Indulge turns 15: Celebrating the traditional South Indian meal, here are 10 saapad options in Chennai

We celebrate our local flavours and traditional recipes with the typical South Indian elai saapad, an introduction to Chennai’s tradition, culture and culinary etiquette even; here are 10 options. 

author_img Sabrina Rajan Published :  23rd October 2022 01:15 AM   |   Published :   |  23rd October 2022 01:15 AM

Model: Sainna Boopathy at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

As we celebrate our local flavours and traditional recipes, the typical South Indian elai saapad is a delightful symbol of tradition, culture and culinary etiquette even. A quintessential introduction to Chennai’s lunch diaries, we bring you 10 options from across the city that boast traditional fare and yet unique must-try signature dishes...

Dakshin | Alwarpet

At Dakshin

Known for their iconic traditional interiors and grand hospitality, the Dakshin at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park Hotel has a wild following in the city. Their extravagant thali is deeply satisfying in terms of homely flavours and variety. Don’t forget to ask for their Instagrammable filter coffee that is poured from a metre high!

INR 1,900 onwards.

Shree Konar Vilas | Anna Nagar

At Shree Konar Vilas

Started as a tiny outlet in Purasaiwakkam, due to the fantastic response, Dr Karthik Mukesh, the founder of the restaurant, opened a bigger space in Anna Nagar. We suggest you order some of the delectable sides from the menu — even though the lunch meal can be quite filling. Expect authentic signatures like the goat’s intestine, the kudal tava fry, is not for the faint-hearted but is surprisingly palatable and works well with the fluffy bun parottas.

INR 175 onwards.

Parambriym | Anna Nagar

At Parambriym

Their non-veg meal consists of some irresistible signatures; podi urundai, sambar, fish curry, chicken curry, chicken sukka, nethili fry, thogayal, poriyal, buttermilk, appalam and the day’s special payasam. They also have a seafood meal which consists of fish curry, fish fry, sura puttu, nethili fry, poriyal and rasam.

INR 345 onwards.

Mathsya | Egmore

Ram Bhat of Mathsya talks about their Madras Thali that is specially curated for the regular customer. “Keeping in mind the customer’s health and that he should’nt get bored of the veggies, we keep changing the rasam, sambar and poriyal combination on a daily basis. Like potato, kovakai, cabbage, beans carrot, beetroot, brinjal, snake gourd, raw banana, senai kizhangu etc.” The vegetarian fair included is a great example of our indigenous produce — a perfect culinary lesson in Chennai’s local flavours.

INR 210 onwards.

Knockout Rusi | Velachery

At Knockout Rusi

Known for robust South Indian flavours, this one started as a cloud kitchen during the pandemic. Thanks to popular demand they set up a restaurant soon enough. Experience their signatures all together in one Grand Spread KOR Kari Virunthu! From Rayalaseema Leg Fry and Nool Parotta to KOR Special Meen Kuzhambu and Muttai Mittai, this one should be reserved for a Sunday afternoon. Don’t miss the South Samba Mutton Biryani, that’s part of this spread.

INR 445 onwards.

Madurai Kumar Mess | Vadapalani

From humble beginings that date back to a pushcart on the streets of Madurai in 1991, Madurai Kumar Mess has five outlets today. From Kari Dosa to Crab Egg Kottu Parotha, they bring iconic Madurai dishes to the city. The charm of the meals is the sides that one must order. Unabashedly non-vegetarian, you must try their Mutton Nenju Kuzhambu along with some mandatory veechu parotta.

INR 120 onwards.

Savya Rasa | Kotturpuram

At Savya Rasa

A lavish spread, the meal comprises an array of vegetables and interesting vintage recipes. “We want to give you a taste of exquisite South Indian flavours with a fine dining vibe — but at a reasonable cost,” says Japtej Ahluwalia, one of the partners. Don’t miss the thenga paal rasam which is a tasty, brothy, mild soup and for those who like a hit of pepper the Chettinad Nandu Rasam is robust with the crab flavour.

INR 749 onwards.

Hotel Junior Kupanna | Nungambakkam

At Junior Kupanna

Offering delicious Kongu Nadu food, this eatery is known for the the traditional meals served the authentic way on fresh banana leaves, the age-old Tamil saapadu style. The journey of Junior Kuppanna begins in the early ’60s with founder Thiru Kuppusamy’s purpose to bring Kongu Nadu cuisine to the world. Truly humble beginnings, he set up a small eatery with a mere 12 seats. His signature traditional Kongu Nadu Biryani was the talk of the town. JK now has 50+ branches across Tamil Nadu.

INR 170 onwards.

Southern Spice | Nungambakkam

At Southern Spice

Expect an array of eclectic choices with creations to tempt the taste-buds and pique the senses. If you are in a celebratory mood, we suggest the seafood delight, Kadal Virundhu — an extravagant coastal fare from all southern states featuring four seafood and four vegetarian starters, three seafood and four vegetarian main course dishes; and rice, breads, biryani and three desserts.

INR 5,750 onwards.

Paati Veedu | T Nagar

At Paati Veedu

Go with an ample appetite as the Poorna Bhakshana is a seven course special South Indian Thali that promises a meal of excesses to tease your taste buds with. Savour a variety of kalandha sadham like coconut rice with red pumpkin pachadi, among many other delicacies. Once you are done with your meal, don’t miss their snack corner — Bakshanam. Pick up some delicious murukkus and seedai for your tea-time. Lunches on weekends:

INR 1,350.

Main picture credits: Model: Sainna Boopathy Photography: R Satish Babu | Make-up & Hair: Prema Kannan | Sari: VaraMahalakshmi Silks | Jewellery: Challani Jewellery | Eyewear: Arnette, The House of Luxottica | Location: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park