Once a leafy, almost sleepy residential zone, Anna Nagar has emerged as one of Chennai's most vibrant retail and dining destinations. Anna Nagar's contemporary dining scene reflects the diversity in Chennai's F&B scene with a mix of local and international dining options. From Asian restaurants to restobars, it's all in the mix:
1. The Void
Spread over three levels, Void is positioned as a neighbourhood restrobar with a distinct experience at every level. This includes a sports bar on level one and a quieter al-fresco section that is perfect for an intimate dinner. The global menu also has a large South Indian section - look out for their mutton chukka and fiery Pudukottai chicken wings.
Where: G Block, First Avenue
2. Little Soi
This is an offshoot of Soy Soi, one of Chennai's most popular Asian dining experiences. Little Soi's interiors, with its showstopper dim sum basket art installation reflect its casual dining slant. The menu is loaded with Chinese comfort food. The dim sums are spot on, other bestsellers include the Xinjiang lamb strips and the Sichuan-style Mala noodles.
Where: Second Avenue, A Block
The Dessert Studio: Dessert studios and high quality delis were not easy to come by in Anna Nagar. That changed with outlets like Delish. Delish offers an eclectic assortment of international desserts and bonbons; the perfect venue for your cheat days. Our favourites include the pistachio mousse with layers of strawberry compote, Snicker'd, their take on a Snickers bar and the classic Opera cake.
Where: Second Avenue, A Block
4. 6th Avenue
This place is reflective of the neighbourhood restobar trend that has emerged in the last few years. International cuisine and local flavours come to the fore in the menu that was put together by chef duo Manikandan and Navin Prasad. Most regulars order The Madras Plate - a sharing plate that brings some of Chennai's most popular finger food together.
Where: S Block
5. Living Room
It is one of the most popular nightspots in the area. Their repeat guests come back for the relaxed, lounge vibe. As the name suggests, this casual bar aims to replicate your living space where you lounge with your friends or family and catch up over conversations or live sporting action. There's a choice of seating areas that includes a casual outdoor seating option.
Where: 7th Main Road, Shanthi Colony
6. Lyfe by Soul Garden Bistro
Positioned as a vegetarian 'resto-café', this bistro exudes an easy, laid-back charm. The menu is exhaustive and includes a wide array of cuisine options. The new Mexican and Mediterranean selection is particularly popular as is a selection of sourdough pizzas. Soul Garden also makes the perfect stop for those in-between meals with a whole range of high-energy bowls, home-made gelatos and berry jars.
Where: 12th Main Road, L Block
7. Ente Keralam
It has been one of Chennai's 'go-to' Kerala cuisine restaurants since its debut almost two decades ago. The menu features culinary specialties from the state's many regions. Their 'set meals' and platters are particularly popular during lunch and a great way to explor their exhaustive menu. Signatures include the vazhapoo (banana flower) cutlet, Thiruvananthapuram style chicken fry and the legendary Karimeen (Pearl spot fish) pollichathu.
Where: 5th Avenue, Shanthi Colony
8. Collage by Toscano
Do you feel like charcoal cooked chicken tikka or pesto chicken bruschetta? You can have both at Collage by Toscano that brings together Indian, Asian and Italian cuisines under the same roof. It's just what you need after retail therapy at one of Chennai's busiest malls, especially when you're in a large group with diverse taste buds. You will find Toscano's signature ravioli and their fail-proof Kahlua mousse on the menu too.
Where: VR Mall
This place offers a throwback to the 90s and the 2000s when meals were probably less complicated. Cascade was one of Chennai's first homegrown Chinese restaurants and remains popular with its consistent food and large portions that make it a popular venue for family meals. Most old-timers don't even need the menu to order time-tested favourites like their Szechwan fried rice and dragon chicken
Where: 5th Avenue
10. Kovai Alankar Vilas
The restaurant showcases food from the Kongunad region of Western Tamil Nadu. One of the stars of the menu is Pallipalayam Chicken that takes its name from a small town near Erode where this unique spice mix - Pallipalayam chicken powder, has been perfected. Other bestsellers here include the Mutton Kola Urundai, Chicken Chukka and Elaneer Payasam
Where: 2nd Avenue
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.