The charm of the dhabas and the small-time eateries are what gets you at every chance you get. You may love the best of cuisines plated by deluxe five-star restaurants, but there is nothing that can beat the charm of chugging down your plates clean at a dhaba or a small cabin or eatery.
1. Kesar da Dhaba Heading back from the trip to Golden Temple? Do make sure you visit the famous Kesar da Dhaba on the way. Nestled in the narrow lanes of chowk passian, Kesar da dhaba was first established by Lala Kesar Mal and his wife in 1916 in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. Post-partition, the famous dhaba shifted its base to Amritsar. Over the years, Kesar da dhaba gained cult status and a VVIP fan following of former Prime Ministers Jawahar Lal Nehru and Lala Lajpat Rai too! The vegetarian dhaba is renowned for its Dal Makhani or Maa ki Dal, which is slow-cooked in copper vessels overnight, for almost eight to 12 hours. The malai kofta and palak paneer are some decadent dishes that you must try too.
2. Tunday Kebabi
You may have visited a Tunday Kebabi outlet right next to your neighbourhood and loved their smoky and delightful kebabs. But we are talking about the original Tunday Kebabi situated in Lucknow . Established in 1905, by Haji Murad Ali, the history of Tunday Kebabi is a tale as savoury and delectable as their kebabs. It is said that once Haji Ali was working on perfecting the mixture of the shahi galawat, he fell off the roof and broke his one arm. However, that didn't stop him from making the most tender kebabs in town. In fact, with his one working arm he pounded the kebabs so well, that they became the Nawab's favourite. Since then the kebabs came to be known as the 'Tunday' (Hindi: one armed) Kebabs and Haji Murad Ali's modest shop earned the cult status. It is said that the special masala made for the kebabs use a whopping mix of 160 different spices! This Republic day 201
3. Bademiyan What more can you say about Bademiyan's biryani and succulent kebabs that hasn't already been written. Established in 1946, Bademiyan's initial days were not the smoothest of them all. They had to shift their base multiple times before finally settling down in Colaba. Started by Mohammed Yasin, Bademiyan has pleased Mumbaikars with its delicious preparations. Born in a small village in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, Yaseen moved to Mumbai at the age of 13 and became a butcher. In 1946, Yaseen's Guru gave him 20 rupees to start his own stall, and the rest as they say is history. The first and most popular outlet is a food stall situated behind The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Apollo Bundar.
4. Karim's Delhi's love affair with kebabs, biryanis and meat needs no introduction. Having been a Mughal capital for so many years, Delhi inherited the Mughlai taste much earlier than other states in the country. Till now, if you ask any Delhite for the best kebabs, there is a very strong possibility that he would point you to the direction of Karim's. Today, there are several Karims' outlets in the city but the original Karim's is situated in Delhi-6 which still happens to be the most talked about. Mohammed Aziz was a cook in the royal court of Mughal Emperor. One of his sons, Haji Karimuddin is known to have moved to Delhi with an idea to open a dhaba and that's how Karim's Hotel was established back in 1913. Karims' rich Mughlai fare with delectable kebabs, biryani, korma and gosht is a treat to the senses.
4. Favourite Cabin, Kolkata 99 years in the business and still going strong. The famous haunt of noted freedom fighters, poets and revolutionaries, Favourite Cabin at 69B Surya Sen Street was founded in 1918 by Nutan Chandra Barua and his elder brother Gaur Chandra Barua. It is said that it is in this modest eatery, where freedom fighters like SC Bose would plot plans and rebellion against the British, or Kazi Nazrul Islam would pen his poetry. Biscuits, toasts and nimki are still the preferred accompaniments to the hot chai at the Favourite Cabin.