Shravan has commenced! We may love our burgers, pizzas and pastas but at the end of the day; nothing beats that highly satisfying feeling of devouring a complete meal with sabji, daal, roti and rice! For those of you who didn’t already know, that is exactly what a Thali is; a complete, traditional Indian meal that consists of one or more vegetables, chicken/fish gravy (in some places), daal, salad, roti (Indian bread), rice, a savory curd preparation, a digestive drink (buttermilk or sol kadi), and a sweet. I know right? I am already drooling too. So, for the Punekars whose knowledge of a good Thali restaurant goes only as far as Rajdhani – which to be quite honest, is a tad overrated now – here are some drool-worthy places for you to try.
This place is the definition of “Life is uncertain, eat your dessert first” because their menu begins with options of sweets! Having a (major) sweet tooth, I was sold right there. If you like your savories though, they also have quite a few yummy farsans to offer you. Offering an array of Gujurati, Maharashtrian and North Indian dishes, Sukanta has one of the best varieties I’ve seen at a Thali place, though slightly confusing for first timers. The ambience is of a traditional Indian joint and their food is just on point! Just make sure you carry cash because they don’t accept cards.
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One of the oldest and well-known places for a vegetarian Thali in Pune, Durvankur is located in Sadashiv Peth. The one unforgettable aspect of their Thali is the Aamras but, unfortunately, that’s only available during the summers. The perfect spot for a family meal or an office team lunch, Durvankur boasts of an authentic Maharashtrian meal that you can relish. The only problems people face here are parking and rushed service due to the sheer number of customers, especially on weekends. Also, you can ask for a discount if you finish everything on your Thali!
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Looking for a simple and satisfying meal? This is the place to go. The original Panchvati Gaurav of Pune, located at near Deccan Gymghana isn’t much to look at but the food will make you forget about the ambience. They serve a select menu of Gujarati and Rajasthani food, with classic dishes like daal-bhati and sweet Gujurati kadi, and rotis served with ample ghee. Their over attentive servers will ensure that your plate is topped at all times possible and make you feel right at home. Aam Ras is a must try!
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Shabree is a Maharashtrian delight – for veggies though. They serve all your traditional favourites like Masala Bhat, and Pithla Bhakri, usal and my personal favourite, hot Puranpolis. During Ganesh Utsav they serve delicious Ukadhiche Modaks! Though Maharashtrian food is generally spicy, this place serves only moderately spicy food that will leave your taste-buds tingling but won’t leave your ears smoking. The restaurant itself is decorated in beautiful flowers and pots and very authentic trinkets all over. Try their thecha if you can handle a little spice.
Cost for Two – 800
Phone Numbers – 020 25531511 / 020 25531512
Hotel Shreyas is everything you’d expect from a Maharashtrian Thali joint: simple and homely interiors with a menu offering a variety of traditional Maharashtrian dishes. They also have separate sections in their menu for those who are fasting called Upvas Thalis. Even though I wasn’t, their Sabudana Khichdi was still worth a try! Yum! They have a couple of good options in sweets as well, but their Basundi takes the cake. The food served is more like a good, filling home-cooked meal than a restaurant which I personally love.
Cost for Two – 650
Phone Number – 020 30189276
One of the few places I know in Pune that serves a Punjabi Thali! Veg though, no butter chicken here if that’s what you’re looking for. However, even their veg food is definitely worth a try. They serve King Size Paratha Thalis and when they say King Size, boy do they mean it. It is nearly impossible to finish the entire thali but trust me you would want to. They serve delicious parathas with different stuffing like aloo cheese and paneer, or mix veg. The parathas are topped with a layer of homemade butter and served with one sabji, dal makhani, raita, salad, papad, achar and a sweet. They also serve Punjabi specials like Makke Di Roti Te Sarson Da Saag, Chole and not to forget, a big glass of Lassi! Their food truly shows how much they love feeding you, in fact, if you finish your paratha, they will return Rs. 10 back to you!
Cost for Two – 500
Phone Number – 020 30189624
Go! Eat, eat, eat, repeat, Punekars!