15 Hidden food gems of Chennai: What to eat where?

Hey foodies! Craving a culinary adventure in Chennai that goes beyond the usual tourist spots? Buckle up, because we're taking you on a delicious deep dive into the 15 Hidden food gems of Chennai!

Read more: Complete travel guide to Chennai - Things to do Places to visit and more!




What to eat



Besant Nagar


Chettinad Chicken Pizza, Mutton Rogan Josh, Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream

Try their fusion menu

Nair Mess



Ghee-roasted cashew nut pongal, Filter coffee

Be prepared for a queue

Seena Bhai 1977 Dosa Centre

George Town


Paper-thin ghee dosa, Chutneys, Sambar

Be prepared for a queue

Southern Spice

Nungambakkam, Chennai


Mysore Masala Dosa, Sambar Rice, Filter coffee



Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram


Diverse menu (North Indian curries, Italian pizzas)

Enjoy the Marina beach view




Tom Yum Goong soup, Pad Thai

Thai cuisine


T Nagar


South Indian vegetarian dishes, Filter coffee

Popular among locals and tourists

Murugan Idli Shop



Idli, Chutneys, Sambar

Unique idli batter

Thambi Vilas



Biryani, Kebabs, Curries

Known for their biryani

Take 2



Seafood (fish, prawns, squid), Fish curry, Prawn biryani

Seafood lovers' paradise

Chin Chin



Chicken Manchurian, Vegetable Hakka Noodles, Mocktails

Fusion of Indian and Chinese flavors




Seafood (grilled prawns, fish curries)

Scenic beachside view

Paprika Cafe



Pastas, Quiches, Sandwiches, Desserts

European cafe experience

On The Rocks - Crowne Plaza



Interactive dining experience with diverse international cuisine

Cook your food on hot rocks at your table

Dindugal Thalappakkatti



Mutton biryani (must-try)

Legendary Chettinad cuisine, fiery

1. Eden - The Food Paradise of Besant Nagar:

Eden - The Food Paradise of Besant NagarImg: Naved Sultan

Tucked away in Besant Nagar, Eden isn't just a restaurant, it's an experience. This charming cafe boasts a menu that's a delightful fusion of Indian and Continental flavors. Dive into their signature Chettinad Chicken Pizza or their melt-in-your-mouth Mutton Rogan Josh, and don't forget to end your meal with their decadent Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream.

2. Nair Mess, Triplicane:

Nair Mess, TriplicaneImg: Ratan Prabhakar

Dive into the heart of Tamil Brahmin cuisine at this no-frills, legendary mess. Their ghee-roasted cashew nut pongal and melt-in-your-mouth filter coffee are legendary. Be prepared for a queue, but trust us, it's worth it!

Read more: Cashless Travel in Chennai! QR codes in Trains and Buses?

3. Seena Bhai 1977 Dosa Centre:

Seena Bhai 1977 Dosa Centre Img: Dharma Chandru

Head to the bustling George Town for a taste of tradition at Seena Bhai. This no-frills eatery is famous for its paper-thin ghee dosas, served with a variety of chutneys and sambar. Be prepared for a queue, as their legendary dosas are a well-guarded local secret!

4. Southern Spice:

Southern Spice chennai Img: Manabu Kano

Craving some authentic South Indian fare? Look no further than Southern Spice. This vegetarian haven offers a delightful spread of traditional dishes like the lip-smacking Mysore Masala Dosa and the comforting Sambar Rice. Don't forget to indulge in their sweet filter coffee for the perfect ending to your meal.

5. Moonrakers:

Moonrakers chennai Img: Chiranjit Datta

End your culinary adventure with a breathtaking view at Moonrakers. This rooftop restaurant offers stunning vistas of the Marina beach and a menu that caters to diverse palates. From North Indian curries to Italian pizzas, there's something for everyone.

Read more: 10 Things to do in Chennai This Winter

6. Benjarong:

Benjarong chennaiImg: Benjarong

This Thai restaurant in Alwarpet is a hidden gem for those who love authentic Thai cuisine. The menu features a wide variety of dishes, from curries and stir-fries to soups and salads. The Tom Yum Goong soup is a must-try, as is the Pad Thai.

7. Sangeetha:

Sangeetha Veg RestaurantImg: Zomato

This vegetarian restaurant in T Nagar is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The menu features a wide variety of South Indian dishes, including idli, dosa, vada, and upma. The filter coffee is also a must-try.

8. Murugan Idli Shop:

murugan idli shop chennaiImg: Zomato

This small shop is famous for its idli. The idli is made with a special batter that gives it a unique flavor and texture. The shop also serves a variety of chutneys and sambar.

Read more: Discover the Top 20 Must-Visit Places in Chennai for 2023

9. Thambi Vilas:

Thambi VilasImg: Zomato

This restaurant in Purasawalkam is known for its biryani. The biryani is made with a special blend of spices that gives it a unique flavor. The restaurant also serves a variety of other dishes, including kebabs and curries.

10. Take 2:

Take 2, Kodambakkam, ChennaiImg: Saravana Kumar

This restaurant in Adyar is a popular spot for those who love seafood. The menu features a wide variety of dishes, including fish, prawns, and squid. The fish curry is a must-try, as is the prawn biryani.

11. Chin Chin:

Chin Chin - The Residency chennaiImg: Chin Chin - The Residency

Nestled in Mahabalipuram, Chin Chin offers a delightful fusion of Indian and Chinese flavors. Dive into their signature Chicken Manchurian, a spicy and tangy dish with tender chicken, or try their comforting Vegetable Hakka Noodles. Don't miss their refreshing selection of mocktails to complete your meal.

12. Watson's:

Watson's ChennaiImg: Rommel Lagmay

Located in Mahabalipuram, Watson's is a haven for seafood enthusiasts. Their menu boasts fresh catches cooked to perfection, from succulent grilled prawns to flavorful fish curries. Pair your meal with their scenic beachside view for a truly memorable experience.

Read more: 7 Hill Stations near Chennai for Your 2023 Getaway

13. Paprika Cafe:

Paprika Cafe chennaiImg: Paprika Cafe

This charming cafe in Mahabalipuram is a hidden gem for those seeking a delightful European touch. Their menu features delightful options like creamy pasta dishes, freshly baked quiches, and delectable sandwiches. Don't forget to indulge in their decadent desserts, the perfect way to end a sweet escape.

14. On The Rocks - Crowne Plaza:

On The Rocks - Crowne Plaza chennaiImg: Bala Jagannathan S

While not the most "hidden," On The Rocks at the Crowne Plaza in Chennai offers a unique and upscale dining experience. This European restaurant allows you to cook your food on hot rocks at your table, adding a touch of interactive fun to the dining experience. Their varied international cuisine caters to diverse palates, making it a great option for a special occasion.

15. Dindugal Thalappakkatti (a must-try!):

Dindigul Thalappakatti chennaiImg: Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant

Another not so hidden but a must-try is Dindugal Thalappakkatti. It is a Chennai institution you simply can't miss. Dindugal Thalappakkatti is legendary for its fiery Chettinad cuisine. Their mutton biryani, with its distinct aroma and perfectly cooked meat, is an absolute must-try.

Read more: 10 Fun Things to Do in Chennai on Weekends 2023

So, there you have it, folks! 15 hidden gems in Chennai that are sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you with a lasting impression. Now go forth, explore, and devour! Remember, these are just a starting point – Chennai's culinary scene is vast and waiting to be discovered.

Happy eating!

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