#LBBBestOf Embassy Restaurants & Cultural Centres In The Capital

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Delhi has no dearth of fine dine restaurants serving a plethora of cuisines from across the country and the globe. However, when it comes to authentic, value for money food, it is the bhavans and embassy expat-run restaurants and cafes at cultural institutes which prove the most fruitful. Here are our picks of the latter.

Italian Cultural Centre/Istituto Italiano Di Cultur

Picturesque al fresco seating, pleasant ambience, the café at ICC run by Ritu Dalmia is a delight. Everything we’ve sampled off the menu stood out in terms of freshness of the produce and beauty in its simplicity. The wood fired oven pizzas are a knockout {best Margherita in town}, as is the risotto with prawn and bacon.

While the café is only open to members {and each member may bring up to three guests}, applications for membership are available online. At the cost of INR 4,000 per year, members may avail a host of benefits in addition to access to the café, such as invitations to cultural activities, movie screenings, and use of the library/reading room.

Korean Cultural Centre

A modern building just off the Gupta Market bus stop on Ring Road, the Korean Cultural Centre runs a café dishing out excellent kimbaps, bimgsoo and a delicious green tea shake. This does not offer a restaurant experience, but is frequented by natives for great value, authentic fare.

The centre runs language courses and taek won do lessons regularly, and is also host to art exhibitions and movie screenings. While membership is not required for access to the café, a two-year membership at INR 1,000 will get you a 10 per cent discount plus access to the library.

Ethiopian Cultural Centre

The ethos behind an Ethiopian meal is super endearing–community eating, with the injera {bread made out of fermented teff flour} lining the plate, and a range of savoury dishes adorning it. Vegetarians must try the Beyaynetu for a sampler platter of sorts, and the meat eaters are encouraged to order the Doro Wat {a spicy chicken preparation with berbere} and Beg Tibbs {chilli fried mutton}. Do not miss the coffee!

To get access to this exotic café, one needs to be a member {and each member may bring up to three guests}. Applications for membership are available online, and can also be done on the spot. At the cost of INR 4,000 per year, members may avail benefits like invitations to cultural activities, movie screenings, and use of the library/reading room.

India Islamic Centre

Dilli Dastarkhwan, inside IIC, is managed by Karim’s, and unlike some other branches around town, this one delivers the same quality of food, albeit with a better ambience. The Murg Mussallam is on point, as are the shammi kebabs, Jehangiri Murgh, and sheermal. Finish off the decadent meal with an exquisite phirni.

The restaurant is open to all, although membership at a nominal fee comes with perks such as lodging facilities, conference room etc.

British Council- CAARA Café

Located inside the British Council in CP, CAARA Café caters to the masses of people who come to the British Council library to study, read and sometimes, nap on the beanbags.

Even if you’re not a member, you can get a temporary pass and enter. Be sure to try CAARA’s own blend of coffee and Anandini teas. Highlights of the food menu include the BBQ pulled pork panini and Brownie Square with salted caramel. And while you’re inside, it might be worth your while to check out any exhibitions the British Council may be hosting.

Alliance Francaise de Delhi

Delhi’s most premium French institute, Alliance Francaise welcomes all those wanting to learn or brush up on their French skills. Although they’re pretty finicky about letting just anyone enter on a regular basis, they also host a bunch of events and movie screenings when it’s open to all. This is when you make a beeline to their canteen. With both indoor and outdoor seating and a diverse menu, chances are you’ll be pretty happy perched here. However, do not go expecting gourmet French food.

They serve a bunch of comfort food including thick crepes, sandwiches, burgers, noodles, north Indian thalis and a stellar iced tea, which they brew fresh. This tends to be on the strong side, so you may want to specify if you want yours to be light.

To enrol for classes, click here.

{with inputs from Navni Kumar}