Kolkata is known to be the Foodie city. Kolkatans are nothing if not foodies! So it's no surprise that this city of 14 million has no dearth of restaurants. There are more than 1500 mid-size to big restaurants in Kolkata, and if you take the road side stalls and dhabas then the number goes up even more. While you can find almost anything in Kolkata starting from Spanish paella to Chinese dimsum, Kolkata is famous for a few things that are served only in restaurants in Kolkata.
First and foremost comes the Kolkata biryani. I have travelled all over the world in search of biryani like the one you get in Kolkata and I am sorry to say, no where! just no where! can you find biryani like the ones served in Kolkata restaurants like Shiraz, Arsalan or Royal. For people who have never tasted Kolkata biryani let me describe; the rice is slightly spiced with jafran, saffron and other exotic spices and infused with ghee and the juices from the meat that is cooked with the rice. The meat, be it chicken or mutton, just falls of the bone. Even the half piece of potato that comes with this biryani tastes heavenly. You can have it with chicken or mutton chap another dish that is probably very unique to Kolkata. It's very rich but very very finger licking good! Or if you are in the mood for something a little lighter go for a rezala another meat dish that's very Kolkatan.
While Kolkata biryani is great you cannot forget Kolkata street food. While many Kolkata restaurants these days serve street food in my opinion street food is best to be had from the street side stalls. Restaurants can never match the charm of having fuchka or jhalmuri from a street vendor in a shalpata plate. Among Kolkata street foods, fuchka has to be the crown jewel. No where else in the world can you find fuchkas that are this delicious. They are different from the Delhi panipuris, and Mimbai golguppa simply because in Kolkata the spices and the amazingly tangy spiced water is mixed in with the potato that goes inside the fuchkas. For those who do not know fuchkas are these little crispy hollow balls made of atta and suji. that you should not even try to have in a restaurant! They are stuffed with mashed potato and spicy tangy water just before you eat them. They are super tasty, not so fattening and supper wallet friendly, so cannot go wrong!
And when you talk about Kolkata you cannot forget Bengali food. There are many restaurants in Kolkata that serve Bengali food. Of them the notable ones are Kewpies Kitchen, 6 Ballygunge place, Bhojohari Manna to name a few. And if you are not from Kolkata or have never tried bengali food, it becomes my moral duty to ask you to try the following. Go to one of the above mentioned restaurants in Kolkata(or a restaurant of your choice) and try their ilish mach bhaja(fried Hilsa), daab chingri(prawns in Coconut), kasha mangso(a mutton dish) with luchi(fried flour breads) and finish off with some mishti Doi(sweet yogurt) and malpoa(a fried sweet dish). Truly nirvana!
For those of you who do not know a little tip; ilish mach bhaja or fried hilsa is best eaten during the monsoon season. The Hilsa are salt water fishes that come to the sweet water rivers to lay eggs during the monsoon. And that's the time when they are the tastiest. If you have never tried Hilsa it's really hard to describe how great this fish tastes!
So if you are new to Kolkata you must find restaurants in Kolkata that serve the above mentioned food and try them all! Yes an absolute must! You can try sites like urbanZing.com to find addresses phone numbers, menus and reviews for almost any restaurant in Kolkata.
But even if you are not new to Kolkata. There are plenty of restaurants and cuisines that are served in Kolkata restaurants that I'm sure you are yet to explore. Did you know Kolkata has places that serve amazing cheesecakes that can actually give Philadelphia cheese cakes a run for their money. Kolkata also has awesome paella, Chinese dimsums and authentic Burmese food! If you knew all this then kudos to you, a true Kolkatan foodie. But if you did not know about these little Kolkata secret spots then do check out a site like urbanZing.com and see what are the different types of cuisines and restaurants in Kolkata. You will be surprised at what you will find. UrbanZing.com also has reviews from other foodies just like you, so you will know from before what to try at a particular restaurant!