Cheese Dosa @ Manek Chowk, Ahmedabad
Cheese Dosa @ Manek Chowk, Ahmedabad by ddasedEn

Ahmedabad India – Best Places to Eat and Dishes to Try

It is said that Ahmedabad has the best and the widest choice of places to eat in the whole of Gujarat. The city is famous as a flourishing foodie paradise, known for serving an excellent traditional Gujarati thali, South India dosas, Chinese and Italian dishes as well as Punjabi curries.

Local dishes to try

When in Ahmedabad we heartily recommend you try the traditional thali, which is the state’s staple supper. One of these normally consists of dhal and seasonable vegetable stews, several varieties of bread and either plain or khichdi rice, buttermilk, savory snacks, and sweets.

If you’re after a mouthwatering Gujarati thali we suggest you head to Gopi Dining Hall, off Ashram Road, which is much loved by the locals. The restaurant has a small AC dining room and a garden, with a menu that has several options depending on how hungry you are. It is not unusual to be offered a refill, so don’t be shy in accepting one. An all vegetarian thali at Gopi Dining Hall will set you back around INR250.

There is a number of similar, simple, dining halls around town, the other two of note are Atithi and Thoran. They too offer superb traditional thalis, which are cheap, filling, and served very swiftly by super-efficient staff.

Something else to try when in Ahmedabad is a simple vegetable curry called shaak, which comes with either a roti, a thepla, a puri bhakhri or a puran pohli. You will find one of these traditional curries in most of the local eateries, which are dotted around town, particularly in the Lal Darwaja area.

The Food Inn restaurant is an excellent option if you’re in the vicinity. It is a bright and busy curry house, opposite the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, where you can enjoy a great Gujarati as well as a Punjabi curry. The difference between the two is that Gujarati cuisine is much sweeter than any other in India. Even the savory dishes have a distinctly sweet tang. This is something that’s worth keeping in mind when perusing the menu. The Food Inn also offers numerous chicken, mutton and fish dishes as well as a great biryani. Do remember, however, that Gujarat is a predominantly vegetarian state.

Street food and markets

As well as being a city of great historical significance, Ahmedabad is also famous for its vast and varied street food scene. At night most of the streets around the old city quarters, especially Manek Chowk, transform into buzzing culinary hotspots, serving an assortment of delicious dishes. If you’re in the area and wish to sample some authentic Gujarati snacks we recommend you try the masala dabeli, the tikki chat pakodi, the sev puri, the ragda patties, chatt or the soft and aromatic khaman.

Another great place to tickle your taste buds with some fabulous local street fare is the area around Law Garden. It is the place where locals gather in the evenings to socialise, to shop as well as to sample something new that might be on offer from one of the numerous food stalls. There you will find rows and rows of food vendors offering colourful, flavoursome and unique combinations of snacks ranging from crispy fafda, pav bhaji, dalvada and paani puri to Chinese inspired dosas, fluffy kulchas and tangy cheese and pineapple sandwiches.

Street food in Ahmedabad is cheap, sating and truly delicious. About INR150 will suffice for several snacks and small dishes.

Local restaurants

If, however, you’re after a sit-down meal Ahmedabad has plenty of top-class restaurants which offer authentic local cuisine.

Vishalla is famous in Ahmedabad not only for its tantalizing vegetarian meals but also for its open-air setting that recreates a traditional Gujarati village, including an evening’s worth of entertainment with folk music and dance. A dinner at Vishalla will set you back around INR450, but it will be worth every penny. The restaurant offers a whole experience rather than a simple meal. Located on the southwest outskirts of town, on Bye-Pass Road, a rickshaw there from the centre of town will cost you around INR100.

Agashiye is another brilliant option if you’re looking for authentic Gujarati cuisine with outstanding views of the city, excellent service, and an unforgettable dining experience.

Set- up atop of one of the city’s most exquisite mansions, in the Lal Darwaja, the rooftop restaurant is an oasis of peace and tranquility, away from the congested streets and city lanes. The all-veg menu changes daily but is set around the traditional Gujarati thali with a range of ravishingly tasty seasonal vegetable dishes. Each meal commences with a welcoming drink and ends with a hand-churned ice cream platter.

We recommend you head to Agashiye for a romantic dinner when the tiled terrace is lit up by candlelight and a gentle breeze stirs the air. A deluxe evening meal at Agashiye costs around INR500, but both cheaper lunch and dinner options are also available.

Western and international food

Known as the revolving restaurant around town, set 50 metres above ground with 360-degree views of the city, the Neelkanth Patang is a superb option if you’re looking for something other than Indian cuisine. The multi-cultural all vegetarian buffet consisting of Thai, Continental, Chinese and European dishes and will leave you spoiled for choice. The food is superb, freshly prepared and the portions are beyond generous. We recommend you try their Thai pumpkin soup or the baked pasta dishes. They also have a varied selection of desserts and sweet treats. Prices vary according to the day and time of the week. An evening meal on a Saturday, for example, will set you back around INR550. Booking ahead is advisable as Neelkanth Patang is one of the most popular restaurants in town.

Cafes and coffee houses

Ahmadabad also has plenty of chai shops and coffee houses, one of the best is Zen Cafe on Radhakrishnan Road, known for its organic coffee, capriosch mocktails, and refreshing ice-and-mint coolers. It also makes outstanding brownies, paninis, and cakes. Located in an airy garden, next to the Amdavad ni Gufa underground gallery, it is the perfect spot to take a break from sightseeing and have an ice cold drink, which will cost you anywhere between INR25 to INR50.

TGB Cafe and Bakery, in Chinubhai Centre, is another great option if you’re after a truffle cake and an ice cream to go with a steaming hot coffee. It sits underneath the Neelkanth Patang restaurant and is a much more casual affair. Prices range from INR35 to INR150 for cakes and coffees.

Bars and drinking venues

Gujarat is a resolutely dry state, however, there are certain places in Ahmedabad where you will be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. There are no known bars in the city but some top-end hotels have designated drinking areas where alcohol is served within especially created permit zones. It is relatively easy for foreign visitors to obtain permits; all you need is your passport and a certificate or a letter from your hotel for a one month permit that will allow you to consume and purchase alcohol in designated hotels and “wine shops”. The permits are officially free but most local authorities will demand INR100 from the wine shops, which the shops will then add to the cost of your alcoholic beverage. We recommend you do your research before you set out in search of a drinking venue or alternatively have a mocktail instead of a mojito.