On A Culinary Trail In Pune, Maharashtra

The OH and I have been craving for a vacation for oh so long, but nothing seemed to be budging on the travel front. Due to some reason or the other, we weren’t able to plan even a short holiday. Recently, this changed, though, when we decided that enough was enough and that we would head on at least a weekend break, come what may. After much thinking over, we decided to visit Shirdi over the last weekend, with a break in the journey at Pune. We wanted to take Bubboo to the Shirdi Sai Baba temple, and thought we would make the most of the one day we had in Pune. We went ahead and did just that and, I am happy to say, we had a nice trip, in spite of the few hiccups that we had. Finally, a little part of the wanderlusting soul of mine is happy!

Now, we have been to Pune once in the past, when we took a break on our way to Lonavala and Matheran. This time too, Pune was a stopover for us, but we were determined to head to some of our favourite spots in the city and indulge in some culinary delights. We had a bit of guidance from a couple of our relatives who have lived in Pune before, and we also had some insights from some lovely foodie blogs we discovered about Pune. We also had our own Pune memories to fall back on. This time around, our one day stopover in Pune became a sort of culinary trail – we had a taste of some of Pune’s (Maharashtra’s, rather) specialty foods from some of the best eateries that the city has to offer. There is so much to do (eat, actually) in Pune that it is not possible to do all in a single day. This city deserves a trip of its own – the next time around, it is a trip to Pune and Pune alone that we will plan, and it will not be just a stopover.

Let me tell you all about the gorgeous food we hogged in Pune (and all the lovely food we admired but didn’t eat, too!) now, OK?

Breakfast at Tatyo’s, Deccan Gymkhana

This little eatery is located right next to Cafe Goodluck, one of Pune’s oldest Irani cafes (sadly, we didn’t know that then, and didn’t visit it!). Tatyo’s sells a variety of on-the-go foods, including the famous Marathi Kanda Poha, Sabudana Wada, Dhokla, Satyanarayan Sheera, Upma with Maharashtrian-Style Podi, Samosa, Aloo Kachori, and a variety of chaats.

We were super confused about what to order and what not to, but finally decided to go for a plate each of Kanda Poha, Dhokla, and Satyanarayan Sheera. Everything was just beautiful, freshly and perfectly cooked and spiced, and priced very, very reasonably. I loved the peanut-green chilly chutney and podi that the Kanda Poha was served with! The Dhokla was spongy and just the right mix of tangy and sweet.

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Kanda Poha at Tatyo’s
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Dhokla at Tatyo’s

Breakfast – 2 at Wadeshwar, FC Road

Our next stop was at Wadeshwar on FC Road to get some idlis for Bubboo. We ended up ordering a plate of Kothimbir Wadi for ourselves, just because we hadn’t sampled this particular Maharashtrian delicacy before. For the uninitiated, Kothimbir Wadi is nothing but coriander fritters in a chickpea (besan) batter, usually steamed first and deep-fried later.

Wadeshwar has a lovely selection of food and drink that we would love to try out (Lemon Lassi included – I haven’t found that anywhere else!), but we were already stuffed to the gills with the food from Tatyo’s, so weren’t up to anything more than Kothimbir Wadi and a cup of tea each.

I loved the presentation of the Wadi but, honestly, it wasn’t something we loved. The tea wasn’t up to the mark either. The OH echoed my thoughts. That said, Wadeshwar is one of Pune’s most famous joints, known mostly for its South Indian food. Maybe, the next time around, we will choose a different genre of food here.

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Kothimbir Wadi at Wadeshwar

Neera at a roadside stall

This time of the year, when winter is just about to end and summer is all set to begin, you find foods from both seasons at the places you visit. Pune was no exception. We came across hundreds of roadside stalls across the city, selling Neera, also called Sweet Toddy or Palm Nectar. Considered a winter specialty, Neera is a delightful drink that is loaded with nutrition.

I have beautiful memories of going to Neera stalls with Appa in Ahmedabad, early in the morning, before the mercury levels soared and the drink would start fermenting. I couldn’t resist grabbing a glass of Neera from one of the roadside stalls in Pune, on the go while visiting some tourist spots, and it was just as refreshing, just as delightful as I remembered.

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Grabbing Neera at a roadside stall

Masala Tak by the roadside

Summer is fast taking over India, and Pune is gearing up to meet it head-on. At least, that is the impression the streets of Pune conveyed to us. We came across stall after stall selling masala tak (buttermilk) and summer street delights like raw mangoes.

We grabbed a few glasses of masala tak on the move, from different stalls. Everywhere, it was priced between Rs. 10 and Rs. 15, and was fresh and cool and lovely. I would highly recommend this to you, if you visit Pune this time of year.

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A roadside stall selling masala tak and laddoos

Maharashtrian Thali at Hotel Shreyas, Apte Road

Hotel Shreyas is one of Pune’s best eateries, serving only Maharashtrian Thali for lunch and dinner. We headed to the hotel for both lunch and dinner, and were served a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous thali that included a whole lot of delicious Maharashtrian Brahmin food. I absolutely loved the food here – the aamti and kadhi specially. Priced at closed to Rs. 300 per head, the thali here is a lovely experience, one that I would absolutely recommend.

Each thali here comes with unlimited servings and one sweet dish of your choice. The OH opted for the modak, which was brilliant, and I went for the basundi, which was equally delectable. Make sure you have plenty of space in your tummy before you visit, though – the thali is quite heavy.

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Maharashtrian Thali at Hotel Shreyas
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The sinful basundi at Hotel Shreyas

I badly wanted to try out the Aam Ras, Amba Poli (mango pooran poli) and the Amrakhand (mango shrikhand) here, but my stomach didn’t permit me to. 😦 Well, all the more reason to visit Pune again, right?

Gawping at the chocolate bouquets at Brugge, Aundh

Brugge is a beautiful chocolate shop with a few outlets in Pune, that you absolutely should not miss out on. The specialty here are the chocolate bouquets, which are perfect for gifting. They have chocolate bouquets of all shapes and sizes, and to suit most occasions. The prices are on the higher side, though. We went into Brugge in Aundh just to gawp at the prettiness of it, as we did on our last Pune visit too, at the Dhole Patil Road outlet. πŸ™‚

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The Brugge outlet in Aundh
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A chocolate bouquet for sale in Brugge, Aundh

Actually, we didn’t go into Brugge just to gawp at the chocolate bouquets – we went there to rediscover their Chocolate Shots, which we had had on our last visit and fallen in love with. The Chocolate Shots are little glasses of warm, gooey, liquid chocolate that are absolutely divine and will have your heart racing in the good sort of way. Sadly, we were told that the Aundh outlet doesn’t sell them, but that we could find them at their Dhole Patil Road branch. We didn’t have the time to head to Dhole Patil Road, but if you are there, I would urge you to stop by at Brugge for the shots, and gawp your heart’s content at the chocolate bouquets there, in the meanwhile.

Pani poori with ragda at Ganesh Bhel, Aundh

Bangalore has street-side carts selling paani poori with a ragda-like dry pea gravy, but the ragda served with pani poori in Pune is something totally different. The ragda in Pune is bland, just a warm and salted dry pea gravy, which allows the flavours of the paani to come through. We decided to sample some pani pooris at Ganesh Bhel in Aundh, because the ragda looked so different from the one available commonly in Bangalore. We weren’t disappointed.

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Pani poori with ragda at Ganesh Bhel, Aundh

I am not a big fan of warm pani pooris, but these ones were just perfect. The paani was a mix of spicy and sweet, unlike the usual only-spicy paani available elsewhere.

Mastani at Sujata Mastani, Aundh

We were told that our culinary pilgrimage in Pune wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have a Mastani at Sujata Mastani, one of the most famous ice cream parlours in the city with over 15 outlets. We stopped by at the Aundh outlet, where I had a highly-recommended Mango Mastani and the OH opted for a Rose Mastani.

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Sujata Mastani, one of the oldest ice cream parlours in Pune

If you are wondering what a Mastani is, let me tell you that it is a rich milkshake with ice cream. The Mango Mastani was absolutely heavenly. The Rose Mastani was good too, but after the Mango Mastani, we didn’t have the eyes (or the tongue! πŸ˜› ) for anything else.

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Rose Mastani and Mango Mastani at Sujata Mastani, Aundh

Solkadhi in a packet on the Pune-Shirdi highway

En route to Shirdi from Pune, we stopped at a restaurant (whose name I am unable to recall now!) for tea and snacks. I noticed them selling packaged Solkadhi (a Goan-Konkani specialty drink made with coconut milk and kokum). It might not be the authentic deal, but I have got to try it out, I said to myself. I couldn’t leave without sampling it, considering that we have visited parts of Maharashtra and Goa so many times, but never had Solkadhi.

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Solkadhi in a package

The OH and I did buy a packet of Solkadhi each, but sadly, we didn’t fall in love with it the way we had thought we would. It isn’t really our kind of drink, apparently. Or, maybe, we should try it out at a different time, in a different place?

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And, with that, we come to the end of our Pune foodie chronicles – only the foodie chronicles from Pune, mind you! πŸ™‚ There is a lot more from the trip coming up on the blog soon. Stay tuned!

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36 thoughts on “On A Culinary Trail In Pune, Maharashtra

  1. dreamzandclouds

    i am drooling here! πŸ˜›
    I have never been to Pune but a few months ago one of my colleagues went there for a training and he got us some sweets which were too good, I still remember the wonderful taste of the anjeer barfi amongst many other delicious sweets πŸ˜€

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  2. hoarderofallthings

    I haven’t been to either Wadeshwar or Shreyas in all these years of living in Pune.
    Ganesh Bhel is awesome though and so is Sujata Mastani.
    There is this shop next to Joshi Wadewale opposite DagduSheth Halwai Mandir. That guy has the yummiest taak. And even though that shop sells photo frames and such,he stores these glasses of taak in a tiny refrigerator. πŸ™Š
    Also,Chaitanya Parathas on FC road. The waiting time is too much but it is very filling. And the brownies of Brownie Point ( again on FC road). And if you are in Kothrud area,you have to try the Cad B and grilled Hara Bhara Paneer sandwhich at the Cad B outlet in Karishma. Even the other sandwiches are good,but this one is the best among all.

    Then,there is this entire lane on Dhole Patil road serving every possible thing from Indo Chinese to parathas. There is a similar lane in the old city but I can’t remember the exact name of that area. πŸ™ŠπŸ™Š

    And like someone said above,the shrewsberry biscuits from Kayani Bakery are heaven. And a thick cold coffee( even the one at the Cad B outlet in Kothrud) is a must try.

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  3. Pepper

    This sounds so heavenly! I feel like making a trip to Pune right away..

    Although I must say you are brave if you have so much street side food with ease. While I love street side food too, I stick to stuff like toasts, wadas, samosas, or dry things that don’t have a high water content and things that have been fried / very well cooked.

    I don’t think I would have the gut to stomach roadside taak. I’d keep imagining the tap water that went into it. Maybe cos I have been burned too many times in the past. But I am thinking I could try and loosen up a bit!

    This post made me so hungry!

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    • The Girl Next Door

      @Pepper

      The taak was heavenly. Tap water or not, I didn’t mind sampling it one bit! πŸ™‚ Also, after roaming around outside in all that heat, we desperately needed something cool to drink.

      That said, I am quite cautious while eating out in Bangalore. When we are out of home, somehow, these things don’t seem to matter. We are anyways out of home and are going to eat out, irrespective of what goes into it.

      Thank you! Glad you liked the post! πŸ™‚

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  4. perspectivesandprejudices

    Oh I’ve eaten at Hotel Shreyas before! It was during a trip to Pune with my girlfriends when we were in college. I remember it being a delicious meal with so many things I hadn’t eaten before, but SO much food! I could barely do justice to the meal πŸ˜€

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  5. princessbutter

    I have eaten only at Ganesh Bhel and Wadeshwar from all the places you mentioned and I have zero memory about Hotel Shreyas although I feel I will never go there for entirely different emotional reasons. I don’t like those warm Pune Pani puris too but I have them, kya kare abhi. And I am not fond of Kothmir vadi too.
    I have good memories of my 11th standard ka birthday celebration at Wadeshwar with friends and then boyfriend. πŸ™‚ And 2 years back I had breakfast there with my bestie Hazra after he had graciously taken me on an early morning visit to Dagdusheth Ganpati. So, that place is good. πŸ™‚

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    • The Girl Next Door

      @Princessbutter

      Oh, I keep forgetting that you are from that part of India! πŸ™‚

      We didn’t get a chance to eat much at Wadeshwar. Maybe, next time…

      The bhel at Ganesh Bhel remains to be tried out too.

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  6. Kavs

    My school was near Shreyas…Pune, I miss you! And the food…god! I am hit by such nostalgia. Thankfully I have Chitale’s bakharwadi available here to feed my soul πŸ™‚ Glad to see you guys had a great time eating πŸ™‚ seriously there’s so much to eat in Pune, on every street.

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  7. parijatshukla2014

    Oh lovely post. Now that I have moved to Delhi I can surely take help from this blog on a future visit to Pune. Please also post sometimes about interesting aspects of Mumbai and its life,not so known places etc. Would love to read that.
    Today while on morning walk I happened to accidently visit Mahakaali caves in Mumbai and absolutely loved the old caves containing memories from so distant past and I was wondering why no one told me about these ! πŸ™‚

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    • The Girl Next Door

      @Parijatshukla2014

      Thanks! Glad you found the post useful! πŸ™‚

      I stay in Bangalore. I have zero knowledge about Mumbai. This trip to Pune (and the sort of culinary trail that we went on) just happened. That said, if at all we visit Mumbai, I will definitely write about the places we visit there and the foods that we try out there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Girl Next Door

      @Sudhagee

      Well, sadly, we didn’t know about Kayani at all. So, no, we didn’t visit Kayani. 😦

      We didn’t visit Chitale Bandhu either this time around, but we have been there on our last trip.

      This time, I picked up some Chitale Bandhu bhakarwadi from the airport kiosk, among other things. πŸ™‚

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