Eating out in Delhi: Karim’s in Old Delhi

My city of Delhi is rich in the historical and cultural heritage, as it had remained the capital of India since last 200 years, and the centre of activity for the various dynasties that rued India in the earlier times. With each ruler, the city has seen one more glorious structure added to its terrain, from Qutub Minar, to Humayun’s Tomb. And what was added more to this mix was the culture of food.  Presently Dehi boasts being one of the major gastronomically rich cities of the world, offering food for almost every palate.

Karim’s restaurant, in front of Jama Masjid in Old Delhi, is one such spot to sample the gastronomically delights of this city. Said to have belonged to the khansama (royal cooks) of the Moghul rulers, the owners of the restaurant take pride in offering authentic Mughlai dishes. Simple food and wonderful service, this small place is a delight to all and sundry.

Karims, Old Delhi

How to Go:

A preferred choice of journey is of course the Delhi Metro. Take the metro or the underground train to Chowri Bazaar station, get out and take a rickshaw to Karim’s restaurant, located right in front of the historical Jama Masjid. The journey through the interior by-lanes of Old Delhi has its own charm. If you are an avid photographer, the journey will offer you ample instances for that perfect shot.

What to Eat:

Once you enter Karim’s, you’ll get the smell of the richest of the spices. Seated in the small cabins of the restaurant, you will be surprised at the people eating at the famed eatery, from tourists to local, from celebrities to professionals, the small dining rooms surrounding a tiny courtyard speaks volumes about the cuisine served to the guests. Often you have to wait in a queue to get a place, and land up sharing a table with a stranger, but all this, let me tell, adds up to the feel of the place, and whets your appetite for the delicious food that is about to be served.

So what did we eat? Well, we ate Kababs as starters, followed by Chicken Biriyani, Mutton Burra, Chicken Korma, and Shahi Paneer, and of course, Phirni, the traditional Mughlai dessert, which is a rice pudding.

Tandoor Burra

Biriyani and a course salad of freshly sliced onions

Biriyani and a course salad of freshly sliced onions

Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma

Dessert of Phirni

Dessert of Phirni

A Word of Caution:

Located at the heart of a traditional Muslim community, it makes sense to not to wear clothes which show off skin, as this is not accepted well. Anything else, Indian clothes or western outfits, should be fine.

After the meal, you can again take a rickshaw and visit the local market of Chandni Chowk, or take a heritage walk in the interiors of the historic Red Fort or Lal Quila. Old Delhi is a fascinating place, and I am sure the sumptuous food will only make you want to explore the raea a lot more.

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