Pondicherry / Puducherry is an exemplary place for anyone who is a foodie at heart as it serves irresistible food. Franco-Pondicherry or Pondicherry cuisine has been union territory’s best-kept secret. The flavors are mild and the fusion between the French and Tamil is what makes this cuisine unique and different from the rest of India. Moreover, there are plenty of options when it comes to this cuisine for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians.
Since it was a former French colony it’s not surprising that the cuisine is strongly influenced by the French way of life. Few typical French dishes have been adapted to suit taste buds used to spicier Indian food yet with minimum use of spices. However, the sea-food is very well known here and at the same time staples like idli, wada’s and dosa\’s are part of their day-to-day indulgence. Coconut makes its mark in a good number of dishes. As with French cuisine, accompaniments like onion soup, salad, and bread are served with the meal. Since they are influenced a lot by the French world the baked goods and chocolates are something worth trying. Food is the best way to explore any place and to get the taste and flavor of local food one needs to explore the place and be bold enough to try out different options. From local food to European cuisine, from freshly baked goods to soft idlis, Pondicherry has lots to offer and to tantalize your taste buds. Here is s a list of 6 Best places to eat in Pondicherry in no particular order and recommending a few of the dishes that I have tried.
1) Bread and Chocolate
In the month of February, I had a trip to Pondicherry with 2 of my girlfriends. Considering the fact that we all were foodies, trying new places for breakfast, lunch and dinner was the first thing on our minds. I had heard a lot about this bakery “Bread and Chocolate” from vlogs and blogs, so without any doubt, the first breakfast option that we had planned was here. Bread and Chocolate is a pleasant and charming little cafe situated in Auroville that is very well known for Organic chocolates, freshly baked bread, and marvelous chocolates. This Cafe serves amazing sourdough bread sandwiches, the best croissants, refreshing smoothie bowls, and unbeatable coffee to name a few. This place is ideal for those who want to start off their day with a healthy, delicious, and wholesome breakfast. Bread & Chocolate, the café, is the brainchild of Trulson and his friend Jane Mason (of Mason & Co Chocolates). They had been toying with the idea of opening something together and when Trulson returned from Italy that things really started to come together. “We found a space, got serious, and started designing the menu. We have a great marriage of skill and ideas and a similar ideal for the cafe,” says the baker, and from the day they opened, it was packed. Trulson now wakes up at 5 am to go to his bakery (his bakers, who he is very happy to pass on “every bit of knowledge to”, start at 4 am). After a quick trip to the cafe around 8.30 am, he wraps up work at the bakery where he folds and shapes, and bakes all the bread, croissants, and pastries. Back at the cafe, the crew preps for lunch that could be their Summer Time Tartine (two poached eggs on sourdough, pickled onions, local ricotta, oven-roasted tomatoes, and house-made pesto) or their Tropical Smoothie Bowl, most produce being sourced organically from around Auroville. By 2-3 pm, Trulson is free to go spend time with his family, cooking them dinner, and he admittedly “goes to bed pretty early”. Seating arrangements are made outside and this is a self-service cafe, so look at the menu, decide your order, remove your shoes outside and then enter the cafe to place the order. As soon as you enter the cafe you can smell freshly baked bread and feel as if you are in chocolate heaven. We were truly spoiled for choices as there were 3-4 vegetarian options of sourdough sandwiches to select from. There were many tempting dishes that we wanted to try out.
This is what we had ordered:
1) Mediterranean sourdough sandwiches (tasted so delicious and fresh) Totally worth it.
2) Cold coffee ( This was the best coffee we had tasted here)
3) Freshly baked croissants ( they were so soft and buttery) It felt as if we were sitting in a Cafe at Champs–Élysées in Paris- need I say more??
4) Tropical smoothie bowl ( so so refreshing with their homemade cacao nibs and chocolate granola) Highly recommended.
5) Bread toast with bitter dark chocolate and served with maple syrup (good but we could not finish the entire portion as it was too bitter for us.
Also, read review of Tea Villa Cafe for Vegetarians
2) Dilliwaala 6
Dilliwaala 6 is a pure vegetarian North Indian Restaurant that serves authentic and lip-smacking north Indian cuisine. The decor of the place is very colorful and quirky with an Indian touch and glimpse of Delhi street. It is an excellent place for family, girls, kids, large groups, and kitty parties. The food served here is fresh, delectable and the service is also very quick.
After our tiring search for Jain food (for one of my friends) at White town for a while, we finally settled here and they served some yummylicious Jain Paneer, dal makhani, and hot mint kulchas. The lunch was extremely satisfying and the prices were moderate. We clicked lots of pictures here and headed for shopping near White Town.
Location and Contact Information:
The next day we came here again for dinner. We had opted for a grilled club sandwich that was nice and crispy loaded with vegetables, naan pizzas, and a couple of mocktails. Overall the food, ambiance, and feel of this place were fantastic.
3) Cafe Zuka
If you are in Pondicherry, you just can not miss this place Cafe Zuka. Cafe Zuka is very known for its chocolates, coffee, pastries, and sandwiches that are called zandwiches. They have the best of chocolates and some mouth-watering desserts. The options are wide and everything here is amazing.
Also, read review of Poetry by Love and Cheesecake, m favourite Cafe
Tanto is a place that one cannot miss while in Auroville. It serves the best pizzas and tiramisu. Just loved the. Chilled out vibe at this place. You may end up chatting with a few strangers here. Well, I will. Also, recommend the House ice tea here which was so good. So chuck the colas here.
5) Villa Helena
A heritage guest house, restaurant, and bar that has colonial vibes and is home to most of the tourists. The ambiance is romantic, with candle lights and soothing music. Food is good, we had ordered a linguine pasta dish which was really good and the quantity and price were at par. Also, the dessert and drinks we tried were good. If you want to have a decent meal with a nice ambiance do try this out.
6) Risque- The Promenade
One of the most famous and hyped places to dine at Promenade was Risqué. However, read for our personal experience. This place has a very nice ambiance, a great crowd, and lovely music. It’s almost occupied by foreigners. The service here sucked as the staff was less but they were mainly looking after the big crowd. Coming to the simple drink like. Mojito, they could not make it properly. They didn’t have basics like buttermilk and the staff refused to understand or cooperate. Also, they goofed up with the Jain dishes, etc. But coming to the taste of food, it was delicious. They gave us complimentary desserts to compensate for their mistakes.
Overall, it seemed like a rough day with the staff and chefs, but it happens at times. So overall I would recommend this place for good North Indian food.
This is the list of the places that we had been to and liked the most. However, there are many places to dine and wine in Pondicherry that I would visit on my next trip.