On World Vegetarian Day, here are 12 restaurants to check out in Chennai
Vegetarian food in Chennai is no longer just about sambhar and idli. Restaurants are now breaking boundaries and trying their hand at fusion, whipping up creations like BBQ idli, Lotus stem kebabs and Madras pizza. From a Jain-friendly Italian outlet to a restaurant which offers experimental dishes like deconstructed sushi, we’ve come up with a list of 14 vegetarian places in Chennai that would pull even the ardent meat-lovers to its tables.
Chilli caviar beads, kulfi crystals and mango-flavoured rock chips: Spice Klub applies molecular gastronomy to North Indian cuisine. The restaurant down the Nungambakkam High Road promises to blow your mind with their liquid-nitrogen tricks. Their Chole Kulche, for example, is topped with green foam!
Good to know: Don’t miss out their Pav Bhaji, Swiss style!
Meal for two: Rs 1,200.
The famous Sowcarpet restaurant has opened its second outlet in Kilpauk. Now, you can leave the hustle behind and gorge on their timeless Gujarati meals and other Continental additions. Don’t miss their Bharwaan aloo tikka (soft stuffed potato rings) and their flavourful Handi biryani. As always, their nail the flavours.
Good to know: By the evening, hot samosas and kachories fly off their chaat section
Meal for two: Rs 450
80 Degrees East Lounge
This cafe in Teynampet gives you an instant wanderlust and serves bistro-style vegetarian food. Look out for their Crunchy sliders; it almost tastes like meat. And their shakes come with a wave of nostalgia. Who wouldn’t love Parle-G and Bourbon shakes? And for the adventurous foodie, they have a pizza, topped with popcorn!
Good to know: Maggi lovers look out for Paneer Haven, Schezwan Maggi and a whole lot of other creations with your favourite noodle.
Meal for two: ₹ 600
What’s not to like about this tiny pasta shop tucked away in a corner in Kilpauk? We love their dry herbed pasta and their other versions of the classic Italian dish are also topnotch. Their garlic bread with creamy crunchy toppings and the classic lemon tea are to die for. And the best part: It’s light on the pocket.
Good to know: The cafe is almost always crowded
Meal for two: Rs 350
This space at The Slate in Nungambakkam whips up experimental eats like Auzania (lasagna sans pasta) and Lazy Sushi. Upma and the grilled Zucchini salad feature in their ‘healthy’ section. For the adventurous foodie, this outlet is THE place. They call themselves a “modern Indian fusion bistro” and boy, do they deliver.
Good to know: Don’t miss this dish masquerading as a beverage: a Croissant in a mug!
Meal for two: Rs 500
Bengaluru-style dosas in Chennai! The quintessential pancake is crisp, smothered with butter and served with sambar which has a dash of jaggery. Their soft thattu idli, coated with gunpowder and a glass of their kaju rose milk will keep you happy for days together. The most popular dish is their neer dosa served with sweet side dish made of grated coconut mixed with jaggery
Good to know: There are no seats at this outlet on the busy Poonamallee Road, only standing tables to keep the crowd moving at a steady pace.
Meal for two: Rs 200
This resto cafe in Nungambakkam is the right place for students preparing for exams. And their sought-after Chilli Paneer paired with mint chutney might even make your prep a little easier. The outlet in Nungambakkam even has a separate workspace complete with charging points and Wifi routers. Also, we hear that their pizzas are cheesy and delicious.
Good to know: They plan to stay open till 3 am in the night
Meal for two: Rs 800
Soul Garden Bistro
If you’re looking for out-of-the box food that’s also healthy, this place is yours. Their Buddha bowl with thinly sliced red radishes and crunchy sprouts is irresistible. Don’t miss their BBQ idlis and Madras Pizza with masala vadai toppings. Their famous Madras burger with activated-charcoal buns is also worth a try.
Good to know: This bistro is pet-friendly and has an exclusive menu for canines!
Meal for two Rs 800
Situated along the beach in Neelankarai, Baywatch is the perfect place for a romantic dinner. They specialize in North Indian and Continental cuisine. But the best part of the outlet is its location. You can either choose to dine in on their rooftop overlooking the waves or you can light up your night and take your seats in their candle room--a warm cozy room with rows of candles.
Good to know: The right place to organise a get together; there’s also a pool that you can use
Meal for two: Rs 1,000
The menu of Rolling pin wants to go global. Sample Indian, American, Asian, Continental and even Lebanese cuisine at this brand new restaurant in Nungambakkam. You can have simple, but a spot-on Corn Wheels or opt for their Mac and Cheese which comes in two versions (classic and spicy) and two sizes (petite and grande).
Good to know: Choose between black, red, white and brown rice as part of their customisable Rice Bowls
Meal for two: Rs 1,200
This outlet on Wallace Garden Road serves up surprises. One of their appetisers (or dessert?) is a gluten-free tortilla cone with creamy avocado ice cream. There’s even a hidden layer of savoury black beans in the cone. The outlet specialises in Mexican and Italian cuisine: think Cannellonis and Enchiladas.
Good to know: Most items on the menu can be made Jain-friendly.
Meal for two: Rs 1,200
This restaurant in Egmore, which has been around for decades now, specialises in Udupi cuisine. And along with Chennai’s tastebuds, the outlet too has evolved. While they have pasta and lasagna on the menu, neer dosa and thattu idly remain crowd favourites. Their Udupi Special Platter for lunch, we hear is … legendary.
Good to know: They are open from 7 am to 1.30 am
Meal for two: Rs 400