Top 15 Iconic Food Joints From Pre-Independence Days That Are Filled With Nostalgia

by Drishti

India, as a nation, is often defined by its colourful culture. And food, is clearly one of the best ways to recognise this. From humble cafes to restaurants, every food joint here has a story to tell. On the occasion of this Independence Day, here are 15 iconic food joints from the pre-Independence days.

1. Tunday Kababi, Lucknow

Known all over the world for their hearty, melt-in-the-mouth galouti kebabs, Tunday Kababi started way back in 1905. It is said that Haji Murad Ali, the chef who started this eatery, had lost his left hand in a kite accident. Nonetheless, he won everyone’s hearts with his delicious, flavourful kebabs. So, make sure you don’t miss out indulging on these kebabs in Lucknow, apparently cooked with over 160 spices!

2. Pancham Pooriwala, Mumbai

With a little money in his pocket, and a delicious puri bhaji recipe in his heart, Pancham Sharma walked 1000 km and started this iconic eatery. One of Fort’s must-visit food joints today, people visit Pancham Puriwala to gorge on lip-smacking “aaloo bhople ki sabzi” with piping hot puris. What’s interesting though, is that it was born over 180 years ago, and is one of Mumbai’s oldest!

3. Britannia and Co., Mumbai

Serving the best of authentic Parsi cuisine, Britannia and Co. was established in 1923. Eating at this iconic food joint is pretty much like time-travelling. The rustic interiors, wall décor, tables and chairs are quite reminiscent of an era that was. The mutton and chicken berry pulao are their signature dishes, and spell pure delight!

4. Shri Sagar – Bengaluru

If you find yourself looking for some authentic filter coffee and masala dosa, look no further. Serving some hearty South Indian dishes since 1940s, Shri Sagar or CTR (Central Tiffin Room) is your place to go! You can find this humble food joint in Malleshwaram, and gorge on their famous benne masala dosas, and some amazingly soft idlis.

5.  Karim’s Delhi

When it comes to the food capital of India, the answer isn’t usually different from its political one. Delhi houses some of the best eateries that dish out heaven on a plate. Karim’s Delhi is one such iconic restaurant serving the best of non-vegetarian fare in Chandni Chowk, since a long time. The eatery is apparently more than a 100 years old, and is quite famous for its succulent meat dishes.

6. Favourite Cabin, Kolkata

Nutan Chandra Barua and his elder brother Gaur Chandra Barua started Favourite Cabin somewhere in 1918. Subash Chandra Bose was often spotted at this iconic joint, which also served as a centre for those who participated in the freedom struggle. Favourite Cabin is popular among students for its hearty tea, biscuits and generously buttered toasts.

Picture Credits: Favourite Cabin/ Facebook

Also Read: 6 Lesser-Known Bengali Dishes That Will Transport You To The Lanes Of Kolkata

7. Dorabjee and Sons, Pune

Serving some of the most delicious, authentic Parsi food in Pune, Dorabjee and Sons was started in 1878. What started as a small tea stall by Dorabjee Sorabjee years ago, is now an iconic food joint. Their signature dishes include traditional dishes like Dhansak, Pattrani Machi and Salli Botti. Also, don’t forget to gulp down some raspberry soda with such a delicious spread.

Picture Credits: justdial

Also Read: Head To Shabree In Pune For Authentic Maharashtrain Food

8. Kesar Da Dhaba, Amritsar

Amritsar always invites you to savour wholesome, hearty meals in its dhabas. And a trip there is incomplete without a visit to Kesar da Dhaba. This place serves amazing Punjabi delights like dal makhni, palak paneer, paranthas and phirni. It was started by Lala Kesar Mal in 1916, near Lahore. Later, it shifted to India after the country gained independence in 1947. Meanwhile, here are 10 foods from Amritsar you must try.

9. Bademiya, Mumbai

Bademiya was started in 1946, just before India gained independence and is today famous for its biryanis and kebabs. Its founder, Mohammad Yaseen had a long beard, and people would lovingly call him Bademiyan. This iconic food joint now sits behind the Taj Mahal Hotel, and serves some amazing meat dishes made with the same, years-old recipes.

10. United Coffee House, Delhi

Housing some vintage décor and carrying a famed legacy before our Independence is the United Coffee House in Delhi. This place started as a coffee shop in 1942 by Lala Hans Raj Kalra, but later turned into a fine dining restaurant. A popular hub for tourists and ministers alike, United Coffee House still echoes the splendid delicacies people enjoyed years ago. On that note, here is another such coffee shop in Delhi, known for it samazing coffee.

11. Leopold Cafe, Mumbai

A visit to Colaba is undoubtedly incomplete without savouring some delicious food and beer at Leopold Café. Another iconic pre-independence food joint, Leopold was started in 1871. The Irani cafe made headlines in 2008 when it was attacked by terrorists, but quickly bounced back. Today, it remains a favourite for foreign tourists and locals alike.

Picture Credits: wikimedia

Also Read: 20 Iconic Eateries In Mumbai To Give You The Feels

12. Glenary’s, Darjeeling

When it comes to all the amazing food joints, how can we leave the valleys behind? Well, Glenary’s is an iconic eatery sitting in Darjeeling, the picturesque hill town in east India. A restaurant, bakery and pub rolled into one, it was founded more than a 100 years ago. Don’t forget to try their staple baked delights and desserts like apple pie on your visit there!

Picture Credits: Glenary’s/Facebook

Also Read: Enjoy A Cup Of Coffee At The World’s Highest Cafe In Nepal

13. Vidyarthi Bhavan, Bangalore

A favourite among all college-goers, Vidyarthi Bhavan serves some of the scrumptious dosas in Bangalore. It was started in 1943, just a few years before we gained Independence. What’s interesting is that the quality of food has remained the same through all these decades. So, now you know where to get the crispiest dosas in Bangalore!

14. Rayar’s Mess, Chennai

Sitting tightly packed in Mylapore, Chennai, Rayar’s Mess is always bustling with its patrons. Srinivasa Rao started this tiny, iconic food joint more than 80 years ago, which is popular even today. Digging into some warm idlis and dosas served on a banana leaf with a delicious coconut chutney; now that sounds heavenly!

Picture Credits: Mukasash/ Chennai Food Scene

15. Nizam’s Restaurant, Kolkata

This place in Kolkata is highly popular for its scrumptious kathi rolls. In fact, it is said that kathi rolls originated at this very place. Nizam’s Restaurant in Kolkata apparently opened in 1932. Today, you can savour more than 20 varieties of delicious, flavourful kathi rolls here. You can have them made in rumali rotis as well, a deviant from the traditional parathas. Till then, here’s a virtual tour of the bustling city.