When you talk about Jaipur, you think royalty, big havelis, forts, art, craft and of course, food. Once you’ve eaten in Jaipur though, the order in which you remember these things might just get changed, with food topping the list. Here is a lowdown on some of the lip-smacking vegetarian eats in the Pink City – fine dining as well as street food.
Located in the hustle bustle of old Jaipur, this is definitely one of my top picks for royal dining in Jaipur. The palace hotel has a distinctive regal air about it – not surprising, as the royal family of Samode still resides in a part of the old haveli, the rest has been converted into a heritage hotel. Samode Haveli restaurant is a popular hangout for the hotel guests as well as tourists who drop in for a meal. A lot of tour groups think of it as a mandatory stop for the true-blue experience it affords. I agree! The food is simply outstanding, the restaurant has a royal feel about it and the regal ambience is set by the colourful hand painted murals that adorn the walls. On the day that I was there, a lavish lunch buffet had been set up for around 300 diners. The lunch buffet serves North-Indian, Rajasthani and Continental fare. The Aubergine Raita, Dal Makhani and Ker Sangri are highly recommended. The soup and home-baked breads also tasted great. For dinner, opt for the delicious Rajasthani Thali that encapsulates the Rajasthani cuisine. (Restaurant review coming up soon).
Samode Haveli, Gangapole, Amer Road, Jaipur, Phone: +91 141 2632407, +91 141 2632370
Royal Heritage Haveli
The beautifully frescoed dining area under the two centuries old Kigelia tree is the perfect place to chomp on the real flavours of Rajasthan. From sitting in the bar to dining in the restaurant or going in for a completely mesmerising, romantic meal in a verandah lit by earthen lamps, you can choose the mood you want. The bar seduces you with awesome mojitos and martinis while the restaurant ensnares your taste buds with family recipes that are decades old.
Some of my favourites were the Dal Tadka (lentils tempered with spices – we had this for almost every meal that we had there) and Gutta Curry (chickpea flour dumplings in gravy). Their homemade chapattis are simply amazing too. If you’re not in the mood for a full-blown meal, give the Paneer Kathi Roll a try. (Restaurant review coming up soon).
Khatipura Tiraya, Khatipura Road, Khatipura, 302012 Jaipur, India
Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar
If you haven’t been to Lakshmi Mishtan Bhandar or LMB as it is popularly known, your trip to Jaipur is incomplete. Located in the vibrant Johri Bazar, the setting itself is an experience. LMB retains the old-world charm of a halwai (traditional Indian sweet-makers) and it popular with locals and tourists. Next to the sweet shop is a restaurant that serves local fare. Have the Dal Batti Churma (cooked lentils served with deep fried balls of flour, clarified butter and jaggery) and get a punch of desi ghee (clarified butter) and unparalleled taste in your mouth. Or give the delectable chaat a go. The Dal Makhani is worth a try as well. Wrap up your meal with LMB’s famous ghewar (disk shaped sweet cake made of flour and soaked in sugar syrup); remember to get it packed for take away as well for one portion is never enough.
LMB Hotel, Shop 98-101, Johari Bazar, Pink City, Jaipur, Phone: +91 141 4001616, +91 141 2565844
Rawat Mishtan Bhandar
Although the name is Rawat Mishtan Bhandaar, locals all know it as Rawat Kachoriwala. You will be hard pressed to find better pyaz kachoris (crispy pastry stuffed with spicy onion filling) elsewhere. The outer covering is so crisp you can hear the pastry go crunch and it is suffused with the most flavourful onion filling. The perfect foil to the savoury kachori is the mawa kachori which is a perfect way to wind up your visit here.
Opposite Polovictory Cinema, Station Road, Sindhi Camp, Jaipur, Phone: +91 141 2367460, +91 141 2363593
Kishan Lal Govind Narain Agarwal Lassiwala
I know this is not technically food but nothing whets the appetite like a good old lassi (Indian yogurt drink) and no one in Jaipur makes it quite like this place. A simple takeaway serving just lassi, it is the freshest, creamiest and yummiest lassi ever. There are now several lassiwalas in Jaipur, but Kishan Lal Govind Narain Agarwal is the oldest, the best, the most famous and definitely the one you should go to. With a sugar free version for those watching calories, it also comes in small and large, with and without ice. An absolute must. And go early, they often finish by noon.
Shop 312, MI Road, Jaipur, Phone: +91 141 2378692, +91 98280 20356
At Taj properties, you are bound to expect Taj level hospitality, ambiance and food. And this place doesn’t disappoint on any count. Choose from Steam for Italian and Lebanese, Suvarna Mahal for Mughlai and North Indian, The Verandah for North Indian and Continental, The Rajput Room for North Indian, Continental and Asian or The Polo Bar. For a fine Kulfi (Indian ice cream) experience, head to Suvarna Mahal. Each of the restaurants has an array of vegetarian foods that are just as super as their non-vegetarian counterparts. Worth every penny.
Bhawani Singh Road, 302005 Jaipur, India
A uniquely Rajasthani experience awaits you at Chokhi Dhani. It is replete with Rajasthani food, Rajasthani folk performances, puppet shows and much more to keep you regaled. The rustic rural settings welcome you with the warmth that Rajasthan is known for. Once here, enjoy the performances and indulge in heavenly vegetarian food. Do savour the Dal Baati Churma that is simply divine. Local delicacies like Ker Sangri, Gatte ki Sabji, Malpua, Bajra Roti and especially the Jalebi are worth eating.
Chokhi Dhani Village Resort, 12 Mile, Tonk Road, Jaipur, Phone: +91 0141 5165000, +91 96672 22203