Culinary tourism has been one of the most significant trends in the travel industry over the last decade. Tourists are no longer satisfied with eating fast food from familiar branded restaurants. Instead, they now eagerly search for places that serve dishes made with local ingredients and packed with regional flavors. In Pondicherry’s famous restaurants, ardent food lovers will primarily find a beautiful fusion of Tamil and French cuisine, but also hints of Portuguese, British, and South Asian cooking.
Café des Arts
If there is one café in Pondicherry you should definitely explore, it is Café des Arts. The bright yellow façade of the eatery is renowned in the entire region as locals often come here for coffee and snacks or to take in the alluring vibe of the Pondy lifestyle.
Inside, there is an Indo-French quirkiness to the place, making it one of the most Instagrammable spots in Pondicherry. While the cycle rickshaw in one corner and the underrated simplicity of the furniture is vintage gold, the menu at Café des Arts highlights French comfort food with mouth-wateringly good tartines, crepes, waffles, gazpacho, and the classic ham and cheese croque.
Address: 10, Suffren St, White Town, Puducherry, 605001
Villa Shanti is amongst the most popular destinations in Pondicherry, both for being a great place to stay and for its food. The 15-bedroom boutique hotel has two options for food lovers, a restaurant and a café bar, each full of character and appeal. Irrespective of which eatery you choose, there is a natural flow to the spaces that change from open-air seating to a patio to an enclosed airconditioned area.
The menu at the restaurant in Villa Shanti is extensive and covers both Indian and continental food. Vegetarians should try their refreshingly tasty thick cauliflower soup, dal makhani, and methi parantha. Villa Shanti has more options for non-vegetarians, of which, the keema naan, pan-seared barracuda, chicken L’orange, and the patrani slipper lobster is a must. The café, on the other hand, has quick bites such as sandwiches and various coffees, teas, and alcoholic drinks.
Address: 14 rue, Suffren St, White Town, Puducherry, 605001
Bay of Buddha
Situated on the rooftop of The Promenade, a seaside hotel in Pondicherry’s French Quarter, Bay of Buddha is the most romantic spot in the city to have dinner. The restaurant serves a mix of Asian delicacies, but the main charm of eating here is the sea view that never fails to complement the fresh food on your plate.
Evenings at Bay of Buddha are the best with mood lighting, adding to the romantic aura. A cool sea breeze keeps the temperature in check. First-time customers should opt for the chef’s four-course tasting menu, which offers sushi, soup, and honey sesame lamb, amongst other options. Else, start your meal with a vegetarian sampler platter and move on to taste the Cambodian Khmer fish and vegetable curry. Finally, end your night by experimenting with the exotic deliciousness of the ginger miso ice cream.
Address: 23 The Promenade, Goubert Ave, White Town, Puducherry, 605001
A gorgeous Tamilian house converted into a restaurant, Appachi is the best restaurant in Pondicherry for foodies who want to savor regional fare. The eatery has a laidback cafeteria feel to it, although the décor tries to replicate the subtly of a local home, which adds to the ambiance’s appeal. However, with bare minimum emphasis on the décor, the focus falls entirely on the food.
Gourmands will particularly appreciate the opportunity to taste Chettinad food that takes inspiration from various South Asian cuisines but has its own distinct taste and style. Some of the common ingredients used in this type of cooking are bay leaf, dried flower pods, red chilies, fenugreek, and tamarind. The restaurant has North Indian food on its menu, but you should opt for their coastal favorites like chicken Chettinad, crab masala, shark minced, and mutton biryani. Moreover, at Appachi, you can have a hearty meal on a budget.
Address: 11, Ranga Pillai St, MG Road Area, Puducherry, 605001
Come during the daytime or at night, and Coromandel will brighten your mood with the lushness of its magical setting. Located inside La Maison Rose, the restaurant takes pride in plating European classics while sourcing ingredients locally. Guests can also browse around a bookstore and a clothes boutique housed in the same location while waiting for their food to arrive.
As one of the most attractive restaurants in Pondicherry, Coromandel is a must-visit. Remember to try their hot pink benedict from the all-day breakfast section, the pulled pork sandwich roll, or one of their specialties, the pumpkin dauphinoise. As for a beverage, go with the lavender white or chili chai for something you are not likely to find elsewhere.
Address: 8, Romain Rolland St, White Town, Puducherry, 605001