Villa Shanti: Among one of many French colonial villas that have morphed into intimate boutique hotels. It's the hotel's restaurant that has become its calling card. Quite a few Pondicherry restaurants claim to serve Continental/French cuisine; Villa Shanti doesn't try too hard to fit into any box, focusing instead on delivering consistent food quality. One of my 'go to' dishes here is the prawn and pomelo salad, which cleverly substitutes glass noodles with the pomelo and their flourless orange, and almond cake served with chocolate mousse is one of Pondicherry's best desserts.
F.U.N. Restaurant, Dune Eco Village and Spa: Spread over 35 acres with its own casuarina-fringed private beach, Dune comprises uniquely designed bungalows where traditional architecture, modern design and kitsch converge. F.U.N, the resort's signature restaurant with a casual vibe, is one of the only pet-friendly dining spaces in Pondicherry. The menu tries to find a balance between healthy and scrumptious meals - it is a big champion of organic food. Their popular millet biryani is evidence.
Maison Perumal: Most tourists hardly leave the French Quarter. CGH Earth's charming hotel is one good reason you must. This was once a sprawling Chettiar mansion (it's over 130 years old) and is in the former Tamil Quarter. It's also one of the only fine dining experiences where local Tamil cuisine comes to the fore. The dining experience (for in-house guests) can also include a visit to the busy Goubert market along with one of their Chefs. Some of the 'must try' dishes include their curry leaf coated fish and pepper mushrooms. (Also Read: 10 of Chennai's Finest Cafes )
Auroville Bakery and Restaurant:It's a popular breakfast venue but an even more popular pit-stop for visitors looking to take home some of Auroville's baked goodies. This bakery in the heart of Auroville leads to a cosy café where you can sample some of Pondicherry's best croissants and omelettes for breakfast. Their breads are terrific, while most regulars recommend their cinnamon rolls and walnut brownies.
Le Duplex:This 18th century heritage building was originally constructed to serve as the residence of the Mayor of Pondicherry. It was transformed into a boutique hotel with the central courtyard serving as a dining space. The menu is exhaustive and includes everything from pasta to Indian cuisine. There's also a selection of what the restaurant calls 'Pondicherry Fusion cuisine' that includes some interesting dishes like a rasam with coconut milk and shrimps and anchovies tossed with Indian spices and served with aioli. (Also Read: 8 Best Restaurants in Chennai You Must Visit )
Surguru:If you're looking for a break from Pondicherry's cafes and it's version of Continental cuisine, make a quick stop at Surguru. It's a great option for breakfast or an evening snack (along with an invigorating cup of filter coffee), where South Indian staples like their crispy dosas and sambar vada hold sway. There's more than one Surguru in Pondicherry, but if you're staying in the French Quarter, the compact Surguru Spot on Jawaharlal Nehru Street is the closest.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.