Scouting for thali restaurants in Pune just got easier. We decided to cover what we felt has been the best thali experiences and the consensus is “Wow”.
Well, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” says Virginia Woolf and we kinda agree with her. So, here’s to more dining out and exploring the gastronomical delights that Pune has to offer.
About Thali Meals
According to Wiki, Thali is a popular method of serving meals in South Asia. The idea behind a thali is to offer all the 6 different flavors of sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent, and spicy on one single plate. According to Indian food customs, a proper meal should be a perfect balance of all these six flavors. Thali Restaurants provide you with the perfect mix of flavor and variety.
But we believe there is more to it. Thalis restaurant serves as the opening to the entire gamut of Indian cuisine, which changes from every district to district.
You may find a Bengali thali restaurant that differs in its offering of vegetable and fish dishes when moves from East to West, The East Bengal thali will feature a Bhorta (Mashed vegetables, fish with mustard oil, and cilantro) but a West Bengal Thali will feature Aloo Posto (Potatoes cooked in poppy seed paste, tempered with nigella seeds).
Thali cuisine in itself is very unique and every city has something different to offer, based on the demographics of the city which determines its foodscape. Pune manages to bring in a very refreshing variety to this culture.
Thali cuisine of Pune
About Pune, the city has a lot to offer to the food scene apart from the scenic beauty of the Western Ghats and the historic heritage of the Peshwas, under whom Pune modernized and accommodated all and sundry.
The 6 divisions of Maharashtra that is Marathwada, Vidarbha, Konkan, Khandesh, and Desh dominate the foodscape when it comes to Thali but with Pune becoming more cosmopolitan, we now have Rajasthani, Gujarati, Andhra, Kerala, Bengali cuisine coming to the fore too.
So, what according to us are the best Thali restaurants in Pune that you cannot miss? Let’s find out. You will be surprised with this motley mix!
1. Hotel Jagdamba, Shivapur-Khed
Any visit to Pune is incomplete if you have not tried their thali. The meat-eater in you will remain dissatisfied and your soul shall not have salvation if you commit this mistake. By far the best thali restaurant in Pune that we have encountered.
The heady aroma of Indrayani rice coupled with Tambda rassa (red gravy which is laden with masala) and the soupy Pandhra rassa (yellowish-white broth which has all the goodness of the mutton fat and whole spices) with a small bowl of ghee is all you need to induce slumber on a Sunday afternoon.
The place is basic with chairs, tables, and waiters doing the rounds, but the food is to die for. In our experience, it’s always best to be nice to the waiter there and throw in an additional tip so that he gives you a discount on the bill.
Word of advice: Opt for public transportation if you can, while heading there. You will not be able to drive post the thali!
Details About Hotel Jagdamba
- The cost for two comes to around 800 rs including taxes.
- It is very value for money, especially for larger outings and family get-togethers in case you don’t want something fancy.
- Map location – Hotel Jagdamba
2. Surve’s, FC road
Located on an arterial road which is a shopping destination and a popular place for students to hang out, Surve’s is one of the thali restaurants in Pune that is considered as the gold standard for the Maharashtrian non-veg fare.
The mutton and chicken kharda which is a green curry made of coriander and chilies is a Satara special (another city in Maharashtra) and is very popular among the diners.
Alongside the usual suspects of Tambda and Pandhra rassa in your thali, you also get a choice of steamed Indrayani rice laced with ghee or an unctuous Aalni bhaat which is mutton broth mixed with Indrayani rice. The staff is pleasant and welcoming and it’s a no-frills space so you can expect good service, some superb fare to gorge on, and lots of happiness
Details About Surve’s, FC road
- It is 550 for two, which is very value for money in our opinion. This place also has the capacity to host large gatherings so you and your loved ones can have a good time with a bellyful of food.
- Map location – Surve’s, FC road
3. Maratha Samrat, Camp
This place needs no introduction in the food map of Pune. The name of the place evokes richness that the food has to offer.
Their best-selling mutton thali is all about mutton in its different glorious forms: mutton kaala ( a moreish onion- dry coconut based gravy with surging spice levels, mutton fry (this needs no introduction), bhakri ( a jowar based flat bread, best had with ghee) and the usual – Tambda and Pandhra rassa. Their kheema fry is manna from heaven and best had with bhakri.
Also, their seafood selection is top-notch and you cannot miss their Surmai Rawa fry, prawns koliwada. It is ideal if one can share multiple varieties of thali amongst others. This will help you taste all fare and trust us, you will not be disappointed.
Details About Maratha Samrat, Camp
- Cost for two comes close to 1200/- inclusive of taxes. In our opinion, it is slightly more expensive than other traditional thali places but the taste is unforgettable. Ideal for small families and friends to eat together. They have multiple outlets in Baner and Kothrud and all of them are equally good.
- Map location – Maratha Samrat, Camp
4. Shree Baba Ramdev Thal, Nigdi
Afterall, Pune does care about its vegetarians and their eclectic choices! This is in Chinchwad, the industrial extension of Pune and serves one of the best Rajasthani thalis.
Their dal bati, churma, gatte ki sabji, ker sangria, pyaz ki subzi (a vegetable side dish made of onions, you must taste it to believe it). Now top this up with Bajre ki khichdi or Khichdi generously dripping in ghee. Food coma is inevitable. So loosen your pants and dig in to the superb fare this place has to offer!
Details About Shree Baba Ramdev Thal, Nigdi
- Cost for two comes close to 500/- inclusive of taxes. They are extremely hospitable and you will have to beg the server to not give you that ghee dripping roti because your stomach is crying. Ideal for large gatherings and families to eat together. Do not miss out on their spiced buttermilk, it will ease your stomach into the gluttony!
- Map location – Shree Baba Ramdev Thal
5. Mathura Pure Veg, JM Road
This is an underrated gem in the heart of Pune. A very non-descript place functioning with the basics but whips up some excellent vegetarian Puneri fare.
Their thalis have bharleli wangi (stuffed aubergine), aamti (dal sweetened with jaggery), varan bhaat with tup (boiled dal-rice and a generous helping of ghee), usal (sprouts side dish), pithla (a gramflour based curry), kadhi and peanuts with jaggery and koshimbir ( a Puneri salad of yogurt and chopped cucumbers tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves).
This thali is served with a green onion stem to munch along and to cut through the flavours. This village style thali is sure to warm the cockles of your heart as you eat mindfully, paying attention to layering of the flavours.
Details About Mathura Pure Veg, JM Road
- Cost for two comes close to 700/- which is slightly on the expensive side but for the flavors it offers, it might be worth it. It is right opposite to the Sambhaji gardens, so a walk in the park post-lunch is highly recommended to make sure the calories are well spent.
- Map location – Mathura Pure Veg, JM Road
6. Kerala cafe, Baner
This place is “Bwit certified lip-smacking food”. From the hearts of Malabar, they bring in the quintessential Malayali touch with toddy shop specials, biriyanis, and superb seafood. The punch of black pepper, fennel, and coconut is the signature smell that will literally transport you to “God’s own country”. This thali restaurant in Pune is definitely a change from the local Maharashtrian cuisine.
Their thalis are varied: ranging from standard meals with chicken, fish, prawns and to buff variants that have avial (a vegetable dish made with curd and starchy vegetables), thoran ( quick stir fry veggies in coconut oil curry leaf tempering with grated coconut), rasam, sambar, banana chips, rice and payasam.
They also have kanji (fermented rice gruel which is a breakfast staple in Kerala) paired with thoran, curd chilies, buff fry, and chammanthi podi (chutney made of coconut and red chilies). They also served banana leaf-wrapped meals called “Pothichoru” which is a full meal of red rice or Matta rice (parboiled soft rice native to Kerala), chammanthi, avial, thoran, sambar, and choice of fish, chicken, or buff.
You can finish off your thalis with desserts like coconut jaggery custard, caramel coconut custard, payasam, and fresh coconut-based ice creams topped with jackfruit, mango, and tropical fruits. Their ice creams are served with cold tender coconut water.
Details About Kerala cafe, Baner
- With alcohol, the cost for two may come up to 1500/-. This is value for money, considering the spread of food and the superb quality they offer. We recommend you go and tuck into your heart’s content because you shall be coming back for more, we promise!
- Map location – Kerala cafe, Baner
7. Bhujbal Bandhu – Hotel Apulki, Karve Nagar
This place is another Puneri favorite, which serves thali that has won over many meat lovers. The mutton bhakri combination is a winning formula and they have aced it.
Their Gavran chicken and mutton thali (country-style thali system) are all about taste. The Alani soup (seasoned chicken broth) is superb stuff and the chicken fry with its gorgeous color and texture is worth visiting this place multiple times.
Details About Bhujbal Bandhu – Hotel Apulki
- The cost for two may come up to 600/-, tax included. This is extremely value for money, considering the quantity and quality they offer. Head over for some country-style chicken curry and wash it down with some buttermilk. Don’t forget to loosen up your pants.
- Map location – Bhujbal Bandhu (Hotel Apulki, Karve Nagar)
8. Aaoji Khaoji, Camp
As you can guess from the name, this place was started by this generous Punjabi family who were into the wholesale distribution of dairy products. Now, their thalis are the talk of the town with so many food bloggers and youtube channels featuring their unique “Bahubali thali”
They wanted to bring the “Taste of Delhi” to the tastebuds of Punekars, hence the experiment started with chaat items, lassi, and parathas. They eventually graduated to serving various thalis named after different celebrities of India i.e. Modiji thali, Deepika Padukone thali, Yuvraj Singh Thali.
No two thalis are the same and the portion sizes are generous. They have parathas, chole, rajma, raita, dal makhana, paneer, dry fruit lassi, and unnamed special subzis which are delicious, by the way, in various combinations. This thali restaurant in Pune gives you a masala mix of taste and Bollywood.
Their 51 rs thali is another crowd puller, specially designed for students and lower-income groups so that they can have a well-balanced meal twice a day without having to worry about inflation.
Bless their Punjabi hearts and generosity, we are sure Punekars are honored to see this hospitality in action. So, word of advice: Do not eat anything if you decide to order their thalis, your eyes may get tired before your mouth does.
Details About Aaoji Khaoji, Camp
- The cost for two may come up to 900/-, tax included. This is value for money for the humongous quantity that comes at this price and the unparalleled taste. You can treat your friends and family to some typical North Indian fare and see them gasping for breath after all that delicious food.
- Map location – Aaoji Khaoji, Camp
9. Little Konkan, Baner
Bringing you a slice of Konkan right from Sindhudurg which is famous for its lipsmacking seafood and pristine beaches, the owners have got the formula right.
Starting with Solkadhi, which is staple on the coast, you get to graduate onto the fish fry, rice, chapati and fish curry. They also specialize in Goan-style fish curries. You get all the varieties from Bangda, Surmai, Prawns, Crabs, Rawas etc.
Apart from their thalis, their Malvani-style preparation of chicken and crabs needs to be tasted along with Vade (deep-fried flatbread paired with thick gravies). They also have prawns biriyani on their menu, which is simply mouthwatering. Trust us, we are salivating as we are writing about this experience.
Details About Little Konkan, Baner
- The cost for two may come up to 900/-, tax included. For those who miss the coast and its food and all the Goa lovers, this should be the place of the congregation as it is value for money and tickles your taste buds like no other. Grab your friend by the collar and make him/her come here, surely they will thank you later.
- Map location – Little Konkan, Baner
10. Maharaja Bhog, Pavillion Mall, Senapati Bapat Road
This place treats you like royalty like nobody’s business. The thalis are giant-sized platters and unlimited servings of Rajasthani and Gujarati delicacies.
The servers are extremely hospitable and they welcome you like the star of the evening by helping you wash your hands in bell metal vessels and serving you a welcome drink. Then comes the thali which is again in bell metal and almost accommodates meals for two people.
The thalis have 4 vegetable dishes, 4 varieties of dal, flatbreads, and accompaniments, Dahi Wada (spicy fried dumplings in sweetened and seasoned yogurt), chutneys, rice, and varieties of sweets. In the end, they offer you masala paan which is a great way to end the meal.
Details About Maharaja Bhog, Pavillion Mall
- The cost for two may come up to 1200/-, tax included. This is high-end vegetarian dining and the luxury you experience while you are on this gastronomic journey is unparalleled so it’s worth the price. You can treat your vegetarian friends like royalty and be sure to witness their jaws fall off post-meal experience.
- Map location – Maharaja Bhog, Pavillion Mall
With Pune’s rich and vibrant city life, it has managed to make a dent in the food scene with well-known franchises and restaurants opening their outlets in the city. Among these, the Thalis hold their own special place by managing to showcase a fraction of what food looks and tastes like in Maharashtra and across India.
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Do try out these thali restaurants in Pune and do let us know what has your experience been like, we shall keep covering more Pune food stories for you. Do comment, like, share, and subscribe and show us your love, cos that’s what keeps us going.