The intoxicating aroma of freshly prepared vada pav along with the spicy yet sweet chutney inside a soft bread is probably the fastest way to get a Punekar to clamp down on his brakes. That being said, let’s put the two heavy hitters of the Pune Vada Pav scene to the test.
- It goes without saying that the number of locations Joshi has is definitely in their favor. They have about seven locations all over Pune. This means you are never too far away from a decent vada pav.
- Besides the staple, they serve quite a few other dishes; Dosa, Uttappa, Pithla Bhakari to name a few.
- Most of their locations have a decent amount of parking; at least for two wheelers, and with the current Pune traffic scene, this is a definite encouragement.
- Their quality seems to be taking a hit; the main USP of a vada pav is the fresh hot vada and soft bun. More often than not, the vadas served are cold and soggy.
- The staff is not very polite; they seem arrogant and disinterested in most of their locations.
- The focus seems to have shifted from vada pav to the other items on the menu.
Garden Vada Pav Center
- The quality here is phenomenal. The vadas are piping hot, the chutney a kicker, and the bread is the icing on this spicy snack. No matter what time of the day you visit, it will get your taste buds tingling.
- The service is super prompt. Most times, they will even deliver the parcels to your car if you want them to.
- Portions are American-sized at this desi joint. The vada is so huge, the poor pav holds on for dear life!
- They only have two locations in the entire city; one is Camp (JJ Garden) and one in Erandwane. If you live anywhere else, it’s a decent drive to get your favorite Puneri snack.
- Parking and crowd are always a problem here; they try and manage that with parking attendants and lightening-quick service.
- I know ambience isn’t to be taken seriously with street food but the hoards of buffalos from the nearby stable (at the Camp location) don’t exactly boost one’s appetite. Neither does the stench they emanate.
After a lot of tasty deliberation and a few sachets of Eno, I think they both put up a very good fight. I have to give it to Garden Vada Pav Center for sheer quality and service though. My deepest gratitude for the best Vada Pav in Pune!