Delhi’s Iconic Food Institutions
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Be it chhole bhature or pizza, Delhi has a spot for every craving. Over the years, some Delhi establishments have gone on to become iconic because of the food they serve, and the clientele and recognition they get. These restaurants have gained the respect of people in the city to such an extent that they have become classics. 


Famous for its ice cream and sundaes, Nirula’s also became known for its pizzas and burgers, which it served under the banner ‘Hot Shoppe’. Deemed Delhi’s first fast food restaurant, Nirula’s was established in 1977 by a gentleman of the same name. Despite the rise of chains like Pizza Hut and Dominos and a variety of Italian restaurants, the pizza at Nirula’s remains unrivalled. The hot chocolate fudge sundae and lime ice cream soda are also unique to the restaurant and can’t be found elsewhere. 

United Coffee House

Back in 1942, Connaught Place lacked a coffee house and so United Coffee House was established. United Coffee House originally started off as an ‘adda’: a place for people to gather at and chat over coffee. It forayed into food by starting to sell typical street snacks from Old Delhi and became a full-fledged restaurant in the 60s. Initially, the menu was a mix of Old Delhi Kayasth food and Frontier Province Pakistani food. Later, cuisines like Anglo-Indian and Calcutta club food were added. The place is known for its cheese balls. 

Bengali Sweet House

Another central Delhi institution, Bengali Sweet House in Bengali Market was initially only a sweet shop. It later started serving savoury food like chhole bhature, chaat, dosa and even Indian-Chinese. Bengali Sweet House was established by Lala Bhimsain Ji, who came to Delhi in 1936 and opened the shop in 1937. Lala Bhimsain Ji was responsible for bringing the concept of hot & cold refrigeration machines to India from Germany in 1958. Today, the place is known for its mithai and chhole bhature across Delhi.

Nathu’s Sweets

Bang opposite Bengali Sweet House in Bengali Market stands Nathu’s Sweets. Although the two are competitors, no tension can be felt by customers who enjoy chaat and chhole bhature. Since 1939, Nathu’s has been a family business that sells mithai, namkeen and traditional food. A few steps away, Nathu’s also has a bakery that makes excellent cream rolls, cakes, cookies and kebabs. To open a bakery within the vicinity of Delhi’s favourite Wenger’s was indeed a brave business decision. 

Moti Mahal

Considered the restaurant chain that invented butter chicken and dal makhani, Moti Mahal has been responsible for popularising Mughlai cuisine. The restaurant chain specialises in tandoor-cooked food and was first established in Peshawar in 1920. It came to Delhi’s Daryaganj in 1947 and other outlets followed. Moti Mahal has been credited with the invention of tandoori chicken, which was even introduced to Pandit Nehru. The restaurant chain is now managed by Monish Gujral.