As we leave this decade for a whole new range of dining and F&B experiences, it's time to look back at the restaurants that wowed diners and critics, alike. Restaurants that wielded considerable influence over dining trends across India. These shortlists are always tricky but we tried to cover serious ground, both across cuisines and locations. Here's our hit-list ranked in no particular order.
27 Of The Best Restaurants In India That Created A Buzz In This Decade
Adaa at Taj Falaknuma, Hyderabad
It's a close call for our favourite restaurant in Hyderabad between ITC Kohenur's trendy new Chinese restaurant (Yi Jing) and Adaa that transports you back to the era of the Nizams with exquisite Hyderabadi cuisine in a regal setting.
Avartana, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai
Avartana places south Indian cuisine in a whole new context without stealing its soul. While the innovative presentation and cooking techniques spark more than the occasional oohs and ahs, the flavours are inarguably authentic.
Also Read: Top Restaurant Food Trends Of The Decade In India
Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel, Bengaluru
The culinary team of Karavalli has trekked through Kerala and Karnataka to source rare recipes that are the superstars in a menu that has continued to evolve and put cuisine from the Karavalli coast under the spotlight.
Bastian takes its name from Sebastian, the cheerful crustacean from the Little Mermaid. Interestingly, this is a modern seafood restaurant that also offers quite options for herbivores.
Black Sheep Bistro, Goa
Black Sheep Bistro might pass off for one of the many Portuguese-era mansions in Panjim's busy back streets, but behind the facade is one of Goa's most eclectic dining experiences that refuses to be boxed into any category with an emphasis on fresh produce and fun flavours.
Bombay Canteen, Mumbai
One of Mumbai's standout restaurant launches from the last few years. Bombay Canteen's bold vision for Indian cuisine that bridges the old with the new has made it the toast (the cocktails have firm Indian roots too) of the city's opinion makers.
Botticino, Trident BKC, Mumbai
Part of a larger and welcome trend that has seen upscale Italian restaurants across India's premier hotels ditching the classic Italian cuisine playbook. It's no longer just the preserve of true blue Italian Chefs with their Mamma's recipe book but Indian Chefs who play with ingredients and presentation techniques.
Cirrus 9, The Oberoi Delhi
Fine cocktails combine with an eclectic International food menu at the Oberoi's swish rooftop bar. But it's the setting and the views - of Humayun's Tomb and the forested golf course - that are its calling card.
Arguably the finest restaurant in Gurgaon, Manish Mehrotra's latest project deviates slightly from his successful Indian Accent as a community dining space skewed towards Indian comfort food and not a fine dining restaurant.
Hong Kong Club, Andaz Delhi
At a time when the capital's fine dining scene was tilting towards stand-alone venues, Hong Kong Club recalibrated the balance somewhat. Inspired by the raw energy and contrasts of Hong Kong, this modern Cantonese restaurant also serves some of the best cocktails in the city.
While many Japanese restaurants are veering towards a fusion, modern approach, Izumi - a quaint 15-seater all-day diner in Bandra - turns the tide with a focus on traditional cooking styles.
Kitchen Garden by Suzette, Mumbai
Kitchen Garden by Suzette is one of Mumbai's most cheerful lunch venues, this organic cafe is equally fantastic at breakfast with crunchy salads, cold-pressed juices and sandwiches holding centre stage.
One of the capital's finest Italian dining experiences in the GK-2 neighbourhood flies down many of its ingredients from Italy in its mission to create fine Italian cuisine paired with the finest wines.
One of Mumbai's finest new restaurants, Masque is all about fine ingredients that play out in the restaurant's one-of-its-kind 10-course chef's tasting menu that takes a nouvelle approach.
Megu, Leela Palace Delhi
Megu's plush and yet there's a calming zen-like vibe in a fine Japanese restaurant with a choice of dining spaces including a charming Kimono room. Megu is part of an exclusive chain with a global footprint that covers five locations.
MKT - The Chanakya, Delhi
Multi-cuisine takes on a whole new meaning at this trendy restaurant, designed by award-winning designer Shawn Sullivan. With 17 cuisines on offer including Malaysian and Mexican, you'll never run out of options here.
Designed by Gilles and Boissier, Hakkasan is one of Mumbai's most elegant dining venues - especially at dinner, and serves modern Cantonese fare elevated by world-class cocktails.
Plum by Bent Chair, Delhi
Plum by Bent Chair is a novel experiment that blends haute cuisine with a unique retail experience - from furniture to crockery to wall art. Regulars don't just come back to shop for furniture but also the top notch Pan-Asian cuisine.
Dum Pukht, ITC Maurya, Delhi
Consistently one of the country's finest Indian restaurants for years with a culinary legacy that dates back over two centuries to the slow-cooking techniques mastered by the Nawabs.
Nestled in a refurbished 150-year old haveli - Ambwatta One, this International Indian restaurant and cocktail bar features contemporary Indian cuisine and artisanal cocktails in an iconic location near the Qutub Minar.
Savya Rasa, Pune
Savya Rasa began its journey in Pune before expanding its footprint to Chennai and Gurgaon. Savya Rasa is a fine-dining south Indian experience with a focus on heirloom recipes sourced from the region's culinary hotspots like Kongunad.
The Bangala, Karaikudi
Two hours from Madurai and a seven-hour drive from Chennai, this restaurant has been the flagbearer for Chettinad cuisine with its unique flavours and use of spices like star aniseed.
Toast and Tonic, Bengaluru
Toast and Tonic inspired largely by the free-thinking culture of Manhattan's East Village of the 1960s. Their gin and tonics are legendary, the menu stays clear of stereotypes with an emphasis on locally sourced produce.
The Table, Mumbai
The menu might draw inspiration from cuisines across the world, but most of the ingredients are locally sourced at The Table. Almost through the 2010s, The Table has championed a farm to fork dining experience and was one of the pioneers of small plates in the Indian restaurant scene.
Villa Maya, Thiruvananthapuram
Set in a historic 18th Century home in the heart of Kerala's capital, this is one of the most romantic dinner venues in South India with an accent on evolved global cuisine.
Wasabi by Morimoto Mumbai, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Wasabi by Morimoto Mumbai features Japanese culinary treasures crafted by Iron Chef Morimoto. Most of the ingredients make the trip from Japan and regulars swear by time-tested signatures like the black cod miso and wasabi creme brulee.
6 Ballygunge Place, Kolkata
Ask any gourmand in Kolkata (that's almost everyone in the city) and this restaurant ranks high on their list for authentic Bangla cuisine especially at the flagship restaurant at their original location.
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.