Best places to eat in Chandigarh

The cultural mishmash that is Chandigarh is all perfectly mirrored in its food

The cultural mishmash that is Chandigarh is all perfectly mirrored by the sometimes quirky, and always interesting eateries that have come to make a niche for themselves in this city famous for its Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake, and above all, its appetite. When it comes to food, Chandigarh has been a trendsetter of sorts. Read our list and decide for yourselves.

Whistling Duck

You might have a hard time finding this one as the building is tucked away in the back lanes of a shopping compound. The absence of any signages add to the confusion. The menu itself blows your mind away – take a pick from South American turnovers ‘Empanades’ stuffed with three-cheese and sundried tomatoes, served with burnt garlic and papaya salad. Popular for its Cajun recipes, the Gyozas (dumplings) and Kotthu Parotta, a Ceylon parantha, give a cultural twist to the mundane dishes.
Foodies vouch for the karela (bitter gourd) salad here. Finish it all off with a Pecan and Lindt Pie or an Apple and Cinnamon Kheer.

Address: SCO 10, Back Lane, Sector 26

Virgin Courtyard

The search for authentic Italian ends here. Right from the cobblestoned floor, whitewashed walls and open air seating with garden lanterns and patio umbrellas, the ambience is set. The complimentary flavoured bread served with parsley butter and savoury salsa dip is a welcome hint of things to come.
Choose from the exotic prawns with Calamari, pork belly with bacon Jam or bacon-wrapped artichokes. The Full Baby Chicken is finger-licking good. Plenty of options for vegetarians are also on the platter and the pizza never disappoints.

Address: SCO 1 A, Madhya Marg, Sector 7C

Backpackers Cafe

The cafe somewhat succeeds in making its mark as a travel cafe with its chilled out ambience, lofty decor, travel guides and pictures from all over the world thrown in to complete the look. Try the Raclette here. It’s a platter of semi-cooked meat, to be grilled on your own, for when you have all the time in the world and conversations go beyond that first cup of coffee. The veg baguette and butter chicken (yes!) burger are signature dishes of sorts.

Address: Elante Mall, Chandigarh Industrial Area, Phase-1; also in Sector 9D

Nik Baker’s

The best thing about this place, other than the personal touch of its Australia returned baker-owner, is that it opens for breakfast at 8 am and offers mouthwatering waffles with yummy toppings, fluffy ham and chicken omelettes, and not to mention the dreamy Brownie Blast Shake.

Address: Sector 9D, Chandigarh; also at Aroma Hotel and Elante’ Mall

Orchid Lounge

Those who have lived in Chandigarh forever would fondly remember Hong Kong in Sector 11 and the Chinese restaurant at Hotel Shivalik View, Sector 17, for the best chinese food in the city. However, the current favourite to wear the crown is Orchid Lounge (to be fair, J.W. Marriot also graces the list). Designed on the lines of a British pub, this one serves Continental and Indian, too, besides Chinese and Thai.

Address: City Centre, Sector 34

Cafe Nomad

The tag line ‘Journeys from Middle East to Far East’ is well justified by the exhaustive menu which boasts of a mélange of Moroccon, Mexican, Arabic and Mediterranean dishes. The portions are surprisingly Indian-large and sumptuous. Some unheard-of salads, lip-smacking kebabs and exotic entrées like the Saffron and Cinnamon cured Moroccan Tagine, add magic to the palette.

Address: 178, Sector 7C

The list can go on because the buffet at @cafe J.W.Marriott with its enviable spread cannot be missed; nor can you skip the authentic aloo paranthas with melting white butter and frothy lassi at Sukhdev enroute to Chandigarh. Also, the lively Gusto Cafe, the very European Garlic and Greens, Sindhi Sweets, and Girl In The Café deserve a special mention for experimenting with novel concepts.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Deepti Singh Gupta is a botanist by education, lecturer by profession and a traveller in spirit, and a thorough nature lover. She's privileged to have a family who shares her passion of discovery and exploration.