never want to come back. Out of the several aspects of magic that the city manages to weave on everybody, food happens to be the strongest. When you are in the City of Joy, you know you can never go out of options. After you are done with strolling around the city seeping in its beauty and cultural heritage or perhaps drooling over roshogullas at K.C.Das and puchkas at Vivekananda Park, head to the hidden food gems the city boasts of.
1. Breakfast just got sorted at Shree Hari’s Mishthana Bhandar
Located at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road in South Kolkata, Shree Hari’s Mishthana Bhandar should not be mistaken as just any other sweet shop. Not an urban decor to get excited about but definitely, a place that will take you to olden times. Kalojam (or Gulab Jamun), Danadar, and biggest ever Langcha, all available at pocket-friendly prices and a taste to die for. And that is not all, the place serves an ideal breakfast comprising kachuri and halwa. Be there before time as it finishes off in seconds.
- Speciality: Langcha
- Address: 35AB, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road, Near ICICI Bank ATM, Bhawanipur, South, Kolkata
2. Enjoy melt-in-your-mouth Sandesh at Vien
Got a sweet tooth? This is the place you must be heading to. The city may be cluttered with several sweet shops serving sandesh but this is the one that just raises the bar. Also, when you are here, your breakfast just gets sorted. Yes, their Luchi Cholar Dal is to die for. So what is cholar daal? It is what dal makhani is to Punjabis. Luchi cholar dal is basically Bengali style chana dal, a fixed item on the menu in feasts and celebrations and is mostly paired with kachuri (or kachori) or luchi (softer version of poori). Slurping already?
- Speciality: Luchi Cholar Dal, Sandesh
- Address: 34B, Theatre Road, Kolkata; 5, Maharaja Nanda Kumar Road, Desapriya Park, Kolkata
3. Walk down the memory lane at the legendary Mitra Cafe
Located in Sobha Bazaar just outside the metro station, Mitra Cafe came into being back in 1920 and since then it has served one and all including the legends of Indian cinema – Satyajit Ray, Uttam Kumar, Anjan Dutta and the list goes on. The legendary food has been passed on from generations and the whole journey can be watched on the screens installed in the cafe’s premises. When you are here, your first pick has to be Fish Kabiraji. If you are not too much into fish, go for mutton kabiraji or chicken kabiraji. A heritage dish, it just can’t be given a miss. Have it with white kasundi (white sauce). As per locals, this place has the best kasundi in town. Other dishes to try here include vegetable chop, prawn afghani, and fish fry.
- Speciality: Chicken/Mutton/Fish Kabiraji
- Address: 47, Jatindra Avenue, Shobha Bazar, Kolkata
4. Savour the best fish fry at Fish Fish
As the name suggests, the place serves all varieties of fish and seafood. A small and cosy restaurant that stays put to its core. No mutton or chicken. The place, for sure, has a catchy name and is a wonderful choice for people who are into fish. Apart from all Bengali preparations, the menu has some of the far east dishes you may not find in a usual restaurant. The place is specifically known for its staff and services, infact if you are lucky, they will ask you to choose your lobster from the collection of their uncooked ones and will serve you as per your wish. Chital Maccher Seekh Kebab, Fish Curry, seafood platter – your must haves at Fish Fish.
- Speciality: Fish Curry
- Address: 13/5, Swinhoe Lane,Near ITI College, Ballygunge, Kolkata
5. Relish the ever popular pan-fried momos at the Sikkim House
In order to take a shift from Bengali cuisine, The Blue Poppy Restaurant, Sikkim House is your ultimate destination. Your visit to Calcutta is incomplete without tasting food here. Light on pocket (~450 for two people), high on taste, Sikkim House serves authentic Tibetan and Chinese cuisine. Pan fried momos, pork satay and Nepali Thali are two items highly popular among the locals. Go there with a big appetite because the place has several dishes to satiate your taste buds. Also, remember to carry cash with you, cards are not accepted here.
- Speciality: Pan-fried momos, Pork Kothay
- Address: 1st Floor, Sikkim House, 4/1, Middleton Row, Russel Street, Kolkata
Kolkata gives you countless reasons to take a trip. The variety of experiences that the city offers, the lip-smacking food, the intellectual and beautiful crowd or just the bylanes of the city that speak volumes of its glory, Kolkata is the destination where India and England collide in the most elegant way. Take a chaotic and challenging food trail of the City of Joy via the list of these hidden food gems in Kolkata. Go on, book your tickets, Calcutta is calling you.