Food lanes all across India are filled with hustle-bustle during the month of Ramadan. Iftar is savoured by the diverse cultures around the world. The hissing of the meat made from the barbeque, the crowd shouting out for their kebabs and the delectable sweets take you on a food journey that cannot be missed.
I devoured a motley of delicacies from all across India and compiled the best Ramadan eateries for this Ramadan season. Every time I thought I was full, the appetising aroma lingering in these lanes got me hungry.
Here is the list of best of Dawat-e-Iftar.
Ramadan in Mumbai Mumbai is a kaleidoscope of cuisines. The city laudably celebrates every festival with enthusiasm and fun. During Ramadan, Mumbai is the one of the best cities in India to taste the global iftar cuisine.
Mohammed Ali RoadCrunched in between Bhendi Bazar and Khetwadi, Mohammed Ali Road is jostling with crowd all over the month of Ramadan. Every year, thousands of locals dive in at Mohammed Ali Road for a meaty delight. You will also see vegetarians feasting on the absolutely delicious sweets made from milk, cream and mawa. For vegetarians, Mohammed Ali Road offers an array of sweet treats. A must-visit is the 122-year-old Taj Ice Cream run by ‘Icecreamwala’ family in Mumbai. The real big fruity chunks make the ice cream more tempting and inviting. Also don’t forget to sweep in the mouth-watering phirni at Suleman Usman Mithaiwala.
Bohri MohallaBite in to the delicious Nalli Nihari of Surati Barah Handi along with a tandoori. Do try the famous Sanju Baba Chicken at Noor Mohammadi Hotel which gained its succulent taste from the secret recipe given by the Bollywood star, Sanjay Dutt. Indulge your taste buds in the piquant taste of authentic Mumbai biryani at the Shalimar Restaurant.Fakhri sweets which otherwise sells the best malai khaja, has a kiosk selling only malpuas, the sugar coasted Indian pancakes during Ramadan. .
Hidden gems of Mumbai
Although Mohammed Ali Road and Bohri Mohalla are cynosure of all the eyes during Ramadan festival, there are other places which serve equally amazing delicacies. Kurla’s LBS Marg and the area around Mahim’s Makhdoom Ali Mahimi (popularly known as Mahim Dargah) also serve kebabs and mithais that are utterly toothsome. Tawwakkal Sweets at Mahim is a local hit. It also has a branch at Bhendi Bazaar which is equally famous.
Ramadan in Delhi
The mighty Mughal emperors that ruled Delhi gave this city an extravagant food culture. The rise of Mughalai cuisine took place in their kitchens and consequently these recipes were dished out into the history laden streets of Delhi.
Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India that Old Delhi prides, registers the highest number of pilgrims in India every year. During Ramadan, you will see the roundabouts of this mosque with food stalls loaded with kebabs, tikkas, baida rotis, sherbat, falooda, badam shakes, jalebis and much more.
Try Karim’s, a century old restaurant for the tastiest khamiri roti. One can’t have enough of mutton biryani, kebabs, roomali roti and well, almost everything listed on their menu. Even if you blindfold and choose a dish, you will not be disappointed. The restaurant witnesses record breaking traffic during this holy month of Ramadan.
offers you Ustaad Moinuddin that serves the most addictive kebabs. In my opinion and many others will agree too, this place gives Karim’s a run for their money.
Hazrat Nizamuddin DargahThe streets encircling Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, features a horde of places during Ramadan. Lazeez Darbar is a local favourite for the mutton kebabs and mutton burra. Go to Haaji Noora for their Nalli Nihari in Sardar Bazaar. You will eat a whole lot to satisfy your heart at this place. This is one quaint place that will keep on calling you back.
Another high-class option is the Purani Dilli which serves the ultimate mutton haleem that will make you eat till you are full. You will mop your plates and still want more!
Chandi Chowkis the best place in Delhi for a sugar rush. The sweet galore is infinite. I recommend that you go to Shereen Bhawan and try their Phirnis which are one of the best in the world.
Hidden Gems in Delhi
Other places that embellish Old Delhi alleys are Al Jawahar that has touted for over 2 decades. They offer dates and fruit salad to break your roza fast in the traditional way. If you are a fine dining person, then do try the popular Chicken Changezi. There are a couple of other outlets around this place. So get your explorer out and go on a tasting spree in these by-lanes.
Ramadan in Kolkata
Kolkata is yet another food paradise in India. We know this capital city for its fresh water fishes, rasgullas and mishti doi, but a whole range of Islamic cuisine is cloaked under. You will see an assemblage of people of all faiths gather on the streets and enjoy the delectable food with great enthusiasm.
Mallick BazaarAt first, it looked like a sombrero hat to me. But it wasn’t. It was a huge heap of sevai stacked to resemble that hat. You will find these ‘sevai-sombreros’ all across Mallick Bazaar.
Zakaria StreetZakaria Street, near Nakhoda Mosque, prepares ‘Special Aminia Haleem’ only during the month of Ramadan. This limited edition haleem is a must-try. Just a few blocks away, at Royal India Hotel, you will get mutton spare ribs (or mutton chaap or mutton chops). They are so superb that I packed some for my journey back home to satisfy my untimely cravings.
Sabir's HotelThe food stalls stacked around the Colootola Mosque serve all sorts of meat. The locals swear by their roasted chicken and kheeri kebabs. Rezala, a meat stew induced with spices, is one of the best served at Sabir’s Hotel. Finish off with a Shahi Tukda and your taste buds will be pleased.
Rahmania You will find a lot of stalls around Park Circus area that server finger-licking biryani and haleem. As the clock hits the iftar time, shutter of Rahmania rolls up and the long queue flock the counters for their Haleem. Their biryani is indistinguishably brilliant.
Ramadan in Hyderabad
Well, say Hyderabad and the word ‘Birayni’ slips in your mind involuntarily. Formerly, hundreds of cooks would line up to prepare elaborate meals to please the royal Nizams who once ruled this region. Nizams considered cooking an art and hence, intricate techniques were involved to please the kings. Costly spices, exotic ingredients and highly procedural methods were combined to create a dish that was the king’s favourite.
Pista HouseWhen in Hyderabad, do as the Nizams! Pista House is ‘THE’ place for haleem all over India. It is honoured with ‘geographical indication’ as the ‘hyderabadi haleem’. This haleem is so famous that they export it to countries like Middle East, US, Europe and Canada. They also retail the haleem to over 200 outlets across India.
Hyderabad is considered as a haven for sweets. Try the soft delicious loaves of sheermal and qubani-ka-meetha at Hotel Shadab. They are so heavenly that I pounced on my friend’s plate and wiped off his dish after finishing my portion.
Ramadan Dessert Run
Be it sewaiyyan-ka-meetha, dil-e-fidous or double-ka-meetha, find these delicacies in the bazaars around Charminar during Ramadan. Do grab a piece from the Mithai Minar or opt for the tower of sweets. Enjoy your food with a wisp of ittar (perfume) in the air and colourful stalls around you.
Other local favourites are Madina hotel, Nayaab Hotel and Cafe 555 for a delicious plate of biryani.
Ramadan in Bengaluru
Bengaluru or ‘Silicon Valley’ is a gourmet galore during Ramadan. This historical place will marvel you with amazing food delights.
Mosque Road Mosque Road near the Frazer town is the mecca of Bengaluru for Ramadan food. Hop in to the streets for the tastiest kheema rolls and chicken sticks. Multiple kiosks are circulated by crowds for a variety of delicacies like milk sharbat, rose falooda, matka phirni, strawberry cheese-cake, shahi tukda, chicken samosas, kebabs, kathi rolls, kheema parathas, biryanis and much more. I assure you that whatever you eat at whichever stall, you will be delighted.
Albert BakeryAmidst all this chaos, you will find Albert Bakery, famous for bheja or brain puffs. These soft balls have the perfect consistency of cream cheese that melts in your mouth the moment you pop them in. They also offer an array of sweets which cannot be missed.
Shivaji NagarTry the camel meat kebabs at Shivaji Nagar. They are a Ramazan special that can be best enjoyed with a cuppa chai from the Sulaiman chai.
MM RoadAbuzz with a lot of locals, MM Road has two most famous restaurants, Zaikaa, for its 7 exotic mutton dishes and Richies Rahhams for its 31 tandoor cooked delicacies. You will get a chance to try unique dishes like kulfi kebab, khatta mittha kebab and kalimirch kebab too.
Apart from these cities, India due to its diversity, offers a variety of cuisines all across the country. Try the local specialities at Chowk Akbari and Mollaviganj in Lucknow, Mominpura in Nagpur and the local joints at Guwahati.
I hope my food guide to Ramadan helps you plan your evening this month and you’ll enjoy as much as I did in my food journey.
Author: Winnie Karnik