I made a few trips to Lucknow at the start of my career. I mainly ate in the hotel where I was staying then!
It was in my most recent trip to Lucknow that I really got to explore the bounty of great food there. I was armed by a restaurant recommendation list given to me by journalist Kanchan Gupta, who had sourced it from his Lucknow contacts and added to this were some great recommendations from Twitter and Facebook.
The following is a list of five places that I went to and I will go back to for sure when I next go back:
Lucknow and biryani go together. While I had some great biryanis at Wahid’s and Tulsi Gulley (I missed out on Idris), my heart goes out to Lallaji’s Biryani stall at Chaupatiya Chauraha. A hidden gem recommended to me by one time Lucknow boy and twitter friend, Ashim (@Zedvox on twitter). It’s a small shop where Lallaji (possibly the only big Hindu biryani maker in Lucknow), makes the biryani in the afternoon and sells it at night till stocks last.
There will be those who will tell you that Tunday is no longer the same but still, Lucknow is where you will get the real deal and you should try it out. The Aminabad restaurant is run by old man Tunday’s grandson. It is the bigger outlet. The menu is more varied and you get both mutton and beef. However, there is nothing to beat the romance of having the beef kababs and parathas for dinner at the outlet at the more basic eatery which the late Tunday miya’s son runs. The menu here consists of freshly made kababs and parathas.
Dixits Chat House
Lucknow is famous for its chats and Dixits at Chowk, a small stall, run by the founder’s grandson is a good place to go to get your fill of mutter (a lentil based chat), dahi tikki and aloo tikki in the evenings.
Vajpayee Kachori Bhandar
Vajpayee’s, another grandson run stall, this time at Hazratganj is a great place that has freshly fried puris with chole and kachori chole for lunch. Beware, you will have to queue up patiently and wait for your turn. That’s a good sign isn’t it?
If you go to Hazratganj at midnight you will see it flocked by families who have come for a post dinner dessert. Some head to the ice cream vans. Others go to Moti Mahal, a sweet shop, for freshly-fried (fat jalebi-like) immartis with rabris and gulab jamuns. This is the most indulgent way ever to call it a day.
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.