Chennai

A No-Diarrhea Guide to Chennai: Best Restaurants in Chennai India

“Everyone,” Mr Fitness emphasized, “EVERYONE who comes back from India falls sick. EVERYONE.”

Huccalyly chimed in, “You know what they say, right? You haven’t been to Chennai if you don’t get diarrhea.”

Achievement unlocked: NO DIARRHEA AFTER CHENNAI.

Five things you need to know about dining in Chennai:

1. Keep your nails short and bring hand sanitizer because most shops don’t provide utensils. Use your hands.

2. One major difference between Chennai’s and Singapore’s food culture is that we despise chain restaurants, believing that they cannot maintain standards, but the Indians revel in consumerism; the bigger the franchise, the better they think the food is. Therefore many restaurants on the list can be found in Singapore.

3. The Indians also don’t understand the joy of visiting the Original. When I went to Murugan to eat the original idli, an Indian native jeered at me, “Singapore also has one.”

4. Like 80s Singapore, most fine-dining restaurants in Chennai are situated in hotels.

5. 30%-40% Indians are vegetarians, so expect to find lots of vegetarian food. 

FINE DINING

1. Dakshin, Sheraton Park Hotel
Sheraton Park Hotel & Towers, T.T.K. Road, Austin Nagar, Alwarpet, Chennai 600018, India
+91 44 2499 4101

Dakshin Sheraton Park Hotel chennai reviewMany “Best Restaurants in Chennai” lists included Dakshin but when we were there, it was a strange affair because it was so quiet, except for the Indian musicians onstage. It was also very strange because Singaporeans are used to briyani, and the dishes and rice should come together. But here, you get served the dishes first, and after you finish, you get served rice.

But the food was very good. The spices had subtlety, so the food had layered tastes of sweetness, and piquancy underneath the heat.

Each of us spent about S$40-50. But the set meal can start from S$80-S$100.

2. Samudra, Trident Hotel
Trident, 1/24, Gst Road, Meenambakkam,Chennai 600027, India
+91 44 2234 4747

3. Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel Hotel
37, MG Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai, TN 600034, India

4. The Raintree, Taj Connemara Hotel
Anna Salai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600002

5. Peshawri, ITC Grand Chola Hotel
63, Lobby Level ITC Grand Chola, Anna Salai, Guindy, Chennai (Madras) 600032, India
+91 44 2220 0000

VEGETARIAN

1. Murugan Idli Shop
Multiple locations in Chennai

murugan idli shop chennai reviewTraditional south Indian breakfast. Idli is made from fermented lentils and rice. Actually they tasted like a sour tu-tu kueh. Very affordable. Only about S$2. There are 3 outlets in Singapore.

2. Annalakshmi
18/3 Rukmani Lakshmipathy (Marshalls Road), Egmore, TN 600008, India
You pay as you wish. Donations go to charities. Singapore has an outlet at Central Square. 

3. Sampoorna Haven
Multiple locations

4. Cream Centre
Multiple locations

5. ID
Multiple locations

BUFFET

1. Barbeque Nation
Multiple outlets

Barbeque Nation buffet chennai price

Barbeque Nation buffet chennai review

Barbeque Nation buffet chennai menuThis is awesome for both vegetarians and carnivores at different prices, and they are allowed to sit at the same table (although how they ensure “vegetarians” aren’t cheating, I don’t know). There is a small BBQ pit with charcoal in the table, and they serve you the BBQ items. When you have enough, you pull down the flag (shown in picture 1). There are also hot buffet items and desserts. Very satisfying food. And as I was the only non-Indian there, the servers made the effort to talk to me. Only S$15 per pax. Worth it!

AFFORDABLE DINING RESTAURANTS

1. Anjappar
Multiple locations, including Singapore
+91 44 2814 4033

2. Copper Chimney
Multiple locations, including Singapore
+91 44 2811 5770/ +91 44 2254 1700

3. Saravana Bhavan
Multiple locations, including Singapore

4. Buhari Hotels & Restaurants
Multiple locations
facebook
Famous for biriyani

5. Dindigul Thalappakatti
Multiple locations

chennai itineraryWe had all three kinds of the biriyanis, and you MUST MUST MUST get the mutton biriyani (S$3.80). When my friend ate it, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, showing only the whites of her eye, and she moaned as if in an orgasm, “OMG, I’m dead and gone to heaven.” Other recommendations: Thalappa fish fry (S$4.75), and Thalappa special fried chicken (S$5). We spent about S$12 per person.

6. Ente Keralam
Multiple locations

7. The Great Kabab Factory
Multiple locations

STREET FOOD / FOOD COURT/ FASTFOOD

1. Balaji Sandwich Stall
149, Montieth Road, Egmore, Chennai, TN, India

2. Food Point
98, VM Street, Mylapore, Chennai
T: +91 44 4553 5393

3. Triplicane Ratna Cafe
Multiple locations

SWEETS/ DESSERTS 

1. Gangotree Chaat
Multiple Locations

GANGOTREE chennai review

gangotree sweets chennai menu

The sweets were very weird for our Singaporean tastebuds. The immensely popular dahi papadi chaat (S$1.30) was like a prank: all sweet, savory, salty, spicy mixed into one.

2. Shankar Chat Bandhar
Y-202, Blue Star, 5th avenue, Anna Nagar East, Chennai

3. Sri Maruti Sweets
Beside Kalavenkatarao Statue, Main Road, Ravulapalem
T: 9989325599/ 9441447488

Chennai Indian weddingMy bad experience with Gangotree (see #1 on the Desserts list) made me tentative about these sweets. I don’t know what they are called, but they were AMAZING. I finished the box in 2 days. The brown one is like a pastry soaked in honey, and the white one tasted like the fat of milk wrapped around sweetened jasmine and pistachio. The white sheet dissolved in the mouth.

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