India has a diverse and traditionally rich culinary heritage that changes as you travel from one corner of the country to another. Even though there are new ingredients and tastes worth discovering in its various towns, only a few cities in India can genuinely boast of being real foodie destinations.
Amritsar is one of them. There is much to have in this famed city of Punjab for ardent food lovers, and visiting some of the best places to eat in Amritsar is a must for gourmands in search of exotic and unforgettable flavors.
Kesar Da Dhaba
As for legendary eateries in Amritsar, nothing comes close to Kesar Da Dhaba. This humble restaurant dates back to 1916 Pakistan from where Lala Kesar Mal and his wife shifted to Amritsar during the partition in 1947.
Situated a short hop away from the Golden Temple, Kesar Da Dhaba is a 100% vegetarian establishment. Well-known for its Punjabi thali that comes with paranthas and chickpea curry, the dhaba is typically very busy throughout the day with locals and tourists coming and going regularly. Another one of its must-try specialties is maa ki dal. These black lentils cooked in a copper pot over a gentle flame for close to 12 hours have a smooth and creamy disposition that will undoubtedly transport you to gastronomic heaven.
Address: Chowk Passian, near Telephone Exchange, Amritsar, Punjab 143001
No trip to Amritsar is complete without indulging in crispy, hot, stuffed kulchas, which are a particular type of Indian flatbread cooked in a tandoor. Amritsari kulchas are so famous that everyone has a spot they like the best, with Kulcha Land being preferred by many visitors.
A simple setup, there is very little space to sit and eat here. The menu is short and consists of only four kulcha types, with the Amritsari kulcha being the most popular. Cooked in front of your eyes, the stuffed kulchas come with chana – chickpea curry and chutney. A pocket-friendly option, a meal here will cost you less than a dollar. All India Famous, Darshan Lal, and Pahelwan Kulcha are three other places in Amritsar to try kulchas.
Address: Distt Shopping Complex, B – Block, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar, Punjab 143001
Guru Ka Langar
Eating Guru ka langar at the community kitchen in the Golden Temple is a truly divine experience. Any person can come here and have a meal, irrespective of their religion and beliefs. Everyone sits down on the floor together, in rows, and volunteers then serve them the food.
The dishes, prepared by volunteers and a permanent staff of about 300, are simple in their composition, but delicious in taste. A typical meal consists of roti, dal, and a dry vegetable dish along with something sweet. Close to 100,000 people eat at the langar every day. When there is a rush, the kitchen uses a special machine to make up to 25,000 rotis in an hour.
Address: Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006
Makhan Fish Corner
Operational since 1962, Makhan Fish Corner is the must-visit place in Amritsar for non-vegetarians. In contrast to the city’s popular dhabas, this is a proper sit-down restaurant with a comprehensive menu.
The three main dishes to have at Makhan Fish Corner are the fish tikka, the fried fish, also known as Amritsari fish, and the tandoori chicken. Each one features succulent meat with crispy exteriors and comes with coriander chutney and an in-house chat masala that adds a bit of zinginess to the preparations.
Address: 21A, Near Madaan Hospital Makhan Chowk, Majitha Rd, Amritsar, Punjab 143001
Gian Di Lassi
Lassi is an Indian yogurt drink commonly found across Punjab. A refreshing thirst quencher, it is moderately filling and typically comes in a few different flavors. Gian Di Lassi is the place in Amritsar to have lassi, as it also one of the oldest, having served customers since 1921.
Gian Di Lassi offers three types of yogurt drinks, sweet, salted, and a one-of-a-kind pethe (ash gourd) ki lassi. Frothy and served with a dollop of clotted cream on top, the lassi here is blissfully good. The tiny shop also serves sweets of which rabri, a gooey dessert made using condensed milk, is worth trying.
Address: Chowk Regent Cinema, Katra Sher Singh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143001
Tips for visiting Amritsar
With plenty of options around the city, it can be challenging to visit all the famous eateries of Amritsar in one trip. A great way to save time is to look for the ones near tourist spots so that you can visit both together at the same time.