Pondicherry: A Food-Lover’s Paradise!

I am convinced Erma Bombeck, the popular American humorist had a valid reason when she said:  “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.” I know this must have made you wonder about the Titanic or women or desserts. For some of us, it might even ring a bell and coax us to do things right now because who knows what the future would bring along. I won’t get into philosophy at the moment, but yes I sure will talk about desserts and food (and about eating).

So, are you one of those people who let good food take over their senses? Or one of those who yearn to travel to all places possible for the discovery of scrumptious delicacies? If you’re still with me on this, close your eyes and think about the best culinary experience you’ve ever had. Isn’t it difficult to separate one great food moment from another? Ah! I know you love food; just like I do. Perhaps this love for food exhorted me to go to Pondicherry last month.

Puducherry (that’s what they call it now) is a Union Territory in India which was a French colony in the past. This place still has strong French influences and is a well-liked tourist location predominantly because it houses some stunning colonial buildings, churches, Ashrams, French quarters, a few beaches and some fantastic restaurants. We stayed in Pondy (the affectionate name of Pondicherry) for two days and probably ate the finest stuff we had eaten in months or years or decades. I won’t ram you into the ‘food-reverie’ again but what I’d do is – mention some of the best places to eat while you’re there so that you come to me and thank me for opening your eyes and also your taste buds. Below is a list of five of the most remarkable eateries in Pondicherry that I traversed in my two day excursion. Of course there are a couple of other cool restaurants as well which I couldn’t check out because of a lack of time. However, the ones mentioned below would be enough to make you fall in love with food all over again!

  1. Satsanga: A blend of the most amazing European as well as Indian cuisine embellished with an appealing setting, Satsanga is one of the paramount finds when it comes to food in Pondy. Try the exotic French food, the pastas, lasagnas, chicken and fish preparations or some never-heard-before vegetarian delicacies. You know what the key here is? Experiment. And trust me, you can never go wrong!
  2. The Cafeteria at the Auroville Ashram: I’d specifically ask you to go to the Auroville Ashram not only for the quietude, architecture and splendor but also for the food. At their in-house cafes, you can gorge on some of the most delicious organic food. Yes, you read this right. ORGANIC and super-healthy. Try the soups, dals, brown rice, cakes, brownies and whatever you can lay your hands on. With every bite you take, you’ll feel healthier and more content.

    organic-food

    Organic food thali at the Auroville Ashram Cafe

  3. Le Club: Okay, this one place is frequently placed at the topmost level when you’re looking for a nice restaurant or club in the Union Territory. Le Club is crammed with the right people, a wonderful staff and some delightful treats. I remember eating the vegetable lasagna which was so delicious that we ordered for a second round straight away. At Le Club, we ate like there wouldn’t be a tomorrow and I am so glad that there was because we were again bowled over by the food we tried the following day. (Yes. Read on).
  1. Anand Bhawan: I wasn’t too keen on going to Anand Bhawan which is exceedingly admired for its south Indian cuisine because of my un-love for idlis, dosas and sambhar(un-love isn’t a word but I couldn’t have used ‘hate’ because that’s too negative and food is all things positive. Right?). Nevertheless, this place was like a revelation when I tried some of the authentic Tamilian food. Everything was well-prepared with the perfect blend of spices and taste. Also, I was so relieved with the North-Indian cuisine on menu. The Raj kachori, Chhole Bhature and dahi puri were as yummy as they are in the North. I think it makes sense to try some local foodstuff when you’re anywhere and Anand Bhawan made that possible for me. I must accept readers; I loved it!
  1. Villa Shanti: This was our last spot before heading back to Bangalore and following the previous food encounters we never thought it could get any better. You know how it’s like you validate one thing as the best and you cannot believe that there can be anything superior and yet that’s what Villa Shanti turned out to be. This place undoubtedly had the most sophisticated, idealistic and beautiful ambiance. Once we started placing our order, an amalgamation of vegetarian and non vegetarian, European and Indian, starters, main-course and desserts; we couldn’t really stop. The food was incredible. It had everything that can satiate your taste buds and make you go oh! so crazy. We kept eating for a really long time because that’s what this place did: It held our hearts in our mouths.

    fish-spaghetti

    Baked fish with spaghetti at Villa Shanti

Pondicherry has a lot more than just food but let’s be honest, it won’t be as brilliant a place to visit if you minus the delicacies and the restaurants. Go there to indulge. And you’d want to go back again (Like me).

Have you had any great food-experiences in the past? I’d love to know about them in the comments section.

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