The sound of a potato masher going clank-clank on a tawa and the aroma of delicious butter wafting at you is enough to conjure up a visual of red hot Pav Bhaji. I’ve caught myself staring greedily at the performance that the chef behind the tawa puts up. A generous dollop of butter, a dash of mixed vegetable mash and a sprinkle of masala. And voila! Performance complete. Sets my mouth watering no matter what time of the day or how full my stomach is! We recommend ten places you must not miss!
Juice Bar, East Street, Camp
Juice Bar, is one of the most popular places to visit when in Camp. It’s usually crowded with hungry shoppers and college students. Their Pav Bhaji portions are generous and not too spicy. It is accompanied with the usual buttered Pav and finely chopped onions with a slice of lemon. An instant hunger killer, this one will not disappoint you.
Although their regular as well as Cheese Pav Bhaji are quite the hit, you’ve got to try their spicy Pahadi Pav Bhaji; absolute drool heaven that. You cannot miss this place as it’s bang in the middle of Baner, right on the main road, with people swarming in and out for quick bites post noon. It’s a fun, lively place to share a meal with family and friends and not at all expensive!
A-Ju-Ba (Anand Juice Bar), Karve Road
A landmark in itself, this joint is the most crowded place I have ever come across. Regulars swear by their Pav Bhaji as being the best in the whole world! They are not exaggerating. Their flavoursome Pav Bhaji is indeed the best ever. It is rich, spicy and yet not too heavy on the pocket. Served in a plate with compartments, you can see the butter dancing around the edges of the Bhaji. The Pav itself is so soft, it absorbs all the butter. Absolutely sinful!
Samudra, Karve Road, Nal Stop
It is very easy to overlook Samudra on Karve Road, owing to its proximity to Ajuba. But their Pav Bhaji is not something to be missed. The Bhaji is a little more liquid than anywhere else, but that only adds to the flavour. Their Pavs are slightly toasted in butter, giving a nice crunch to every bite. It is usually frequented by working people and families.
Shiv Sagar, J.M. Road
Shiv Sagar usually does justice to every dish that leaves their kitchen. Their Pav Bhaji is no exception. Jain, Khada, Cheese, Amul or Tomato, whichever variety you order, it hits all the right spots. In fact, their Jain Pav Bhaji is the most popular in Pune.
Prithvi, Dahanukar Colony, Kothrud
Just ahead of Dahanukar Colony, Prithvi looks like any typical Shetty joint, till the aroma of fresh Bhaji hits you at the entrance. There portions are huge and will mandate an extra Pav or two, making this snack turn into a whole meal. What makes their paav Bhaji special is a special dark coloured masala that gives the Bhaji an extra tang.
Supreme Snacks, J.M. Road
This little eatery is a rage amongst college goers and family people alike. There is no time of the day when it is not overflowing with customers. So be ready to wait anywhere from 30 minutes up to 1.5 hours if you opt for dine-in! Their Bhaji is special because they let it simmer on the tawa for longer to get every bit of spice cooked perfectly. The Pav itself comes lightly brushed with Bhaji, which makes it a perfect first bite without the Bhaji.
Girija Juice Bar, Sadashiv Peth
This multi-outlet restaurant is the place for Pav Bhaji if you are around Deccan, Sadashiv Peth or Nal Stop. Their never ending bowl of finger licking Bhaji comes with a quintessential dollop of butter on top. The Pav too is drenched in butter, so if you don’t care about the calories, this is the place to duck into for a quick snack or a meal.
Relax, Sahakar Nagar
The quest for the perfect Pav Bhaji led me to Sahakar Nagar. Relax is a bustling place with lots of college goers thronging the eatery for cheap sustenance and their famed Spicy Pav Bhaji and thick shakes. Theirs is the spiciest Pav Bhaji one can find in Pune. Outdoor seating and take-away are recommended.
Kirti Veg, F.C.Road
It is easy to miss Kirti Veg located on main F.C. Road owing to its tiny size. Look out for it in line of British Library next to the flower shop. But their Pav Bhaji is all about excesses. Excess butter, excess spice and excess portion size. Yes, it’s a horribly excessive dish, but that’s what is to love about it. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, stop by for a refreshing fresh fruit juice and the “excessive” Pav Bhaji!