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If it is Christmas, which are the places in the city of joy where you would not give a pass? Park Street, right? During the holy month of Ramazan, if you want to take your taste buds for a whirlwind tour, which place comes to your mind first? Zakaria Street is the place.
Situated in North Kolkata near Nakhoda Masjid, this place during Iftar offers some of the best delicacies which otherwise are not found in Kolkata from Iftar to Sehri. And during Ramazan, the discussions perhaps start and end with Haleem. A special Ramazan dish Haleem, is like that one dish which everyone aims to cook to excellence during this time. It is a tough choice to pick the best haleem which is available here but if you are adventurous, then why not try out some of the veterans in business like Sufia Restaurant (run by Ahmed Rasool- this is more than 50 years old) or Jadid Islamia Hotel in Colootola Street is more than 75 years old. There are many more in the area, some only operational during Ramazan and some survive throughout the year on Mughlai Food. Haleem is only one aspect of the entire Ramazan feast in Zakaria Street. There are stalls selling various sorts of bread and Bakarkhani is the most popular one, stalls selling Chicken Changrezi and Mahi Akbari. Some call them the Zakaria Street's response to KFC but accompanied by green chutney, in both the cases, the protein is marinated with secret spices and then on order, are deep fried and served. Walking a little ahead, as you go near the Chuna Gali, you may just miss Adams Kebab Shop. Almost a hole in the wall, this shop has made Suta Kabab famous. A Kabab made out of mince beef with enough fat to melt in the mouth is tied with a string on a sheek and then grilled. Finally, the string is removed before serving. Their Boti Kabab is also world class and some of the best Mughlai restaurants will never be able to replicate that taste. Almost next door is Haji Allauddin, a sweet shop, where some say that the Gulab Jamuns are the best in the city. More than a hundred years old, this shop has most of the sweets made in ghee and their Imartis and Mawa Laddus are all meant to take you on a royal sweet journey. They even sell Mutton and Chicken Samosas for the meat lovers. Other than the above, there are several more who offer a variety of kebabs and other dishes like Muradabadi Laziz Kabab, Dilshaad Laziz Kabab, Kheeri Masala, Sewais, Lachchas, Dal Puris, Shahi Tukdas, Sheermals and more.
If walking around in the humidity is not your cup of tea, then there are options of several restaurants which offer an elaborate iftar menu. Sanjha Chulha, a city restaurant famous for its Punjabi food, is offering a whole range of curated dishes for Iftar all the way to Eid. From Cut Fruits, Falooda, Fried Chicken, an array of kababs, the very popular Mutton Haleem, Hyderabadi Biryani, Keema Muttur, Chicken 65, Kachoris, to Shahi Tukdas and so much more find their way to this special menu in the evening post sundown.
Alfresco, at The Lalit Great Eastern, like every year, is doing Iftar special buffet on Fridays only till Eid. The buffet spread is splendidly elaborate and on entering, immediately creates a sense of cheerfulness and warmth. There are live counters for Pav Bhaji, Mutton Keema Bhaji, Ghughni, Jalebis and the jewel in their crown- Hyderabadi Mutton Haleem and Sheermal, which is perhaps only found at this place in the city. The main course has a selection of Mughlai and other dishes like Rezala, Biryanis, Khichada, Middle Eastern delicacies, desserts like Baklava, Sewaiyan, Phirni, Zarda and the likes.
Jameson Inn Shiraz Hotel has Ramazan special on their menu which they offer in both their all day dining- Park Pavilion as well as The GT Route. The Iftar platter has Mughlai delicacies which are bound to make you salivate at a very reasonable pricing. Shiraz Golden restaurant, which is bang opposite to the above, has a variety of haleem on the offering and like every year, there is a que of people to fight through to get to your haleem. And the city has enough options for a haleem trail across various Biryani joints and Mughlai restaurants like Arsalan, India Restaurant, Alia, Zeeshaan and so on.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.