Food: Lucknow – Our top 6 food experiences

After an exciting, colourful, historical, meeting with friends and a culinary trip to Jaipur, the family ‘caravan’ moved on to Lucknow – a destination chosen only and only to do a food trail! Lucknow is more of a non-vegetarian food haven and while on-ground locals are loud, opinionated and brash (the taxi drivers of Jaipur & Lucknow made a stark contrast), it’s mystifying those mannerisms come off such exquisite taste, tongue lingering, strong fragrance and high-quality food. Here are six of our best food experiences at this city of nawabs.

1. Dastarkhaawn

The Dastarkhwan kebab platter with Kakori Kebabs, Galauti Kebabs, Seekh Kebabs and one boti curry has to be the best single dish we ordered at Lucknow. I just wish the spice level was slightly lower for kids to enjoy more. This is a must try item at Lucknow. Must -Must.

The kebab platter at Dastarkhwan
Only at Indian restaurants, globally, do they auto serve onion slices, lemon pieces, chilli and coriander mix for free under the label ‘salad’.

2. Moti Mahal

I start with desserts and standing outside this tiny snack eatery we had our share of unforgettable desserts. No matter wherever we went to have our meals, we came back to eat desserts here. My son Ishav Das, like me has a sweet tooth – he freaked out at this place. That the location was next to our hotel of stay, also helped.

Kaale Gajar ka halwa is made of natural black carrots!
Rasmalai
Chena Kheer
Rabri – possibly the best rabri we ever had
Makkhan Malai – a dish very unique to this city and am guessing not found anywhere else in the world.

3. Sepia at Hotel Renaissance

Sepia is an extremely classy dining place overlooking the city of Lucknow. Dining here at night with live music has its charm. Our hosts, Lata and Anurag Rastogi, got an array of dishes for us but the two dishes which am unlikely to forget is Warqi Paratha and Lagaan ki Boti.

Warqi Paratha is one of its kind and I don’t recall seeing any stuffed paratha served in this manner anywhere else. Must try.
Lagaan ki Boti was a lot of small cubes mutton curry served over a patty like crust. It was yummy to the core.

4. Idrees Dhaba

Idrees dhaba is not for the faint-hearted. A tiny dingy untidy joint that even backpackers will struggle to enter. Yet it possibly serves the best yakhni pulao and mutton biriyani you would have ever eaten. The biriyanis we ate elsewhere paled in shadow on Idrees Dhaaba.

Idrees Dhaba is best for takeaway – and I suggest you only parcel it and dare not enter.
Dingy, tiny, stuffy, hot, over-crowded and no place to even stand at ease. People brushing each other, but hey it’s for the food!
They pack biriyani in sweet boxes!!
The best biriyani we had at Lucknow, just melts in the mouth.

5. Levana Hotel

The hotel breakfast buffet was impressive and it did give us some unique dishes. Achari Idli is one I wouldn’t forget soon.

Achari Idli is pickles stuffed in Idlis!

6. Mubeen’s (multiple dishes)

Mubeen’s is another tiny dingy untidy joint but hey a member of legislative assembly and cops were around eating at the same place, so must be good!
Sheermal & Mutton Pasanda go very well

Since we stayed for only 48hrs (read: only 6 meals), there were many places we could not cover. So here’s list of what we could not cover and yet recommend to you:

  • Basket Chat at Royal cafe
  • Kachoris at Net Ram Ajay Kumar Mithai, Aminabad
  • Sheermaal and Mutton Gilawati Kebabs at Tunde Kebab, Aminabad
  • Biriyani at Lalla Biriyani
  • Gulabi Chai at Nakkhas market
  • Kulfi at Prakash Kulfi, Aminabad

Credits: People who guided or took me to the above eateries and experiences – Devdeep Sarkar, Anurag Rastogi, Lata Rastogi, Atul Mohan Srivastava.

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