Zaika-e-Lucknow: Top Food places in Lucknow #BharatkaZaika
Lucknow is popularly known as the city of Nawabs but for the foodies, it has a different connotation altogether, they consider it as the ‘City of Kebabs’. As soon as you arrive in Lucknow the first thing that you will notice is ‘Mukuraiye, Ap Lucknow me hai’ written on billboards and other places, which literally translates to ‘Smile as you are in Lucknow’.
Lucknow has an opulent cultural heritage and is renowned for many things – the monuments with incomparable architectural features, the rich literature, the ‘Chikankari’ on clothes, the ‘Khatirdari’ (hospitality) or the ‘Tehzeeb’ (, the unique lingua franca or the delectable culinary delights. It has its own unique charming vibe to it.
The Awadhi cuisine dishes out copious vegetarian dishes but it is a food lovers’ paradise when it comes to the non-vegetarian offerings. We can all thank a toothless Nawab for the evolution that began in the 17th century for Kebabs. Without delving much in history let me highlight what are the places that are must-visits and what are the must-haves when you pay a visit to this iconic city and its scrumptious food.
No discussion around Lucknow’s food can be complete without the legendary Tunday Kababi. Their one-of-a-kind Galouti kebabs are one of the best kebabs that you will find in India. A one-armed chef for the Nawab of Lucknow first prepared it in the 17th century and since then it has captured the imaginations of all the food lovers across the region. The secret-recipe Kebab is prepared with minced meat and 160 different spices that lend an immaculate flavor to the dish.
The shop that started with humble origins is now converted into a food chain with multiple outlets across the city and country. You can also try Shami Kebab, Boti Kabab and Seekh Kabab along with other non-veg dishes.
Alamgir is another gem of a place for non-veg lovers. It is right opposite to the Tunday Kababi restaurant in Aminabad in a small alley. If you walk into that alley today, you will feel as if the whole place is taken over by Alamgir with food being prepared everywhere. Their Band Ghosht and unique chicken Kalimirch are a must-have. Try them with their saffron-colored Sheermal.
I believe that the only place that can compete with Lucknow’s biryani is Hyderabad’s biryani but there are still places in Lucknow that will serve you something totally unique.
Idrees Ki biryani
Another place, which is based on, a secret recipe passed on from the previous generation. Currently run by the sons of Muhammad Idrees, who started this small place in 1968, is a must visit if you love to have biryanis. The place looks so ordinary and small from outside that if you are not keenly looking for it, you might actually end up missing it. Better look out for the huge crowd that is always gathered outside the eatery. You will be actually surprised to know how many celebs visit the place on their visit to Lucknow.
The best way to reach the place is to spot the patanala police station in Raza Bazaar in the Chowk area. If you aren’t comfortable eating in cramped up spaces then my advice for you is to take the biryani home and enjoy it there.
Awadh Biryani Corner
You will not hear a lot about this place, as it is a small place near the Dainik Jagran Chauraha (roundabout) but I can definitely vouch for their biryanis. I started going there during my school days since their biryani was dirt cheap and always came along with a free cola. Over the years I have become a lover of their biryani and their shami kebabs. Watch out for the portions before ordering, it might be too much for a single person.
Popularly known as the ‘Pride of Lucknow’, Wahid Biryani was started about 60 years ago. They have tried their best to preserve their authentic taste through its 55 spices that go into the preparation of their aromatic biryani. They have multiple outlets across the city.
Rahim Ki Nihari
It’s a 130-year-old restaurant started in 1890 and is famous for its Nihari & Kulche. What Tunday is to Kebabs and Idrees is to biryani, Rahim is to Nihari.
It started as a breakfast joint and you will be surprised to see the crowd even today queued up early in the morning. It is located on phool wali gali near Tehseen Masjid in Chowk. You can also try paaye, sheermal, kakori kabab, parsande, seekh kabab & kheer.
Dastarkhwan is another non-veg eatery with multiple outlets. My favorite one is near the Tulsi theatre. Their Tawa Chicken Masala are a must-have with paratha.
You must be thinking I am mentioning everything related to non-veg but vegetarians don’t get disappointed. Lucknow has a lot to offer in veg especially when it comes to street food.
Baati Chokha Restaurant and Banarasiya
The Baati Chokha restaurant in Gomti Nagar and Banarasiya restaurant near Pheonix mall are famous for their local vegetarian cuisines. Both have got this rural ambience, which complements the food really well. Baati Chokha are a must have in them. Their refrigerated Kheer and Bakheer served in earthen bowls is too good.
Ratti Lal ke khaste
It is one of the oldest sweet shops in Lucknow. Lucknowites love to have Khasta Kachori in breakfast along with Jalebis. Ratti Lal is famous for its Khasta Puri. It is located in the Aminabad region.
Royal Café – Basket Chaat
If you are a fan of basket chaat or tokri chaat then you must have already visited the Royal Café in Hazratganj in Lucknow. Currently they have more than one outlet in the city. It is one of the most preferred places to hang out for couples.
Jain Chaat Corner
Another great eatery offering mouth-watering chaat is Jain Chaat Corner near Novelty Cinema. It is one of the best places to try any variety of chaat. Their Papdi chaat and Golgappas are a must to have.
Sharma Tea Stall
Sharma Tea stall is one of the oldest tea stalls in the city, started way back in 1948. It is nearby Jain Chaat Corner in Lalbagh. They are famous for their bun Makhan (butter), samosas and of course tea. The highlight is the butter that is homemade. You might have to wait a little longer for your tea, as it is always crowded.
Prakash ki Mashhoor Kulfi
This place was started in 1965 and is one of the best places to try desserts. Their Kulfis are truly amazing. Every time my father used to visit that area in Aminabad, he would make sure he gets a portion for my mother. They have special packing for takeaways so that your kulfi doesn’t melt on its way.
It is one of my favorite delicacies that I remember from my childhood. Back then a guy used to sell it on his bicycle door-to-door and we would not miss any chance to have it. Currently there aren’t many takers for this unique fluffy sweet dish and is majorly sold around Gol Darwaja area.
Honorable mentions: Shree Lassi at Chowk, Bajpai poori kachori near Leela Cinema, Raja Thandai near Gol Darwaja Chowk and Azhar Paan near Akbari Darwaja Chowk.
Do let me know whether you liked the collection or not and do highlight if I missed any major place. Now you know what all places to visit the next time that you are in Lucknow.
For all those who love kebabs,
For all those who love kulfis,
For all those who love biryanis,
For all those who love food…
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
This Post is written under my Food Travels for #BlogBoosterIndia #BharatKaZaika