The world at your doorstep

Where do you go to taste the finest international cuisine in India? Read on.

Deepti Khanna Bose and Rahul Sachitanand         Print Edition: April 20, 2008

Where do you go to taste the finest international cuisine in India? Read on.

Thai Pavilion, Mumbai


Why it’s the best: At Thai Pavilion, imaginative cuisine and soothing décor combine to create a memorable dining experience. From designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu’s décor to the little white pill that magically grows into a refreshing towel when they pour water over it, you will love it here.

Thai Pavilion, Mumbai
Thai Pavilion, Mumbai
Thai cuisine goes from pedestrian to royal here, with authentic ingredients, complex flavours and harmony in the various dishes that make the meal not just nourishing for the body, but also for the soul.

Try the Tom Yam Koong (prawn soup) or the Kaeng Kari Kai (chicken curry). If you love vegeterian food, go for the vegetable soufflé with Lotus Roots or Raw Mango Salad with Water Chestnuts.

Where: The Taj President, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai
Open: 12 noon to midnight
Contact: 022-66650808
Meal for two: Rs 3,000
Signature dishes: Pla Rad Prik and Kaeng Kari Kai

Wasabi, Mumbai


Why it’s the best: At The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower overlooking the Gateway of India is Wasabi, arguably India’s best Japanese fine dining restaurant. An innovatively designed sushi counter, a Teppanyaki corner and high stools with relaxed seatings are its USP. The fare here is authentic.

Wasabi, Mumbai
Wasabi, Mumbai
Cold appetisers like Ae Mono (chilled vegetable salad), Toro Tartare (caviar and fresh Wasabi, the spicy-pungent green mustard dip), hot appetisers like Rock Shrimp Tempura and Yose Dofu (fresh Tofu); and panroasted wild salmon for the entrees will tempt you for sure.

Wasabi specialises in great vegetarian fare like Goma Ae (asparagus with sesame sauce), Sukui Dofu (house-made silken Tofu), among other items. Try its spicy tuna, soft-shell crab and the vegetable combo. It’s sheer bliss, paired with a fine Barbaresco D’Alba Italian red wine or the legendary cold sake.

Where: The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Colaba, Mumbai
Open: 12.30 p.m.-11.45 p.m.
Contact: 022-66653366;
Extension: 3202
Meal for two: Rs 7,000
Signature dishes: Yellow-tail Sushi and Prawn Sushi

Soo Ra Sang, Bangalore

The cuisine: Korean

Why it’s the best: The food here is authentic, yet not expensive. It is owned and run by a Korean woman. You'll find the clientele to be mostly Korean—another good indicator of authentic food. The ambience is nice—not overtly Korean and clean.

Soo Ra Sang, Bangalore
Soo Ra Sang, Bangalore
The universal favourites here are the various barbecues done right at your table and served with a delicious assortment of small side dishes and condiments. One dish will serve one person and the price varies between Rs 250 for vegetarian dishes and Rs 500 for the barbecues and seafood dishes.

There is no concept of starters for Koreans, so your final bill will end up being pretty reasonable. This is one restaurant in Bangalore that’s not to be missed.

Where: 35, RK Arcade, Wind Tunnel Road, Murgeshpalya, Bangalore
Open: 12.30 p.m.-10.30 p.m.
Contact: 080-41303435
Meal for two: Rs 1,500
Signature dish: Dol So Bee Bim Bob

Travertino, New Delhi


Why it’s the best: Launched with the help of the famous Hotel Hassler chain of Rome, Travertino provides a fine dining experience for those looking for classical Italian cuisine.

Travertino, New Delhi
Travertino, New Delhi
It also serves an extensive Italian wine selection from the Enoteca wine cellar. Try its exquisite pastas, seafood fare and the cheese selection and we bet you will come back for more.

Where: The Oberoi, New Delhi
Open: 12.30 p.m.-2.45 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.-10.45 p.m.
Contact: 011-24363030
Meal for two: Rs 5,500
Signature dishes: Antipasto di Mare and Ventresca Efiletto di Maiale

Zak’s Place, Bangalore

West Asian

Why it’s the best: Located in the basement of Concorde Plaza on the busy Coles Road, Zak’s is a no-frills restaurant and focusses on serving great food.

Zak’s Place, Bangalore
Zak’s Place, Bangalore
Begin your meal here with the Shawarma and Humus, the quintessential Arab dip. However, if you are watching calories, choose salads like Fatoosh Humus or the Zak’s Special instead. The main course tempts you with some great Kabsa Laham, a delightful creation of mutton pieces on a bed of rice. You could also try the Salona Samak (fish in gravy) and the Samak Mishwi (grilled fish) with rice or bread.

Climb up the flight of stairs to the ground floor where you will find the Egyptian Bakery selling desserts like Basbusa and Baklawa.

Where: 68/1 Concorde Plaza, Coles Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore
Open: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Contact: 080-65950752
Meal for two: Rs 500
Signature dishes: Kabsa Dibaj, Falafel, Shawarma with Humus

China House, Mumbai


Why it’s the best: Designed to exude the warmth of a typical Chinese home, China House is by far the best Chinese eatery in India. Try its signature Peking Duck, Beggar’s Chicken, Hand-pulled and Dan Dan Noodles and a host of delicious desserts.

China House, Mumbai
China House, Mumbai
Its multi-level lounge is also a perfect setting for intimate lounging and conversation, whether over dinner, or for pre-dinner drinks or late night cocktails.

Where: Grand Hyatt, Santacruz (East), Mumbai
Open: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight (the lounge is open till 3 a.m.)
Contact: Restaurant- 022-66761086; Lounge- 022-66761087
Meal for two: Rs 3,500
Signature dishes: Peking Duck, Beggar's Chicken, Dan Dan Noodles

Asean, Bangalore


Why it’s the best: In a quiet corner of Castle Street in Bangalore, Jimmy Palkhivala runs Asean, one of the city’s most under-rated but best restaurants—one of the few places where one gets authentic Indonesian fare.

Asean, Bangalore
Asean, Bangalore
It’s located up a short flight of stairs and the best news is that you don't need to reserve a table even on a Saturday evening. Asean serves up amazing culinary delights, with foodies vouching for its Ayam Bali (diced Balinese chicken), Nasi Goreng (spicy Indonesian fried rice) and Chicken Rendang (Indonesian chicken in a thick gravy).

Where: Asean
Open: 45 Ground Floor, Castle Street, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore
Contact: 080-41126381
Meal for two: Rs 1,000
Signature dishes: Lamb Rendang and Nasi Goreng

(Our panel of experts: Rashmi Uday Singh: One of India’s best-known food critics and author of several books on fine dining. A.D. Singh: Restaurateur and foodie. Nondon Bagchi: A rock musician and a teacher, he writes extensively on food. Ajit Saldanah: Writer, dramatist and food critic.)

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