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The times have changed and how—it’s almost as if the world has come to a standstill and going out for a meal seems like a distant dream. But though we have locked ourselves in, we can’t help our minds from wandering off to the places that have been serving us with the most delectable foods for years! Here’s a list of the most iconic restaurants across India that we can’t wait to drop by at the first chance we get post the lockdown. By Sushmita Srivastav

United Coffee House, Delhi

With an archival record of over 400 recipes, United Coffee House has been the most sought-after upscale dining hall ever since it opened its doors 78 years ago in 1942. Do not be fooled by its name, the place can be anything but just a coffee house—one look at the high ceilings, huge chandeliers, a well-stocked bar, and the elaborate menu with everything from classic butter chicken to English high tea, and you’d know you are in a for a fine-dining treat.

Britannia & Co. Restaurant, Mumbai

Although the guests will no longer be able to listen to tales from late Mr Boman Rashid Kohinoor now when they sit down to enjoy a meal since the Mumbai’s beloved nonagenarian and senior partner at Britannia & Co. passed away last year at 97, his legacy is still intact in his dishes at the restaurant. Started in 1923 by Kohinoor, the place might lack frills but its dishes like berry pulao, sali boti, and dhansak have lured people in from far and wide—including Queen Elizabeth II herself whose signed letter and photograph with the proud owner still hang on the walls here!

Flury’s, Kolkata

Grabbing breakfast at Flury’s is no less than a ritual when in Kolkata. When it threw its gates open in 1927, it became the favourite tearoom of the prosperous Britisher and the affluent Indian alike. Beans on toast, sunny-side ups, sausages, and a strong coffee on the side—people still swear by its classic English breakfast platter. But don’t just stop there, go ahead and do yourself a favour by trying dishes like asparagus rolls, cube pastries, gooey sacher torte, and peach melbas, which the place has been dishing out for close to a century. Despite a wave of new restaurants, the quaint tearoom on Park Street sees its loyalists queuing up at its door every morning.

The Paragon Restaurant, Kozhikode

Paragon is always packed. Acclaimed as one of the best coastal cuisine restaurants in India, its legacy started in 1939 when it began with serving a fusion of the Malabar region’s Moplah and Thiyya cuisines. Over the years, the menu was transformed with the addition of more innovative dishes reflecting influences from different parts of India. But the most waiting in the inevitably long queues still come here for a seafood adventure—pollichathu, prawn moilee, dum crabs, varattiyathu, as well as chicken preparations here are must-haves.

Gulati Restaurant, Delhi

Craving for authentic North Indian finger-licking food? Gulati has unarguably been the pick of the Pandara Market where people flock for its fiery dal, fluffy naans, and succulent tikkas and kebabs. However, the place has been the reigning king of butter chicken in Delhi ever since its inception in 1959 and not many can even come to its secret sauce that the chicken comes smeared and served hot in.

Leopold Cafe, Mumbai

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This legendary cafe has always been great at its game, and its basic, no-frill surroundings don’t seem to matter to the crowds queuing up outside its door. Around since 1871, Leopold, with its now wobbly ceiling fans, a rather rambunctious setting, and familiar vibe, has a huge fan following who love to enjoy light meals and share conversations with complete strangers here. It flaunts a wide menu of juices, shakes, snacks, salads, appetisers, pasta, and more. Grab a beer, relax, chat—basically, come here for a laid-back evening of old-school entertainment.

Mocambo Restaurant & Bar, Kolkata

It was the year of 1956 when frenzied party-goers and who’s who of Kolkata used to jostle to get an entry inside what was called the first independent night club of India. Years later, Mocambo still knows how to hold its crowd. Once inside, what awaits you is an over-the-old and old-school steakhouse ambience, throbbing music, hurried staff, and long waiting hours—but the delicious value-for-money food and variety of drinks make up for it. Do try their steaks and grills, deviled crabs, and bhetki meunière.

Paradise Restaurant, Hyderabad

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The narrow bylanes around Charminar are replete with old stalls selling mouthwatering Nizami fare, including haleem, biryani, and kebabs but if you wish to savour the finest biryani that Hyderabad has to offer, head to the iconic Paradise Restaurant. Synonymous to the famous Hyderabadi biryani, Paradise has been functioning without a pause since past 60 years amidst the chaos of the city, and its four different dining spaces has seen many celebrity faces over the years. Though the restaurant has 36 branches across the country now, the popularity and taste of its famous mutton biryani haven’t dropped even a bit.

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