The Pune Food Trail: 10 classic eateries under Rs 500
Like the music concerts, groovy nightlife, upwardly mobile lifestyle, the food scene of Pune is equally enticing. From its traditional eateries to state-of-the-art restaurants, contemporary cafes and the evergreen street-side joints, the Queen of Deccan can surely indulge its visitors. But the real charm of this historic city is in its historical eateries. We get onto a food adventure down the city’s culinary memory and explore the best eateries. Each special in their own way, these classic food joints of the town have stood the test of time and globalization but haven’t budged in taste, quality or price.
For the traveler on a budget but hungry to discover the taste of Pune, here are the top 10 eateries under Rs 500:
Good Luck Café
Being in Pune even for a day and not going to Good Luck is sacrilege! Sitting on the corner of FC Road, near the famous Film Institute, this vintage Irani café still smells of its old charm. And their calorie-rich, signature keema-pav with a fried egg as a garnish, is arguably the best you would have ever had. Line up at daybreak (as early as 7 am) for an unforgettable breakfast.
The average cost for two for a standard breakfast: Rs 300-450
Not to be confused with anything related to the recent Bollywood blockbuster, a mastani is a locally developed dessert. A hearty scoop of ice-cream (of any flavor), blended with full cream milk and generously garnished with toppings, mastani is a heavenly ending to a great meal. Sujata’s is one popular joint which makes this Pune special in the most incredible ways.
The average cost for two: Rs 200-300
When anyone asks you to get ‘Shrewsbury biscuits’ from Pune, this is where you go to without fail. This true blue, old-school bakery has been in action since 1955 and still smells of the same antique charm. If you can manage to wiggle through the beeline of customers waiting to pick up the last piece of their famous mawa cake, do try their sponge cakes, fruit biscuits, and milk bread.
The average cost for two: Rs 150
Cost of Shrewsbury biscuits: Rs 320 per kg.
Appa has been serving Pune for about five generations. An almost obscure little place, opposite Dhobi Ghat, Appa’s in one legendary local joint. If you are in time for breakfast/brunch hours, you can expect to land on traditional Maharashtrian delicacies like Punheri pohe, upma, matar usal or sabudana (tapioca balls) khichdi.
The average cost for two: Rs 150
A classic style multi-cuisine eatery, Coffee House has been in the city from a time when fast food was an alien word. Dig into their pav bhajis, dosas, or Chinese and Mexican dishes, Indianized for the local crowd. An always bustling eatery, Coffee House is a perfect place to stop by after a tiring walk, and sip on their signature coffee or munch on their tasteful spread.
The average cost of two for coffee and a meal: Rs 300-400
Lest you wonder, if the international fast food joint made it to this list, this is an old local haunt, rather more original. Once you get a whiff of their classic-style salami sandwich and sausages loaded with egg-bhurji, you will only resonate with this Burger King. After a lawsuit by the chain Burger King, though, the establishment has had to change its name to simply – Burger. Their house special burgers, with a godly combination of cheese, meat patty, BK special bun, and a generous slather of mayonnaise and ketchup, will make you fall in love with grease all over again!
The average cost for two: Rs 300
A household name for every Punekar, Marzorin is a cute and cozy café serving a home-style Anglo-Indian menu. Dive in for a cup of fresh, house brewed coffee and a simple but divine chicken sandwich. Also try their famous macaroni and cheese, which would make you forget what you get in most eateries today.
The average cost for two for coffee, sandwiches, and dessert: Rs 250-300
Pune and Puneri misal go hand-in-hand. And no one serves the original misal-pav like Bedekar. For those who are new to this Maharashtrian meal dish, a misal is a curried mixed lentil cooked with local spices (which range from medium to extremely hot), served with crunchy fritters.
The average cost for two to 2 servings of signature misal: Rs 100-150
The simplicity of an eatery speaks of its true heritage. Such is Tiranga’s Non-Veg. Though the apparent impression of the place is quite understated, their menu makes up for it. Their legacy lies in their delectable biryani – a recipe passed down through generations.
The average cost for two for Tiranga special biryani: Rs 350
Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale
No matter where you go and what you eat, every meal must end on a sweet note. Sweetening the lives of Punekar since 1950, Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwala is a sweet-supermarket today. Drop in for an assortment of milk-based, dry fruit-based or fruit-based sweets, or their house-made savories. Don’t forget to try Bhakarwadi- a traditional regional snack made of gram flour and condiments.
The average cost for two for any sweets: Rs 150
Cost for Chitale’s special bhakarwadi: Rs 300 per kg.