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Kolkata is perceived as a city filled with carnivorous people. The options for vegetarians are not in plenty. However, with rising influx of people from across the country as well as the growing Gujarati and Marwari population, the need for vegetarian only restaurants is also on an imminent incline. There are several such joints but let’s look at a few good vegetarian options in the city.
Casa Kitchen always tops the recall list of vegetarian-only places. Over the years, they have made their mark in the city. Located at Minto Park, this is the in-house restaurant of Casa Fortuna and is immensely popular amongst vegetarian travellers who are put up in the hotel as well as locals. With an Indian, European and Oriental spread, their food has earned a reputation for being meticulous and consistent in taste and quality. Try their salads, sandwiches, Dal Casa and Vegetable Lasagne amongst many are worth trying.
Cafe 4/1, located at the crossing of Shakespeare Sarani and Camac Street, has a beautiful indoor as well as the outdoor setting. The place is thronged by youngsters as well as women with children back from shopping in the area. Try the shakes and mocktails on a hot afternoon and you will not be left unhappy. DIY sandwiches, Jain Style Risotto, pizzas, pasta, nachos, Garlic Bread, Pesto Khandvi are all presented sophistically and are popular with the patrons.
Mumbai Local at Ballygunge has a local train like ambience and the wall décor immediately reminds you of the city of dreams. The food is as good in its presentation, as it is in taste. The menu covers all the popular flavours of Mumbai street food such as the Vada Pav, Pav Bhaaji, Chowpatty Pani Puri, Mamaji’s Grilled Sandwiches, etc. The menu is very interestingly curated and each dish is named after a famous Mumbai joint or area, adding to the local touch and enthusiasm.
Teej is an excellent pure vegetarian restaurant located in the commercial hub of Park Street. A Rajasthani ambience with a hundred percent vegetarian menu, this place has been one of the favourites among the Marwari and Rajasthani population for many years. Although they offer a small Chinese menu which consists of items like the crispy baby corn and chilli potato, a couple of continental dishes like Veg Au Gratin and an Indian tandoori menu; it is the Marwar ka jaika which will make one salivate. Try the Puran Poli style super thin stuffed bedmi puri or the Maharaja Thali, which will leave you asking to come back for more.
Balwant Singh’s Eating House at Bhawanipur is perhaps the only vegetarian place open till 3 AM. Always crowded inside as well as rows of cars lined up outside with people flocking to have their famous tea or the Doodh Cola, the strange concoction of milk and cola along with some samosas; this place is a jewel of the city for its stellar Punjabi vegetarian fare.
Hakuna Matata is the first and only vegetarian fusion food restaurant in Park Street and promises to be a food lover’s delight. The décor with the Hakuna Matata theme imbibed all over the walls is peppy and the staff super friendly. The presentation of the drinks is very interesting and adds to the fun appeal of the place. This vegetarian food joint has gained immense popularity with all the food wanderers, looking to enjoy fusion food with some of the best mocktails in town. The Matata Cooler is a must try after a hot busy day. The pizza is a special draw with your choice of toppings and seasoning. One must also try tit bits like Avocado Pani Puri, Jeere Aloo Posto Bhaja Chat, Litti Chokha Shot, Gn Tso’s Cauliflower and more.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.