By Saniya Pasricha
Chandigarh, India’s first planned city has more to it than planned roads and lush green environs. The culinary scene in the city has gained momentum in recent times. From the elite top-notch restaurants that offer extravagant meals to the luscious roadside kiosks that will leave you asking for more, you will find everything here. From breakfast to dinner, let us take you through all the options that you can avail while in the city.
Sindhi Sweets: Located in Sector 17 Market, Sindhi Sweets have been ruling the hearts of the Chandigarhiyans for a long time now. Kick start your day with the Punjabi dose of mouth-watering hot Chana Bhaturas along with a glass of chilled sweet Lassi that is served in a traditional Matka (earthen pot) which is sure to give you the Punjabi feel. Apart from this, it is also famous for its traditional sweet dishes, Bundi ke Ladoos, being the top favourite. These dark orange Ladoos are so soft that they just melt in your mouth leaving you with a sense of completeness.
Nik Baker’s: Now, if you want to not have anything “Punjabi”, Nik Baker’s is the place for you. For almost a decade this European style bakery-cum-cafe is a favourite go to place for the locals in the city. With outlets at multiple locations including Sector 9 and 35, its high quality gourmet and fine taste is other worldly. It is indeed a baker’s paradise due to its wide varieties of quiches, tarts, pastries and cakes. But the real show-stopper here is their pasta. White, red or pink – order any and experience an everlasting indulgence in the creamy, tangy flavours that are perfect for your quick luncheon. The Mutton Cheese Burger is another speciality of this place. Nik Baker’s is also extremely famous for its heavenly shakes and drinks. Their Fruit Punch is a must taste, it is loaded with fresh seasonal fruits, cream and sugar syrup!
Pal Dhaba: Located in Sector 28 this is one of the oldest and the most sought after eateries in the city. Not one of those traditional Dhabas with Khattiyas around, you’ll find chairs and tables in the space. But what is so extraordinary about this place is the unique zest this place has to offer. You might have feasted on butter chicken all your life, but after eating here you’ll realise what authentic Punjabi food is really like. Don’t forget to glance through their hall of fame; you’ll quickly learn that this place is overly loved by the celebs too. Apart from the chicken, their Dal Makhani, Kadhai Paneer, Aaloo Parantha (that comes with loads of butter dripping) is equally appetizing.
Sethi Dhaba: When talking about authentic Punjabi food, how can one miss mentioning Sethi Dhaba. For the nocturnal souls who get extremely famished as soon as the clock strikes 12 and there’s no other option for good North Indian food, this dhaba on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway (near Zirakpur) is definitely a saviour. Just 20 minutes drive from the main city; this is a typical Dhaba where you’ll find manjis or khattiyas all over the place and a daffali for the menu that evidently leaves you with a true Punjabi feel. This exceedingly colourful place has a million photographs of Gurdas Mann (a Punjabi singer), since the owner is a diehard fan of the latter. Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki Roti is the speciality of this place. With Punjabi folk music playing in the background, one can enjoy hot Elaichi vali Chai (cardamom flavoured tea) along with the piquant Missi Rotis.
Monica’s: Don’t go by the looks! This awfully cute bakery located in the buzzing uptown market of Sector 8, might not be extravagant when it comes to size but the cakes and pastries here can alone give you a certain kind of high where you’ll forget about the exteriors of this place. In order to calm your sweet tooth cravings a quick nibble at Monica’s is what you need. One of the oldest in the town, their red velvet cake is adored by everyone. The chocolate cakes at Monica’s are a must try as well. So soft and moist, topped with rich chocolate ganache, it is certainly something you can’t miss!