For pocket-friendly, homely regional fare, state bhawans in Delhi are the best bet. Extremely simplistic but super hearty, the meals here are true representatives of their respective state’s local food and hospitality. We’ve listed out some of our favourites for you.
Our Favourite State Bhawans For Homely Regional Food
Be prepared for an experience of dining in a Gujarati home (which translates to 'don’t go expecting a Rajdhani or Suruchi'). The Special Thali gives you unlimited portions of rice, Gujarati dal, kathod, two sabzis, chapatti/thepla, farsaan of the day, khichri, dessert and chaas. The menu is not expansive, but for a simple wholesome meal served with love, Gujarat Bhavan has our vote.
Karnataka Food Centre
While the state guest house is not open to public, this association for promoting Karnataka Cultural Heritage houses one of our favourite Sunday breakfast joints. This quintessential South Indian restaurant serves the best sambar—and limitless bowls of it! Try the Tiffin Thali for a taste of all their goodies, and their Mysore Masala Dosa. Long queues over the weekends, but totally worth the wait!
The canteen is run by popular caterer, Bijoli Grill (you’ve probably come across their outlet at Dilli Haat). The kosha mangsho and luchi (mutton curry and maida puris) are as good as it gets. Typical fish delicacies such as pabda, ilish and chittal are also available in a variety of options. Vegetarians must try their Aloo Posto and Aloo Dum. Needless to say, a Bengali meal is incomplete without mishti doi.
Samridhi, Kerala House
Brown rice, sambar, cabbage thoren, beans sabzi, papad, pickle and delicious rasam and buttermilk make up the vegetarian thali at this state bhawan. Order the fried mackerel to amp it up. They serve Malabar parottas for dinner, and appams for breakfast. Extremely pocket-friendly, homely, coconut-infused goodness, with, of course, unlimited sambar. Getting a table there during lunch hours is a bit tough, so make sue you reach well before time.
Although they boast of some great, non-vegetarian fare, we recommend ordering the vegetarian thali to get a taste of everything on offer. You can always order the prawn curry and the chicken fry separately for a meaty kick. Non-vegetarians are spoiled for choice on weekdays; their mutton curry and chicken fry is something you have to try. They have Hyderabadi biryani for weekend lunches (best for a hungover Sunday meal). Make sure you’re there before 1.30 pm!
Tamil Nadu House Canteen
Apart from the regular dosa, idli and vada, Tamil Nadu House has some great finds, the Chicken Chettinad Biryani topping our list. They also have a bunch of Chinese dishes like chilli chicken, manchurian and fried rice. To sample a little of everything, opt for the South Indian thali (sambar, rasam, rice, kara kalambu, curd, chapati etc).
Viva O Viva, Goa Niwas
This is an awesome weekend spot to visit, if you want to break everyday monotony (we love their interiors). Viva O Viva at the Goa Niwas serves some excellent butter garlic prawns and some tangy delicious pork vindaloo. If you’re not a pork freak, they have a great crab soup and chicken Xacuti you can try. Definitely end that meal with their chocolate pudding.
The Potbelly Cafe, Bihar Niwas
After finding great success in Shahpur Jat for one of the best fusion Bihari cuisines, Potbelly has made its mark at Bihar Niwas, too. The decor is minimal (but tasteful), though the food is what keeps us coming back for more. For starters, their thirst quenchers aam panna and masala lemonade are quite refreshing.Their chicken pakoras and fish choka with marua puri (with two different chutneys) are a must-try, but what steals the show everytime we go there is their litti choka and the khada masala chicken.
Maharashtra Sadan is value for money, and the variety and quantity quite extensive. Apart from the different thalis they serve (Parsi, Kandeshi, Marathawada, etc.) you must order their chicken kohlapuri and fish malwani. Their puran poli is the best you’ll ever taste (as good as homemade). Don’t leave the table without ordering their srikhand.
The seating is indoors and they also offer great breakfast options (yayy!). Also, since it's located close to the India Gate, we guess, a short walk after a meal would be good, right?