Punekars love Ganpati, this is a well known fact. Why else would we all celebrate his coming each year? From families bringing home their idol to mandals creating wonderful idols of the God to decorating him in different ways, Ganesha is the God who brings happiness and joy in our city. There are many things Punekars have in common with Ganesha, one of them is the love for food. While Ganpati prefers modaks, a Punekar has a lot of favourite dishes to choose from.
I tried to compile a list of places to eat during the festival. However, I realised, there were just too many. My focus was mainly on the peth areas; so that you can visit a Ganpati mandal to take Bappa’s blessings and have some food nearby. As the list was too long, I decided to compile it by specialities. Here is the list for you. Feast on Punekars.
Though it has originally Kolhapuri, we Punekars love to gorge on it, right? The farsaan, bhajee, shev, usal, spicy watery gravy, sprinkled with onion, kothimbir and the mast tikhat tarri.. Ahaa!! Here are places to have the Puneri version of the dish.
PS You may not find some of the amazing places that are away from the Peth areas. They will surely find mention here.
Vaidya Upahar Gruha
Where: Near Phadke Haud Chowk, Raviwar Peth
The missal joint is over a 100 years old and is one of the famous missal places in Pune. The timings of the joint are 7:30am to 11:30am and 3pm to 7pm. It has a typical Maharashtrian ambience and is wonderful to have a quick bite.
Shree Upahar Gruha
Where: Lakshmi Road, Sadashiv Peth, Pune
The missal here is amazing but its not the only thing that you should have. The sabudana khichdi, usal pav, tak are all wonderful as well. It is also one of the oldest places that has been serving Punekars for decades. It is open from 8am to 8pm.
Where: Mandai Road, Tulshibaug, Pune
This joint was established in 1941, serving Punekars ever since. The Missal here is nothing but a mixture of matki served with curry, finely chopped onions, coriander leaves, bundi, farsan and other masalas all mixed together in the right proportion.
PS The place no longer closes at noon itself, so don’t dismiss it if you’re planning to visit post afternoon. To know more, click here.
Where: Tilak Road, little ahead of Durvankur
This too is one of the old eateries in Pune. The reason this missal is famous is because of its spicy hot tarri. You can get a medium one as well but the daredevil in you must try the spicy variety. It uses pohyacha chiwda as the prominent ingredient, along with peas, pohe and is served with bread slice.
For Snacks/Pav Bhaji
These are what my granny calls ‘arbat charbat khaana‘. The favourite among them is pav bhaji, the other being bhel (which isn’t mentioned here. The list for best places for bhel can be found here).
Shree Wadeshwar Bhuvan
Where: Sadashiv Peth, Bajirao road, Natubaug Chouk, Pune
Wadeshwar now has many outlets but I am talking about the one in Sadashiv Peth only. The place is known for various specialities, dosa, dahi wada, thalipeeth being the favourites. The menu here is based on a decided schedule, which can be seen here. Their tea and coffee have the perfect Puneri flavour and dahi wada is a must have (so much so, I mentioned it two times 😛 ).
Where: Nadi Kathcha Rasta, near Deccan Gymkhana, Z Bridge
You can just about find anything here. Pav bhaji, wada pav, bhel, pani puri to masale bhat, fried rice and non veg too. There are many stalls serving a variety of different things and the stalls remain open till late in the night i.e. 12-1pm when most of the other places are shut down. The cleanliness might be an issue for some, who are advised to avoid it.
Girija Juice Bar
Where: Tilak Road, Sadashiv Peth, Pune
Though the name might suggest it is a place to have juice, the pav bhaji here is quite well known and tasty (coz taste is more important, right?). They serve it along with chilly pickle, the usual limbu and kanda (that’s Marathi for pyaaj or onion. We Punekars don’t quite get that awesome kanda taste calling it by other names somehow). If you are just curious (like me) try out their juice too. One is inquisitve of why a place specialising in Pav Bhaji calls itself Juice Bar, right?
Ganaraj Pure Veg
Where: Bajirao Raod, Shukrawar Peth, Pune
Its been ages since I have been here. I used to visit it with my grandfather, who lived on Tilak Road. Just writing about it makes me nostalgic. The place is amazing for everything, from a good dinner to chats, south Indian, Punjabi, snacks, EVERYTHING! However, the pav bhaji here is my favourite. That with chocolate milkshake used to be my favourite combo and still is. The place is quite clean and good for a family meal.
Walking long distances and standing in line for long hours to get the darshan of our favourite Bappa can be exhaustive. The surge of crowds makes us just want to sit and have a hearty meal. Here are a few places to sit, relax and have a hearty meal.
For a full list of places to have thali (in areas outside the peth especially), click here.
Poona Guest House
Where: Belgaug Chowk, Laxmi road, Pune
The place known for authentic Maharashtrian delicacies was started in 1935 and has ever since been famous for serving tasty food for a nominal sum. The place is so legendary, celebrities like Pu La Deshpande, Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande, Ga Di Madgulkar, Bal Gandharva, Dev Anand, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi are known to have eaten here, amongst others. Our great Dada Kondke included. One can just say it is one of our heritage places of modern times. The menu ranges from aalu chi bhaji (not to be confused with aalu or potato. kamalatla ‘la’. If you can’t pronounce it, take your time and learn the proper pronunciation. The bhaaji is worth the effort.), masale bhaat, ukdiche modak, thalipeeth, dahi pohe and some creative names like Bajirao Chiwda and Mastani misal. The place is wonderful, there is a reason I wrote so much about it. 😉
Where: Opposite Tilak Smarak Mandir, Sadashiv Peth, Pune
There is absolutely no need to say anything here, for most Punekars already know about it. For those who don’t, this is an amazing place for getting authentic Maharashtrian thali. The meal is quite simple, compared to your usual restaurants, which serve spicy meals with a somewhat ‘baherchya khanachya‘ flavour. This is is more like Aji ni banavlela khana, simple yet tasty enough to make us fall in love with it.
Sugran Kolhapuri Non Veg
Where: Near Bharat Natya Mandir, Sadashiv Peth, Pune
If you’re a non-veg food lover and have no qualms eating chicken/mutton during Ganeshotsav, this one is the place for you. If you’re not, wait a few days and definitely make it a point to visit this one (vegetarians can skip reading about this place completely 🙂 ). The Kolhapuri food here is ‘assal tikhat‘ and Punekars love for spice and everything nice is quite well known, right? You can even get Chicken/Mutton thalis, which serve as a wholesome mean at a decent price. Oh, I’m just waiting for this Ganeshotsav to get over. The food is that addictive.
There is a reason we Punekars get so excited upon hearing the word Mastani. Yes, ice cream too excites us, getting a similar reaction when you say gulabjam, kheer, shrikhanda and just about everything sweet. The best way to end a meal is with a dessert or as we say, “Gode kahitari ahe ka?” and if you’re going to do it Punerkar style, this is where you can go.
Where: Nimbalkar Talim, Sadashiv Peth, Pune
There is a reason this place has so many outlets in the city and is heard from any Punekars mouth on an almost regular basis. The mastani here is one of the best and you can find an outlet near your house too, if you’re too bored to go visit it in the above mentioned location. This place has more outlets in Pune than KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Smoking Joes, etc. combined. It is a rarity, for most Punekars pride in saying, “Amchi Kuthehi Shakha Nahi“. We love Sujata for going against this mindset, they serve us in just about every area!
Gujar Mastani House
Where: Datta Mandir, Budhwar peth, Pune
Another good place to have mastani while in the city. It serves normal ice cream, kulfi as well.
Kondhalkar Mastani House
Where: Rohan Complex, Kumthekar Road, Sadashiv Peth, Pune
Though not as well known as Sujata, this one serves great mastani as well. Worth a visit.
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