Kochi is the land of many flavors. From traditional Kerala to Anglo-Indian to Dutch to Konkani to Jain to Jewish and many more, Kochi’s culinary influences are as wide as its ethnic spectrum.
That’s disregarding the new-age global cuisine restaurants that have been popping up across the city since the early 2000s.
Now, we can’t gloss over fast food culture either. From global chains to local favourites, Kochi has thousands of restaurants that would tempt you to make every day a cheat day.
Despite all this, the town has a few quaint little restaurants that have witnessed its growth and evolution over the years, close to its heart. They proudly carry Kochi’s heritage, telling stories and memories of significant times and events the bustling city has gone through.
Onmanorama has compiled a list of five Kochi restaurants that would probably be older than you but still manage to delight foodies.
Cafe Bharat, Broadway
A lot has changed in Kochi over the decades. The Broadway has become a not so wide lane. From multi-lane highways to flyovers to metro and sea terminal, Kochi has embraced the attributes of the city. But one thing that remains a constant in one of Kochi’s key locations would be the Bharat Coffee House (BCH). This 60-year-old restaurant, frequented by regulars and history buffs, documents the city’s past right next to their drool-worthy snacks stacked in the glass shelves. The restaurant was opened in a building that once belonged to AD Luiz. A plaque on its wall reads ‘Luiz Hall 1919’ — proving that story. The restaurant was founded by B Govind Rao. It started operating on January 26, 1956. It’s safe to say that the menu didn’t change much over the next six decades.
BCH’s masala dosas are out of this world. But if you’re hoping for something light, opt for the crispy cutlet (accompanied by a hot tea of course!)
Hotel Colombo, Marine Drive
Founded in 1952, Hotel Colombo has proven itself to be a foodie’s paradise over the years. Mutton chaps, along with other non-vegetarian dishes and traditional Kerala dishes have found many admirers, from laymen to Oscar-winning writers.
Hotel Colombo even made it to Mollywood. in 1989’s Mohanlal – Varavelpu, a bus driver played by actor Innocent praises the restaurant to a fellow bus worker, saying, “If you are thinking of eating beef, you should try it at the Hotel Colombo. I have never had a better beef dish than theirs in my entire life”.
Cafe Kayees Rahmatulla, Mattanchery
The place that serves the best mutton biryani in Kochi – and probably Kerala or even South India! A favorite of celebrities, the special charm of Kayees biryani never fails to amaze foodies. The restaurant was founded by VK Kayee in 1948. Kayee ventured into the restaurant business with some experience which he gained working in a hotel in Mumbai (Bombay then). With its version of mutton biryani gaining popularity, Kayees has now opened several branches. No wonder, Kayees is also a highly sought-after caterer.
Grand Pavilion at Grand Hotel, MG Road
This 1963 restaurant serves a variety of dishes ranging from traditional Kerala fish specialties to North Indian chicken dishes. But we recommend that you opt for typical Kerala dishes such as Karimeen or beef porotta. Take the crème caramel for dessert and voila!
Quality Bakers, Pattalam Road, Fort Kochi
Have you ever tasted a slice of “Breudher”? Don’t let the fancy name intimidate you. It simply means a sweet bread that one bite would make you want more. Head to Kochi if you want a bite to eat.
The flagship of Quality – Breudher – may well be a reproduction of the Anglo-Indian culture of Kochi. The traditional Dutch sweet bread is a throwback to when Fort Kochi was a Dutch colony. The dish has passed through Anglo-Indian generations and has become an essential part of their cuisine.
The bakery was founded by CV Chandran about five decades ago. The 1963 Elite Hotel restaurant on Princess Street in Fort Kochi also sells authentic Breuther.