Pondicherry may be known for its heritage value, but it is also quite popular for the food it has to offer. Everyone comes to the city with a fixed plan in mind — soak up some sun on the beaches, meditate and learn how to live an organic life in Auroville, or down a few cheap drinks.
However, if you stay long enough, you will find some of the best street food in Pondicherry staring back at you from the many eateries that dot this coastal city. Take the time out to sample as much as you can.
1. Food Coma with the Best Food in Pondicherry
Pondicherry’s universal township offers tourists and locals alike a number of nature-friendly meal options. At Solar Kitchen, you can get organic all-vegetarian meals. You can also tuck into a Tamilian thali at Solitude Farm.
Vegan dishes are yours to savour at Roma’s Kitchen as are some of the best fresh cheeses at Le Ferme Cheese. If you thought your options end here, you are in for a surprise, and a treat (literally).
2. The French Connection- Tamil quarter
The arrival of the French in 1673 has left a lasting impact on Pondicherry’s hotels, food and shops. Croissants, baguettes and eclairs? You can get them all here. You can find the best French food served in the Tamil quarter. However, not all the food you find here is French.
Most of it is Creole, the hybrid Franco-Tamil cuisine that brings together Tamilian spices with French ingredients. If you’re trying to picture it, consider garam masala, tamarind and coconut combined with rosemary, basil, thyme and French cream.
3. Creole Calling at La Maison Tamoule
The best place to binge on Creole cuisine is La Maison Tamoule at Neemrana Hotel. The Creole section offers delicious fare. The Pachai eral curry is a lightly spiced green prawn curry that goes well with a crisp baguette.
They also serve a mean Chicken vindaloo that is quite different from the Goan version. This has coconut and a spattering of curry leaves. It goes best with fragrant butter rice. If you are on the lookout for best food places in Pondicherry, this ranks high.
4. Breakfast break- Baker Street
Another breakfast favourite is Baker Street. This French-style bakery serves French bread and sweets like mille-feuille, beignets, brioche, madeleines and palmiers. The all-women staff is reticent until they surprise you by speaking French.
The beef sandwich should be tasted. A lightly seasoned, the moist beef patty is nestled between lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a fried egg on brown bread. Vegetarians can opt for tofu and mushroom sandwiches with a generous helping of cheese.
5. Dessert Trail at Zuka
Dessert has only one address in Pondicherry — Zuka, on Mission Street. In the five years since it started operations, this little cafe cum-store is the go-to place to satisfy your chocolate craving. Here, chocolate is the only ingredient. Everything is made of chocolate.
Srinath Balachandran, the store’s owner, who once sold chocolates at his mother’s flower shop, is in love with dark chocolate. It’s in the chocolate pakodas as well as the liqueur chocolates. Zuka has 138 products, 60 of which can be bought at the store.
6. Traditional Fare- Suruguru
If you are craving a traditional South Indian fare in Pondicherry, Suruguru is the place you should visit. It is a popular haunt for those who enjoy traditional South Indian breakfast. Some of the highlights here include the Pongal, vada-sambar, the onion uttapams, and dosas.
You also have the option of trying out different kinds of idlis, which you can wash down with a cup of coffee. You should also keep a tab on the day’s special. You can always try their thali if you are planning to go there for lunch. While Suruguru may not be termed as one of the places that serve street food in Pondicherry, it sure feels good.
7. Comfort Food at Hotel Aristo
Hotel Aristo on Nehru Street offers great non-vegetarian South Indian food. It is quite renowned for biriyani, parottas and kothu Parottas as well as pepper, onion masala.
Anjappar in Kamaraj Salai serves some of the best Chettinad cuisines. This apart, the Appachi restaurant in Rangapillai Street also serves close to authentic spicy Chettinad non-vegetarian food. If you are looking for delicious, local fare, these eateries should be on your must-visit list.
8. Budget food by Hotel Sri Kamatchi
Another eatery that serves good local fare is Hotel Sri Kamatchi. Try the Kal dosai, prawn kamatchi or the non-veg biryani. All of these dishes are infused with local spices and flavour. The warm ambience and genuine hospitality make up for the lack of decor and the plain surroundings. A meal for two at this eatery would cost around Rs 300.
9. The iconic eatery at the Indian Coffee House
In order to truly appreciate Pondicherry, you need to visit places that identify with its glorious past. The Indian Coffee House is an iconic reminder of what the city has to offer. Snack to your heart’s content on cheap, South Indian favourites like dosas, vada and uttapam here.
You can also get your fix of the famous filter coffee for just Rs 20. It’s also, incidentally, where Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi begins. It should, therefore, be termed as one of the best food places in Pondicherry.
10. Veggie Delight by Villa Shanti
Villa Shanti is renowned for its food and contemporary French architecture. If you are looking for a wholesome dining option, this should definitely be it. In fact, dinner here is recommended. You can start your evening by sipping on their cocktails, which should be paired with a Green Papaya Salad or Masala Fried Vegetables (a tweak on Masala Fried Chicken listed on the regular menu).
Vegetarian curries and dals are flavourful but try the Zucchini pancakes with walnuts or the Mr. & Mrs Smith Pasta for Continental options. You can always end your meal with the Orange & Almond Cake or Crepe Suzette. This might not feature as the best street food in Pondicherry, but it sure does qualify as comfort food.
With so much food on offer, Pondicherry is definitely a foodie’s paradise. Do you recommend other eateries that might not have made the list? Let us know in the comments below.