Best places to eat in Amritsar

Gulab Jamun, a must-eat in Amritsar.
Image courtesy: Creative Commons/Yosarian

It is no secret – a true foodie (veg or non-veg) can spend days in this land of ghee and butter, sating the palate on rich, gourmet delights that have given Amritsari cuisine its very own niche. Some of Amritsar’s dhabas and restaurants have no ambience to write home about, but have become the stuff of legends.

Don’t miss these places on a visit to the city.

Kesar da dhaba: Winding through small alleys and bylanes you’ll reach this vegetarian restaurant that goes back nearly a century. They have got their basics bang on – the laccha paranthas are crisp yet tender, the maa ki daal has been simmering for 24 hours and comes with dollops of ghee, the lassi, served in a tall brass glass, is so rich you have to wade through a creamy layer to sip the drink. It’s almost like a treasure hunt. And if you still have a wee space in your stomach, don’t leave without trying the famous phirni served in earthen bowls.
Chowk Passian, Shastri Market

Beera Chicken: Warning: Take a bite of tandoori chicken at this tiny roadside joint on Majitha Road and chances are you won’t be able to enjoy this north Indian dish anywhere else. Not tarnished with orange food colour or too many spices – it is made the way tandoori chicken was meant to be – soft, succulent and nearly dropping off the bones. Squeeze a bit of lemon and have it in your car, because the seating may not be quite to your liking.
Majitha Road

Kulcha Land: Another place that does not hand out menu cards because they keep it simple. In this city of many breads, whether it is parathas or naans, they concentrate on the famous Amritsari kulcha. As you tuck into their regular, stuffed kulchas or paneer kulchas, which arrive piping hot and fresh from the tandoor with oodles of butter– crisp on the outside, soft and flaky inside, you realise why their counterparts in the rest of the country are just not the same.
Shopping Centre, Ranjit Avenue

Surjit Food Plaza: Taste the tender, melt-in-the mouth, mutton tikkas and gilawati kebabs at this restaurant and you are sure to return for seconds. The tikkas are done differently – first in a tandoor and then tawa-fried with a special, secret masala recipe handed down in the family. Don’t forget to try their famous batter-coated Amritsari fish (yes, you cannot leave Amritsar without tasting this), in fact that is what first catapulted its owner to fame.
Nehru Shopping Complex, Lawrence Road

Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala: And of course, last but not the least – how can we forget the sweet tooth? At any time of the day, land up here to taste the fresh jalebis which emerge crisp and golden from a kadai of pure ghee. Most likely, it will beat any previous encounter with this humble sweet. Also not to be missed is his famed gulab jamun.
Katra Ahluwalia

For more inspiration, grab your copy of Best Escapes North India.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Pallavi Pasricha is a commissioning editor at Lonely Planet India.

  • Deb

    Surjit Food Plaza has very good food but is very very expensive for a dhaba. Four modest pieces of Amritsari Fish Fry costs Rs. 400 (used to be Rs. 200) which I think is outrageous. All other items are similarly priced for small helpings.The service is slow and the owner is haughty. They issue kachcha receipts which means that they do not pay taxes.

    I think the Lonely Planet review has gone to their head and they need to come back to reality.

    • Roja Rao

      Totally in agreement with Mr.Deb’s comments.

  • anish

    Many Other Places to Enjoy:
    Brijwasi Chat, Queen’s Road, Amritsar, Rajasthani Chat near Mata Mandir Amritsar, A-One Kulfa, Cooper Road, Amritsar, , Sharma Jalebi, Lawrence Road, Nai Sadak, Amritsar, Kanha Poori Cholae, Amritsar, Bansal Moti Choor Ladoos,Amritsar Ujagar Singh’s Paper warian, Nr. Golden Temple, Amritsar, Keasar Lassi, Ahuja Lassi Shop, Nr. Hindu College, Amritsar, Paya ( Kharodaey ) Pal, Hathi Gate , Amritsar

  • Roja Rao

    The food was nothing like the comments I read about this place. The person at the counter welcomed us warmly but were disappointed with what followed. Menu card lists out an elaborate list but do not get thrilled….its the waiter who decides what you can actually get to eat…..that is limited to tandoori chicken, chicken seekh, rice, roti, n yellow dal. The seekh, which the waiter claimed is their speciality was not properly ground meat…it was pieces of chicken stuck on the skewer….not at all soft….but chewy and more than the needed amount of spices….At a neighbouring table, the ladies rejected the butter chicken as being more than sweet….and just two waiters on a Sunday night….the man at the counter too took up kitchen work…what more can I say?!!

    Toooo much hype….no substance….

  • beli ram

    this place is a legendary fail. some of the items are cheaper in hyatt believe me !! place remains empty most of the time during the day

  • Balle Balle Dhaba

    Balle Balle Dhaba is the Best Dhaba in Amritsar. It is a traditional Punjabi restaurant and hotel serve people of India and all around the globe. We are really thankful to our all customers who visited our hotel or our restaurant. There is no limit of our customer service facilities as we can provide a fantastic family supportive environment for a variety of food dishes as well as accommodation for a short and long stays at our fully accomplished rooms with full security. We started as a small restaurant, but as time progresses with the blessings of God and our beloved customers. For more info, visit: