There are some excellent Bengali restaurants in Kolkata, where you can enjoy authentic and delicious tasting Bengali cuisine. A hit in Kolkata, many of these restaurants have gone on to open up branches all over India. Seafood lovers will really love seafood dominated Bengali food. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! To get the most from your dining experience, keep in mind how Bengalis eat their food to preserve the subtle flavors -- vegetarian dishes first, followed by fish, and then meat.
1. Oh! Calcutta
If you've got money to splurge on eating out, you won't be disappointed with Oh! Calcutta. This award winning, fine dining restaurant can now be found in major cities across India. It aims to recreate dishes from traditional old style Bengali recipes, selected through painstaking research. The environment is elegant, and there's a private dining area as well. Expect to pay around 1,500-2,000 rupees for two people.
- Address: Forum Mall, 10/3 Elgin Road, Lala Lajpat Rai Sarani, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)2283-7161.
- What's Good: You can't go wrong with the seafood. The Gandharaj Bhetki (steamed fish flavored with lemon) and Aam Ilish (mango hilsa fish) are popular.
In testament to its popularity, 6 Ballygunge Place is another Bengali cuisine restaurant that's branched out across India, and Kolkata. The original one is located in a white character filled converted bungalow, with plenty of old world charm, in Ballygunge. A meal for two at this mid-range restaurant will cost around 1,000-1,200 rupees.
- Address: 6 Ballygunge Place, Ballygunge, Kolkata. Also at DD 31 A, Sector 1, Salt Lake, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)2460-3922.
- What's Good: Try the Pabda Macher Jhal (spicy fish curry, prepared with mustard paste and poppy seeds.)
In the New Market area and serving authentic Dhakai Bangladeshi cuisine, award winning Kasturi is an inexpensive but delicious option. Established in 1994, the restaurant pioneered this type of cuisine in the city. Ignore the uninspiring decor, the food is what counts there. A meal for two will cost around 500 rupees.
- Address: 7A Mustaque Ahmed Street, New Market Area, Kolkata. There are branches in Ballygunge and Hindustan Road as well.
- Phone: (cell) 8334922221; 9748906025.
- What's Good: The signature dish, Kochu Bhapa Chingri (steamed prawns with taro root).
4. The Bhoj Company
Also in the New Market area and serving primarily Dhakai Bangladeshi cuisine, The Bhoj Company is a relatively new addition to the dining scene in Kolkata (it opened in 2012). It's a small but elegant restaurant that's developed a loyal local following. The food is affordable, super authentic and servings are generous. Expect to pay around 400 rupees for two.
- Address: 30A Free School Street, New Market Area, Mirza Ghalib Street, Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)4006-6003.
- What's Good: Kochu Pata Diye Ilish Bhapa, Bhetki Paturi, and Chingri Machher Malai Curry.
Don't have much time to eat? Bhojohori Manna is where you should head to get tasty Bengali cuisine on the run. And with outlets all over Kolkata, you're sure to find one conveniently close by. The restaurant is named after a famous Bengali track, sung by Manna Dey, for a film made in the 70s. The track "ami sri sri bhojohri manna..." revolves around a magical cook who traveled to many lands and acquired a unique culinary style of his own. A meal for two will cost around 400 rupees.
- Address: Locations at Ekdalia Road, Hazra, Salt Lake Sectors I & V, Star Theatre (Hatibagan), Ruby (Kasba Industrial Estate), Esplanade, and Hindustan Road (most upmarket, recommended).
- Phone: (33)2466-3941 or (33)2466-7686.
- What's Good: Kosha Mangsho (mutton curry) and Daab Chingri (coconut prawn curry).
Kewpies Kitchen started as an intimate, unassuming, family run restaurant over a decade ago but has taken the city of Kolkata by storm. Located in the owner's home, it seats just 50 people. Sadly, service standards have reportedly declined in recent years but if you want reasonably priced Bengali food in a unique environment, do give it a try. Expect to pay 600-800 rupees for two people.
- Address: 2 Elgin Lane (behind Netaji Bhawan), Kolkata.
- Phone: (33)2475-9880.
- What's Good: The traditional Bengali thali (platter) served on a banana leaf.