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.
Kulcha Land: A 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
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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 maah ki daal, simmering for 24 hours, 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.
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 kadhai 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.