If we sit down to make a list of the most frequently visited restaurants in Pune, Vaishali would top the charts. For Punekars across the city, regardless of what age they are, Vaishali is like home. Family get-togethers, meetings with clients, hanging out with friends or even romantic dates… everything can be planned at Vaishali! So much so that the restaurant’s regulars don’t even mind waiting for 20-30 minutes just to get a table.
However, while the SPDP, Mysore Cheese Masala Dosa, Uttappa, Idli Sambar, Filter Coffee and other South Indian dishes play favourites among the regulars, have you wondered what else does Vaishali serve the best? For days when you don’t want an uttappa or dosa in sight, here’s a list of the “other” dishes that are equally tantalising! Go, go. Try.
You can differentiate Punekars from non-Punekars when a customer asks for a menu card in Vaishali. The Puneri clans have been here since eternity and know their favourites from the menu in and out. However, try calling for the menu this time (especially to check the rates) and you’ll find out that the same restaurant also serves one of Pune’s favourite dishes: dahi wada. The sweet dahi and wada go wonderfully with the tinge of masala and kothimbir, giving it a sweet and spicy flavour. Do try!
Price: Rs. 70
Although not as lesser known as most dishes mentioned in the list, it is definitely a must-have. In a group of regulars, there will always be one person who will order for it. The dish is relatively healthier and light despite being fried and amazingly tasty! It is served with sliced onions, green chutney and tomato sauce.
Price: Rs. 60
Rice is dominant in most dishes served at Vaishali, bread being a close second. Despite being a not-so-regularly-ordered item in the menu, the taste is never compromised on. If you’re in a group and planning to share a dish (the regular dishes are TTMM, Tuza Tu Maza Mi. NO SHARING!), I recommend the Club Sandwich and Cheese Chilli Toast. There are other options in sandwiches and toasts, like Chutney Sandwich and Jam Toast Sandwich too, but the Club sandwich and Chilli toast are a class apart!
Veg Club Sandwich: Rs. 70
Cheese Chilli Veg Toast: Rs. 100
Veg Cheese Pizza
Once upon a time, I decided to order a pizza in Vaishali. My friends gave me a look like I committed my life’s biggest blunder. I felt as though I would be going to hell for it! However, once the order arrived, the hellish experience took a U-turn. We were amazed by the quality of the pizza! It tasted as if made at home with tomato, onion, capsicum and lots of cheese. Slurrp!
Price: Rs. 190
Tomato Omelette with Cheese
Don’t be startled (pure vegetarians, please refrain from your ‘tauba tauba non-veg at Vaishali’ shenanigans). Vaishali IS a pure-veg restaurant and the omelette too is PURE veg. Although it looks like an omelette stuffed with egg, remember, dista tasa nasta (things are not what they seem). It contains no egg product. Instead the cooks use chickpea flour or besan along with tomatoes.
Drinks and beverages
When in Vaishali, do as the Vaishalians do! Say no to soft drinks and yes to juices and milkshakes. Again, the quality is beyond par and you can gulp down the drink in just one sip! Mango Milkshake and Mosambi Juice are hands down the best that you can have here! Also try the Mango Lassi, Cold Bournvita or Cold Horlicks to relive your childhood days.
Mango Shake: Rs. 110
Mosambi Juice: Rs. 80
Although most dishes in Vaishali are mildly spicy, desserts are the best way to conclude your meal. There have been only two instances out of my numerous visits to Vaishali when Sandwich Ice cream was available but I ask for it each time I visit. Reason: it is simply delicious! Vanilla ice cream placed between chocolate biscuits… oh, thank your stars if you find out that it’s available! Believe me, you wouldn’t be disappointed!
Other lip-smacking desserts are Cassatta or Butterscotch/Chocolate Ice cream. Yum!
Sandwich Ice cream: Rs. 50
Cassatta: Rs. 60
Butterscotch/Chocolate ice cream (single slab): Rs. 60
Disclaimer: The prices mentioned here are as they were during our recent visit but are subject to change.