Where to find authentic Indian cuisine
When it comes to trying traditional Indian fare, Dalmia recommends going straight to the source. “If one really wants to get a taste of Indian food, I would send them to Old Delhi,” she says. Start at Chandni Chowk’s Amritsari Lassi Wala for a lassi (a yogurt-based drink); followed by Paranthe Wali Gali, a tiny lane known for its paratha (stuffed flatbread); and then Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfi Wale for kulfi (Indian ice cream).
To sample all sorts of food in one place, head to Have More on Pandara Road near India Gate “for heart-clogging North Indian fare we Delhi people love!” While for something more upscale, Dalmia suggests a meal at Indian Accent, which offers a fine-dining take on subcontinental favorites.
Don't-miss dishes for first timers in Delhi
Butter chicken from one of the Moti Mahal locations—where this Delhi favorite was invented—is one of Dalmia's top picks for travelers looking to try out traditional Indian cuisine. For street food, she lists dahi bhalla (a popular yogurt-based snack) from the stall under Old Delhi’s Central Bank, and nalli nihari (a type of meat and bone marrow stew) at Al Jawahar near Jama Masjid mosque, also in Old Delhi.
Where to shop for spices and ingredients
For travelers with a culinary bent, spice shopping is among the most enjoyable experiences in Delhi, but it can be hit or miss. Dalmia's top tip is to head straight to Khari Baoli in Old Delhi, the largest wholesale market in Asia, which has been operating for centuries.
Delhi neighborhoods to explore
While many tourists flock to hotspots like hipsterish Hauz Khas Village or Khan Market, the darling of Delhi’s well-heeled, Dalmia’s suggestions will get you off the beaten track. “I love Meher Chand Market, a poor cousin of Khan Market but with many interesting stores,” she says. Other favorites include Greater Kailash, where she grew up—and the location of her celebrated flagship restaurant, Diva. She also adores Central Delhi’s Amrita Shergill Marg “for its amazingly beautiful tree lined streets.”
How to spend the perfect day in Delhi
While many visitors to Delhi try to cram in as many tourist attractions as possible, Dalmia prefers to show her guests a more relaxed, but arguably more charming, side of the capital. She’d start with breakfast at home, followed by a visit to the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum. After a break for lunch at the museum’s own Cafe Lota or The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe nearby, Dalmia would take a post-lunch stroll in monument-filled Lodhi Gardens, before heading to Khan Market’s clothing and homeware boutiques. Khan Market is also where you’ll find Dalmia’s own Latitude 28, an adorable little eatery on the top floor of high-end home décor shop Good Earth.
The most underrated Delhi attraction
While guidebooks will point you toward Delhi's most famous attractions, the best tips for finding hidden gems come from locals. For an alternative to some of the better-known historic sites, Dalmia recommends a visit to the Khooni Darwaza in Central Delhi, which was built in the 16th century by Sher Shah Suri, known for founding the Suri Empire and taking over the Mughal Empire in 1538.
More ways to explore New Delhi's culinary scene