If you’ve been in Chennai for over a year, and have not eaten at Anandam at the Maris Hotel, you’re missing out. A throwback to the 80s, Anandam on Cathedral Road is done up in white and blue, there are tables and chairs to suit groups of four or two. Old school and fuss-free.Open for breakfast until dinner, you’ll be wise to start the day with crisp Medhu Vedai dunked in hot sambhar, masala dosa and coffee.
For lunch or dinner, don’t even think twice. Simply order the Chennai Meals at Hotel Maris. Priced at INR 160, you can pick from puris or chapattis (limited), and then loosen your belt and load up on the unlimited rice. These guys serve four vegetables that could be different on each day — from kose poriyal (cabbage) and urulai podimas (spicy potato) to avial and kootu, in addition to sambhar, rasam, divine cucumber raita and morekolambu. Wait, there’s more! A massive plate-sized appalam, dal (low on salt, however), curd (duh), pickle and kesari (limited). But our favourite was vathakulambu just like it is at home — tangy and piquant!
Hotel Maris also has a few North Indian dishes, including tandoori stuff, comfort Indo-Chinese food (think gobi manchurian and fried rice), and a few curries to be had with kulchas, parathas or naan. And for dessert, go old school — gulab jamoon with ice cream or fruit salad with ice cream. And of course, there's filter coffee.