Turkish rulers founded Delhi Sultanate by the end of 12th century and its safe to say that our voyage to the beloved capital was extraordinary as theirs. From the land of India Gate, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar, Nizzamuddin Dargah and Chandni Chowk, we bring you the list of the most enticing culinary experience of Old Delhi. So buckle up and don’t forget to carry a bottle of antacids. Here are the best places for desi street food in Old Delhi, that a true foodie just cannot miss!
1) Qureshi Kabab Corner
Jama Masjid is known for catering hungry non- vegetarians for more than 70 years now. Staying true to this fact is the iconic Qureshi Kabab Corner, famous for succulent Kebabs and authentic recipe for almost 72 years. Haji Abdul Ghani Qureshi started this legendary corner and recreated the family recipe for Kebabs that was initiated by his grandfather. Juicy kebabs are served with a drizzle of lemon and explodes like flavourful bomb, packed with rich aromatic spices.
Location: Opposite Gate No. 1, Jama Masjid, New Delhi, 0 9711693200 Price: INR 200 for two people (approximately) Timings: 5pm- 12:30am
The Mughlai food at Karim’s stands undefeated when it comes to drool-worthy flavours, perfectly cooked meat and jammed Jama Masjid settings. This historic landmark for food walks was established in 1913 by Haji Karimuddin, son of Mohammed Aziz who was a cook in the royal court of Mughal Emperor. Their generous and savoury kebabs, Mutton Burra and Mutton Raan form the perfect starter pack. You can choose your favourite main course dish ranging from Chicken and Mutton stew to Badam Pasanda or famous Nihari and pair it with Khamiri roti or naan. If you’re looking for an extraordinary food indulgence, order their Tandoori Bakra. An entire goat, stuffed with meat, rice, spices and dry fruits, is enough to put a whole clan into food coma (you will have to pre-order this dish) .
Location: 16, Gali Kababian, Jama Masjid, New Delhi, 110006, 011 23264981 Price: 800 for two (approximately) Timings: 9am-1am
3) Aslam Chicken
Another buttery heaven from the bustling streets of Old Delhi is Aslam Chicken. Chicken lovers can indulge their senses to navigate this celebrated eatery. Smell of the buttery chicken on the grill is hard to miss, follow that and you’ll reach a small corner occupied by a three-storied building. If you can see a crowded entrance filled with famished souls and marinated chicken, you’re on the right address. If not, look up to check the board that says Aslam Chicken, it might have been a Tuesday.
Nothing can compete with butter chicken in Indian non-vegetarian cuisine, and when it’s topped with more melted butter and seasoned spices, you get the legendary Aslam’s Butter Chicken. Chicken is marinated in creamy pastes and then grilled to perfection. Every bite exudes butter and intense flavours that compliment the dish. You can also relish non-chicken dishes, Fish Tikka and Afghani Kebabs are equally delicious.
Location: Near Churi Walan Gali, Chittli Qabar Road, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, 110006 09811469505 Price: INR 400 for two (approximately) Timings: 4pm-12:30am
Also Read: Unique Places to Eat in Mumbai
4) Al Jawahar
Competing with the cuisine mogul Karim’s of Jama Masjid is Al Jawahar. Expect a heated debate from cult meat lovers if you want an opinion over which is better!
It’s a popular theory that when India gained independence in 1947, around the time when Al Jawahar opened, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister visited the small restaurant. To celebrate the double occasion, owners named it after him and since then it is known as Al Jawahar. Chicken changezi, bheja (brain) curry, badam pasanda, mutton stew and nihari some of the must try dishes. They are sweet enough to incorporate some vegetarian dishes for your fellow no-meat-on-Tuesday friend. Comfortable and cosy sitting arrangements are an added bonus when eating at Jama Masjid. Even though it remains unclear whether Al Jawahar dominates the Mughal touch of Karim’s or not, we definitely believe that both of them are successfully serving soulful cuisine for decades and continue to adapt the rich legacy of their ancestors.
Location: Opposite Gate No. 1, 8 Matia Mahal Road, Jama Masjid, New Delhi, 110006, 011 23275987 Price: INR 600 for two (approximately) Timings: 11:30am- 11pm
5) Bishan Swaroop Chaat Bhandar
As our economy climbed the growth ladder rapidly, the fast food chains from the foreign land continued to dominate the urban food circle. In times when pizza pockets are available thanks to McDonalds on every corner, Bishan Swaroop Chaat Bhandar continues to serve its famous fruit chaat from 11am onwards, everyday since 1923. Guava, watermelon, cucumber, beetroot, apple, orange, chickpeas, tomato and other seasonal fruits are mixed together and sprinkled with chaat masala, black pepper and special spicy-lemon dressing. Their simple menu resonates with every Indian tongue and reminds you of those golden days when even the spicy fruit chaat from the streets felt like an extravagant food treat. Also try their aloo chaat, sweet potato chaat and aloo kachalu.
Location: 1421, near Mahavir Jain Library, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, 110006, 09899648131 Price: INR 30 onwards Timings: 11am-9pm
Plan a trip to the wild lanes of Chandni Chowk with us.
6) Jung Bahadur (JB) Kachori Wala
Another single item menu on the list is the tantalizing combination of Urad Dal Kachori and Aloo ki Sabzi, found in the cramped up streets of Kinari Bazaar. Jung Bahadur Kachori Wale are known for serving piping hot kachoris since 1940s and they sure know how to play with the spice palette. No sitting arrangements or exuberant customer service and even with one item on the menu, there is always a waiting line but all that has not stopped them from receiving national recognition. The thrilling adventure of crawling through the busy streets and waiting 15 minutes for your order is worth the crispy, piquant and spicy kachoris.
Location: 1104, Maliwara, Jogiwara, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, 110006 Price: INR 70 for two Timings: 10:30am-7:30pm
7) Paranthe Wali Gali
Paranthe Wali Gali gained international recognition for its insane atmosphere, decade old cuisine and delicious paranthas. A series of restaurants line up to form the Paranthe Wali Gali. From sweet to savoury combinations, these deep-fried, doughy breads are paired with mouth-watering kaddu (pumpkin) and aloo- matar curries and chutneys. Besides the scrumptious food, the vibe here crackles with the noisy streets and busy shoppers that make for a perfect Old Delhi picture. All the restaurants serve vegetarian food and are usually full, so be ready to wait for a while. Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan, Babu Ram Paranthe Wala and Pandit Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit are our top picks from this lane.
Location: Gali Paranthe Wali, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, 110006 Price: INR 180 for two Timings: 9am-11pm
For more adventurous activities in Old Delhi, visit Old Delhi tours and activities.