Here are some of my favourite eating places - the ones I keep going back to. The list goes something like this:
1) Amrut Hotel, Karwar: The most amazing seafood ever. You cannot miss it in Karwar, its on the road parallel to the highway that connects Goa and Mangalore. It is worth making a visit to Karwar to just visit Amrut restaurant for its seafood. We found it quite by accident several years ago while diving through Karwar, Sunnie, Shobhs and I, but have been going there regularly when we are in the neighbourhood. No one talks once the food arrives - its that good
2) Xavier's, Kolva beach: It looks like the one permanent structure on the Kolva beach, or is it Benaulim, but this Xavier's makes some decent food. Great breakfast, rice and fish curry joint! It is a nice walk from the Kolva beach where we normally shack up.
3) The Place, Pune: Some of the best sizzlers and steaks I have ever had. It is close to MG Road somewhere near Westend theatre a decent joint well. Only it had this policy of accepting only American Express cards which no one has, so carry cash. Chhaya it was who introduced us to this joint a good two decades ago. Its still around, I see it on tv shows, and doing exceptionally well.
4) Marz O Rin, MG Road, Pune: A must stop for chicken sandwiches (or any sandwiches) and their brand of rose milk. Bang on MG Road, on the left when you enter MG Road from the Aurora Towers side, you just cannot miss it. Stop there for a bite before moving on with shopping and browsing. First went there with Subbu and Koni during our Pune trip in OU days. Then Shobhs and I stop there each time we pass by.
5) Diamond Bar and Restaurant, MG Road, Pune: A little further up from Marz O Rin on the right side Diamond is a regular joint for beer but they serve some great mutton cutlets and fish biryani. A really fine place that grows on you. Shobhs, Raja and Satish and I have been there many times.
6) Good Luck Cafe, Deccan Gymkhana, Pune: Bun maska and omelette for breakfast followed by endless cups of chai. In fact any of those quaint Irani cafes for bun maska omelette, Great value and taste anyday. Kalpak and I have spent a few mornings pondering over the meaning of life.
7) Wood lands, Chennai: For hot hot Southie breakfasts. Idli, vada, puri, dosa etc etc. But my favorite is the combination of pongal and vada at Woodlands. And the sambar vada.
8) Minerva Coffee Shop, Hyderabad: Mirchi bajjis and coffee from 4 to 7 in the evening. Something we got addicted to since our college days. Still meet my good friend Vinod Ekbote over mirchis and coffee for our weekly laughs.
9) Mohini Restaurant, Basherbagh, Hyderabad: The best mutton biryani I have had for years. It tastes very different and the quality of mutton is extremely good. And they have a kulfi to die for as dessert. A regular during my days in IDBI, Hyderabad.
10) Paradise, Hyderabad: It has made a huge comeback with a standardised biryani package which tastes good. Good standard fare and you will not be disappointed.
11) Bade Mian Kababs, Somajiguda, Hyderabad: A limited fare with a few kababs, warqui rotis. The pather ka ghosht kabab is exceptionally good. All other kababs are very good too and worth a try.
12) Purna Tiffins, Krishna Nagar, Hyderabad: A highly popular stand and eat parcel joint in these parts it serves great pesarattu upma and other typically Andhra breakfast items.
13) Dum, Bangalore: This place run by my friend Hari Rao, has the most amazing biryani and kababs. He insists on the health aspect, the science of cooking without compromising on the taste. All biryanis, mutton specially, and all kababs worth a try. Anytime visit.
14) Koshys, Bangalore: I enjoyed their varied food - sea food, Mangalore and Kerala style items - a lot. A great place of course with a lot of history.
15) Arjun Hotel, Harihar: Some of the best Set Dosas I have ever eaten in my life. And besibele bath as well. Its a typical breakfast joint on the main road. Raja and I have partaken many while getting breakfast packed for the others.
16) Mondegar, Colaba, Mumbai: In Colaba hop into Cafe Mondegar on the corner of the road leading to the Taj. It almost looks like an Irani cafe. A jukebox, great music, lovely ambience, beer and some great food. Their continental is great, try any, and their rice and fish and prawns equally good. A must visit. Tharian and I would meet often there and later on it became a regular Friday beer and dinner joint.
17) Alps, Colaba, Mumbai: Tucked away behind the Taj, Alps is a popular joint for beer and sizzlers. Nice and quiet for a chat, great food and ambience. Made regular forays during my days in Mumbai.
18) Mahesh Lunch Home, Mumbai: The first time I realised that people queue up to eat. Mahesh Lunch Home now has branches all over, even in Pune. Great sea food. If I remember right it was Parth who took us there in Mumbai.
19)Real Bakery, Tarnaka: For egg puffs or any other puffs and coke, you cannot beat Real Bakery at Tarnaka at 3 in the afternoon when they get steaming hot stuff. I never found puffs of this sort anywhere else. We made regular trips out there during our college days, Shobhs and I.
20) Sinhagad Fort, Pune: After an hour's climb, you cannot beat the kanda bajji, zunkha bhakar, chai, taak, set curds. It tastes so beautiful. Introduced by Milind and Parth on our initial treks mainly.
More when I think of them. I am hungry already.