Karim’s in Shahjahanabad is in all the guide books, but there’s so much more to Mughlai food in Delhi than this one kitchen. Wondering where to go to get the best kebabs, korma and roomali roti? Read our guide to the best Mughlai kitchens in the city.
Old Delhi and Nizamuddin are the two strongholds of Mughlai food in the city, but the food tastes so good that it’s made way of the old cities and can be found right across the capital. Here’s our guide to the city’s best Mughlai kitchens
In and around Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi)
Karim’s, Gali Kalan Mehal – It has to be in the list, but promise me you’ll read on and check out who else gets a mention?
Karim’s ancestors cooked the food for the royal Mughal court and they’ve kept the tradition alive (and the secrets safe) ever since. No surprises then that Karim’s kicks off this list of famed Mughlai eateries.
On Gali Kalan Mehal, off Matia Mahal Road, nr Jama Masjid Gate 1. Here’s a google map showing the location.
Al Jawahar, Matia Mahal Road – Al Jawahar claims to have been inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawahar Lal Nehru. This straight forward eatery gives its nearby neighbour, Karim’s, a good run for its money.
At No 8, Jama Masjid, Matia Mahal Road, Matia Mahal,. If Old Delhi is a bit out of the way, Al Jawahar have opened up an outlet on Kotla Mubarakpur Road, near to trendy Defence Colony, South Delhi. But for us, eating in the old city adds to the ambience.
Abdul Garni Quershi Kebab, Urdu Bazaar Road – On Urdu bazaar road it’s kebab centre after kebab centre, but this is the one to keep an eye of for.
Located to the east of Gate 1, Abdul Garni Quershi Kebab House comes highly recommended by a Bengali friend who feasts here every Ramadan. He says it is the best in the business and won’t go anywhere else. From the crowds that gather here, that’s clearly the case.
Hotel Dharampura – The new kid on the block, Dharampura, opened up in 2016 and is going straight into every guide book.
The food is okay, but it’s the building diners are served is what everyone is raving about. Dating back to 1887, the Dharampura Haveli, has been loving restored by Vijay and Siddhant Goel. .
Make the time to take a tour around the haveli and head on up to the rooftop for views over the Jama Masjid and Old City. Music and dance performances at the weekend.
Down at Nizamuddin Basti
Husseini’s Hotel – Food walks around Nizamuddin frequently feature Husseini’s hotel.
The smiling faces of the owner and his staff make it picture perfect to entice the tourists into taking a walk. We reckon the team is always smiling because they get to eat here.
Celebrating 60 years at the Basti in 2017, the Husseini’s are proper old school. Originally from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, they came to the capital back in 1957 to open up shop. Special Biryani on Thursday and Sunday and deep red ghee laden qorma every day of the week.
Find them on Mirza Ghalib street.
Mahir Zaki Hotel, Nizamuddin Basti, opposite Karim’s, Nizamuddin Basti – Opposite the Nizamuddin branch of Karim’s, up some metal steps off the gully, is a shabby looking hotel that cooks up a storm.
Interested in feeding its hungry patrons rather than making itself look pretty, there’s every chance you’ll be nattering away with another fellow on your shared table in no time. You come in, you eat and leave. It’s a place that warms the soul. Though it’s brain curry is yet to make it on my plate.
At 2/1, Nizamuddin, Delhi – 110013, Basti , Hazrat Nizamuddin. Pick up the phone if your lost +(91)-9971443441
Elsewhere around the city
M I Food Centre, 43 Mehar Chand Market, Lodi Colony, South Delhi – This kebab centre, situated right next door to the butchers of the same name, packs a punch.
The rich creamy flavour of the chicken malai tikka and MI’s mutton seekh kebab are worth a special mention. Stand at the tables and scoff kebabs as the street dogs longingly look on.
Khan Chacha, 50, Middle Lane, Khan Market South Delhi – Casual, off the cuff dining. Film stars, celebrities and cricketers come to this kebab house, so you’ll be in good company. After learning the tricks of the trade in Old Delhi, Haji Banda Hasan came to Khan market and set up shop. His small takeaway business soon became the talk of the market. And then the town.
Joined by his sons Mohammad Saleem and Mohammad Javed in 2000 and 2005, the business moved up a level with the opening of Khan Cha Cha restaurant in 2010. The mutton kakori kebab with a couple of roomali rotis is what you want. Believe me. You’ll be happy here.
Karim’s at the India Islamic Centre, Lodi Road, South Delhi – If you are craving Karim’s and can’t face Old Delhi, don’t fret. A finer dining version of the Old Delhi haunt can be found at the Indian Islamic Centre on Lodi Road (here’s a map). It’s plush and just as tasty as the old town version. You can’t go wrong whatever you order. And it is easy on the pocket too.
Lazeez Affaire, Malcha Marg Market, Chanakyapuri – Almost by definition Mughlai is meaty, but that doesn’t mean the Mughal’s were lost when it comes to cooking vegetables. The Lohari kadai paneer at Lazeez Affaire, in Malcha Marg, is a case in point.
Packed with flavour and coming with a nice punch of chilly, this dish is pukka (Lazeez in Urdu means delicious by the way). A top tip – if you like spice let the waiters know. This place is popular with tourists so dishes are toned down to cater for the western palate.
Dehli’s finest chicken fryers – KFC claims to be finger lickin good, but in Old Delhi you’ll find two chicken fryers that put the Colonel back in his box. Ready to meet Delhi’s finest chicken fryers? Let’s eat. Click here to find out who made it onto the list.
Feast at these six super south Indian eateries – If you love dosa, value a vada and score south Indian khana on the quality of the sambhar, then this rundown of six superb south Indian diners is a must read (and a must eat). Find out who’s who, right here.