What A Foodie's Trail Around Ahmedabad's Universities Reveals
Image Credit: Vibrant street food stalls line Ahmedabad's HL Road

This article is part of Slurrp's Friday Food Walks. Catch up with our previous tours, through Chennai's Sowcarpet, Kolkata's Simla Mishti Para, Chandigarh's Punjab University precinctJaipur's MI Road, and Srinagar's Dargah Hazratbal.


AHMEDABAD, a city renowned for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant history, has an undeniable connection with its diverse culinary landscape. As I embarked on a remarkable gastronomic journey through the bustling streets surrounding the city's universities, I discovered a world where food transcends barriers, bridges gaps, and weaves together the fabric of society. This food trail, a testament to Ahmedabad's unity in diversity, takes us on a whirlwind tour of flavours that harmonise the highs and lows of societal distinctions.

Set against the backdrop of Ahmedabad's spirited community, the area around the universities offers an array of culinary experiences that reflect the city's cosmopolitan essence. From street food stalls to family-run cafes, each establishment paints a vivid picture of the city's collective spirit, embodying the idea that food is not merely sustenance but a binding force that unites people --- all on a singular trial for anybody to follow.

The journey commences at Café Mleko, a charming haven tucked within the city's bustling streets. This quaint cafe exudes a European ambience, offering a delightful escape for coffee aficionados. With European-style coffee taking centre stage, the menu presents a tantalising selection of both sweet and savoury delights. The classic cream cheese bagel and Barrel-aged cold brew form an exquisite pairing that kickstarts the culinary adventure.

As I settled into a cosy corner of Café Mleko, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee tantalised me, even as I eagerly anticipated my first bite of the cream cheese bagel. The combination of smooth cream cheese nestled within the warm embrace of a perfectly toasted bagel created a symphony of textures and flavours. Paired with the barrel-aged cold brew, the experience was a crescendo of coffee notes that has always kept me coming back for more.

The trail then leads to the vibrant street food stalls lining HL Road. Here, a mosaic of aromas and tastes captivates the senses. From the ever-popular frankie to the zesty chaat, comforting Maggi, and local favourites like vada pav and paratha, the stalls offer a tapestry of flavours that cater to diverse palates. Amid this vibrant atmosphere, the cold cocoa emerges as a standout, complementing the medley of street food delights.

Adjacent to the bustling street food stalls, Ambica Dalwada stands as an emblem of Ahmedabad's monsoon cravings. Come rain or shine, patrons flock to this humble storefront for its famous dalwadas. As the heavens opened up, and rain kissed the city streets, I found myself drawn to the modest charm of Ambica Dalwada. The aroma of freshly fried wadas mingles with the scent of petrichor, creating a sensory experience that is both comforting and invigorating. The crispy exterior of the wada gives way to a soft, flavorful interior.

Just across the street from Ambica Dalwada is The Poutinerie, an innovative food outlet that introduces a touch of Canada to the Ahmedabadi landscape. The cheesy supreme poutine is a cultural marvel representing Canadian comfort food flavours. The experience is elevated further by pairing it with a cold glass of French vanilla coffee.

The sight of steaming hot poutine, adorned with cheesy sauce and vibrant garnishes, ignited my curiosity, as this combination is rare to find in the city. The cheesy flavours of the sauce intertwined with the creamy comfort of the poutine, creating a harmonious balance that was both surprising and satisfying. And as I sipped on the French vanilla coffee, the coldness of the beverage contrasted beautifully with the vibrant flavours of the poutine, elevating the entire experience.

Nestled nearby, Red Rose Cafe holds a heartwarming narrative within its walls. As a family-run establishment, it intertwines tradition and flavour seamlessly. Beyond the menu, the cafe's story resonates with the city's history, making the experience a delightful look into the Amdavadi spirit.

Entering Red Rose Cafe was akin to stepping into a time capsule that encapsulated generations of flavours and memories. The dishes bore testament to the cafe's legacy, a legacy that continued to thrive with each bite. The classic mac and cheese is the perfect representation of the homestyle food that they serve and I really enjoy going back for it every time. Another highlight of Red Rose is the Chinese Bhej with cut-up Manchurian pieces, a delight of flavours and easy-to-eat, exactly what comfort food should be.

Brewgarten has been a sanctuary for me, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the sound of animated conversations, a place where I often spend my time reading. The students that visit seem to find solace in the embrace of their coffee cups as they share laughter with friends. The Vietnamese cold brew has always been a standout. Paired with the classic carrot cake, you have a harmonious dance of sweetness and depth. 

Dakshinayan brings the tapestry of South Indian cuisine to the fore. The fiery Chettinad maligu dosai finds its perfect match in an in-house ginger ale, showcasing the harmony of spices and flavours intrinsic to the region.

As I stepped into Dakshinayan, the aroma of spices enveloped me, while the menu beckoned with a promise of flavours that were bold, dynamic and unapologetically authentic. The Chettinad maligu dosai was scrumptious, with a burst of spices that set my taste buds ablaze. Paired with the in-house ginger ale, a personal favourite, the dosai seemed to come alive with each bite, creating a sensory experience that celebrated the complexity of South Indian cuisine. It was a reminder that food could be a conduit to distant lands, offering a taste of culture and tradition in every mouthful.

Mocha, a prominent fixture in Ahmedabad's culinary panorama, beckons with its inviting ambience and diverse menu. Mocha is like a mixing pot of flavours, with each dish having a vibrant hue that adds to the overall essence. The ambience seemed to mirror the city itself: dynamic, welcoming, and endlessly diverse. As I savoured the honey chilli lotus stem, which is something I order every time I visit the establishment, the mezze platter, and the wild mushroom spaghetti, I marvelled at how the dishes captured the essence of Ahmedabad's culinary scene — the embodiment of cosmopolitanism — a beautiful fusion of flavours that was at once comforting and exciting. And as I sipped on the lemon mint green iced tea, I couldn't help but appreciate the delicate balance of the beverage, which served as a refreshing palate cleanser between bites.

Tucked in a corner right next to the Hollywood Basti is The Mad House Cafe, which offers an English breakfast experience that is evergreen. From hearty platters to indulgent mushroom and cheese sauce pancakes, breakfast becomes an all-day affair here. This has been my go-to breakfast place for a long time.

The Mad House Cafe is an outdoor space that lets you exist in peace with your cravings. The chicken English breakfast boasts an assortment, paired with a virgin mojito, and then there was the mushroom and cheese sauce pancake — a savoury pile of flavours and textures that defied convention and is one of my personal favourites. With each bite, I was transported to a world where breakfast was not just a meal but an experience, a sentiment that resonated deeply with the city's philosophy of celebrating every moment.

The food trail culminates at the street food stalls beside Gujarat University, where Roothraj's famous rabdi muskabun, takes centre stage. This sweet treat encapsulates the essence of Ahmedabad's street food culture, reflecting the city's flavours and traditions.

As I stood amidst the bustling energy of the GU street stalls, the aroma of freshly prepared delicacies wafted through the air, invoking a sense of anticipation. The sight of Roothraj's rabdi muskabun, replete with a rich rabdi filling, seemed to capture the very essence of Ahmedabad's street food culture, a fusion of tradition and innovation that delighted both the senses and the soul. With each bite, I couldn't help but marvel at how a seemingly simple dish could encapsulate the city's culinary heritage, offering a glimpse into the stories, flavours, and traditions that had shaped Ahmedabad's culinary tapestry, bringing to an end the trail that takes you around the universities and through a journey of gastronomical revelations.