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CUISINES

Traditional Indian

The category includes restaurants whose ethos and menu are centred around the preservation of Indian culinary heritage. The food they serve stays true to the origin and roots of the cuisine, in both recipe and presentation, while still leaving room for innovation. These are restaurants that credit provenance, and use produce as present in the root cuisine.

Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel Bangalore

Over a quarter century old, this iconic restaurant offers an authentic experience of the coastal South-West, from Goa all the way down to Kerala. Set in a Mangalore-style home with red-tiled roof and a lush tropical courtyard, Karavalli is built on a culinary philosophy anchored in the preservation of traditional recipes that have been sourced from homemakers and thattu kadas in the region.

Bukhara, ITC Maurya, Delhi

Named for the ancient city on the spice route, Bukhara is a culinary landmark that showcases the traditional art of slow cooking in a clay oven or tandoor. Serving the robust flavours of North-West Frontier Province cuisine, in a space that is rustic and minimal, diners can experience kebabs, dals and breads crafted in a restaurant kitchen that has been at the top of its game for decades.

Progressive Indian

This category lists restaurants whose offerings are a modern interpretation of traditional Indian cuisine, with dishes that are a radical departure from the traditional, by way of technique or presentation, and highlight the restaurant’s individuality and ethos. Thoughtful creativity in innovation and separating ingenuity from gimmick and fusion make them stand apart.

Indian Accent, The Lodhi, Delhi

Indian Accent merges the flavours of traditional Indian cuisine with global ingredients and techniques to create an inventive, original style. Honouring the culinary roots of a dish, while reinventing the experience on the plate, Indian Accent lends modern perspective to the traditional.

The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai

The Bombay Canteen showcases contemporary interpretations of regional cuisine, built on nostalgia and playfulness. From breakfast to dinner, street snacks to seafood, the restaurant places emphasis on local ingredients and traditional flavours, using seasonal menus to celebrate the country’s diversity of cuisine, cinematic history, pop culture and design.

Emerging Indian

The category includes restaurants that place value on hyper-local cuisine, are ingredient-centric, feature lesser-known regional cuisines and set a new direction for both the industry and consumer

O Pedro, Mumbai

A Goan-Portuguese restaurant and bar, O Pedro is authentic but playful, with detailed references to Goa and Portugal built into food, drink and décor. Blue painted pillars, lace curtains and freshly baked pois recreate a microcosm of Goan culture with a seafood-forward menu that celebrates the seasons and sub-communities within the state.

Oota, Bangalore

Celebrating the cuisine of Karnataka, from the Canara coast to the Western Ghats, this hyper-local restaurant features well-known favourites from Mangalore and Coorg, as well as lesser known delicacies from the state’s numerous communities, preserving their nuanced techniques for cooking, spicing, and treatment of ingredients.

Seafood

A seafood-led menu, whose quality, freshness, and treatment of produce, have remained consistently high compete under this category. Prioritising ethical sourcing with sustainable practices built into their menus, and making efforts to educate the diner as part of the guest experience, are ranked higher.

Bastian, Mumbai

The restaurant’s name is a nod to everyone’s favourite crustacean from The Little Mermaid, the popular animated film, and the menu is a seafood-enthusiast’s dream. Featuring favourites like Singapore crabs, lobster rolls, and poke bowls, the restaurant also has ample vegetarian options and prides itself on making all sauces, condiments, breads and mixers in-house.

Gajalee, Vile Parle, Mumbai

The first Gajalee outlet, which is still the most popular one, serves excellent Maharashtrian coastal food with an emphasis on seafood and consistency. The interiors are simple and unpretentious, ensuring that you enjoy your fish thali with minimum distractions. Most of the fish served here is sourced daily from local markets.

Chinese

In this category are listed restaurants that honour the Chinese culinary traditions, and showcase the diversity of cuisine, ingredients and techniques from the region, providing guests an authentic experience of Chinese hospitality.

Yauatcha, Mumbai

The flag-bearer of yum cha culture, Yauatcha offers an authentic experience of Cantonese cuisine, presenting the textures, flavours and techniques of the region through a tea-house and bar with a distinctive, modernist sensibility.

Ling’s Pavilion, Mumbai

Celebrated for its extensive offerings of Chinese cuisine, both on the menu and off, this restaurant’s longevity is a testament to its quality. Known for personable service, housed in an intimate setting fitted with oriental artifacts, Ling’s Pavilion has become an integral part of Mumbai’s culinary landscape.

Multi-Asian cuisine

This category includes eating houses that offer a faithful representation of cuisine and culture from the Asian region, extending the experience to design, decor, and service.

Pan Asian, ITC Maratha Mumbai

Charting a vibrant course through the intricate maze of Asian cuisines, Pan Asian specialises in a range of cuisines and culinary styles from the continent. The interactive kitchen features a teppanyaki grill, a Yakitori and dim sum counter, a Japanese sushi counter and a Mongolian barbecue brazier that spans Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines, Korean, Thai, Mongolian and Japanese.

Koko, Mumbai

The interiors at Koko are representative of the restaurant’s modern interpretations of Pan Asian cuisine. From the island bar and a mahjong jigsaw wall to its unusual cocktail menu, Koko offers a rich experience of Asian culture through food and ambience, transforming effortlessly from restaurant to lounge, with excellence across food, drink and music.

Italian

Restaurants that present Italian cuisine that’s true to the region of origin, keeping provenance, culinary culture, etiquette and tradition at the forefront of service and cuisine are nominated in this category.

Vetro, The Oberoi, Mumbai

Serving classic Neapolitan cuisine with a range of Italian wines, Vetro’s attention to detail ensures a refined dining experience. The restaurant’s easy elegance is matched by a well-stocked enoteca and cheese humidor and transforms from a relaxed lunch venue to a vibrant and glamourous setting at night.

Artusi Ristorante, Gurgaon

This fine-dining Italian restaurant serves home-style Italian cuisine from the region of Emilia-Romagna in a charming and elegant setting. Artusi’s attention to detail extends from stark white tablecloths to an extensive wine list and menu offerings, with carefully sourced ingredients, and dishes crafted to retain authenticity.

EXPERIENCES

Nightlife

Here’s a list of the buzz creators—lounges and bars that offer an engaging nightlife experience, with the right vibe,cocktail selection and playlists that keep the crowds coming back. A compelling curation of popular culture, with events, live bands, stand-up comedy and the like earn bonus points.

Slink and Bardot, Mumbai

The French eatery has evolved to become one of the most popular nightlife destinations in the city. Housed in a bungalow with botanical wallpaper, chic furniture and dim lighting, the atmosphere is conducive to linger on over a few rounds of inventive cocktails and small plates.

The Hong Kong Club, Andaz Delhi

This sprawling, plush Cantonese club is spread over two floors. The central bar is the heart of the club and has made a name for itself with their Zodiac cocktails, inspired by the mythological creatures of the Chinese zodiac. The club also features a different DJ every month and has six chefs whipping up dishes from the Guangzhou region of China.

Best Indian Wine

Our category honours a vintage of an Indian wine for its body, bouquet and balance, and also considers its versatility and value for money.

Sette 2015 by Fratelli

One of the most premium wines in India, Sette by Fratelli, is a barrel-aged red wine, which is inspired by the big and bold Super Tuscan wines from Italy. Sette 2015 is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon with coffee and musk notes that are tied together with sweet aromatic spices for a deep, smooth and long finish.

Krsma Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Krsma Estates may be the new kid on the block in India’s wine story, but they boast one of the most unique terroir’s of India—Hampi. Produced in limited edition, the classic Cabernet Sauvignon varietal produces robust and fruit-forward red wine with a hint of spices that leaves a lingering finish.

Best Indian Craft Beer

An exceptional craft beer assessed according to parameters of aroma, colour, palate, and mouth-feel.

White Rhino IPA

This Indian-made IPA is fruity and tropical, has malty base notes and a light, grassy aroma. Medium-bodied, with hints of grapefruit and citrus on the palate, it has a clean, bitter finish.

Arbor Brewing Company Beach Shack IPA

With its brilliant gold hue, creamy white head and big fresh hop aroma, the Beach Shack India Pale Ale is as enticing as a day at the beach. This juicy American India Pale Ale is packed with citrus and tropical fruit flavours from a wagon load of late addition hops that deliver huge flavour and aroma with just the right balance of refreshing bitterness.

New Restaurant

Here you find the best among the new restaurants that launched in 2018, and have been operational for at least 6 months. The category lists names that have made a significant impact on the city’s restaurant culture, and maintained consistency in quality of food, service, and ambience.

Mustard, Mumbai

Bengali and French food –two cuisines that have a penchant for mustard – are the focus of this new restaurant. Rather than Franco-Bengali fusion, here, you will find a menu that features authentic dishes from both cuisines, carefully curated by French chef Gregory Bazire and Bengali chef Pritha Sen.

The Smoke Co., Bangalore

After years of research and experimentation, the masterminds at The Smoke Co. have perfected a meat-heavy menu that boasts a wide variety and better quality of cured and smoked meats than was previously available anywhere in the country. The dishes draw inspiration from the American South, and many of the condiments that are central to the food are all made in-house.

The Oyster Club

LFEGA recognises lesser-known, quaint restaurants that are quietly making waves in their respective towns and cities with innovation and exceptional food.

Adaminde Chayakkada, Calicut

A showcase of Mappila (Malabari Muslim) food with playful reinventions, this restaurant is housed in a space that is maximalist and cheeky. The restaurant’s aesthetics and decor are a nod to the idiosyncrasies of the Mappila community.

Maison Perumal, Pondicherry

Housed in a Franco-Tamil heritage hotel of the same name, this charming restaurant places emphasis on seasonal produce, and includes a section of specials that changes daily to accommodate for the freshest local produce available that day. The menu features primarily Tamil dishes, but the odd pasta and sandwich also makes its way into the menu, with local flavours, of course.

Kareema, Srinagar

A well-loved local restaurant offers an authentic experience of the wazwan (the traditional Kashmiri feast), featuring lesser-known traditional specialties as part of the experience.

Matamaal, Gurgaon

Focusing on authentic Kashmiri Pandit cuisine, Matamaal preserves the culinary traditions of the valley, while doing justice to their love of both meat and greens. It also gives diners a chance to experience the full range of Kashmiri bread culture.

Kappa Chakka Kandhari, Chennai

Serving home-style Kerala food, this restaurant offers diners the chance to sample a unique range of dishes whose recipes have been sourced from home-cooks and toddy shops across the state.

Honouring Inclusive F&B Establishments

Institutions that provide a safe working environment with equal opportunity for people of all genders, economic backgrounds, languages and cultures. Hospitality initiatives and kitchens that employ differently-abled, or provide opportunity to marginalised groups, deserve to be ranked higher.

Mirchi & Mime, Mumbai

Mirchi & Mime is a socially responsible restaurant that serves modern Indian cuisine with stellar cocktails in a warm and spacious setting, marked by excellent service. What sets them apart? The wait-staff and members of the kitchen are speech- and hearing-impaired. Enabling efficient communication is a menu that comes fully equipped with instructions on sign-language equivalents for every dish. In addition to that, there is also a glossary that helps indicate salt and spice levels in the food.

Sheroes' Hangout, Lucknow

Sheroes Hangout café employs women who are survivors of acid-attacks in a cafe that serves up some of the best coffee in Lucknow. Run entirely by acid-attack fighters with the help of an NGO and supporters of the StopAcidAttack network, the café space also doubles as a venue for book launches and gigs, supporting the city’s music and literary scene. With a menu that has no prices, it also houses a library and retails handmade jewellery and other handicrafts made by the community.

Lemon Tree Hotels

Approximately 12 per cent of the workforce in the kitchens at Lemon Tree Hotels across the country is differently-abled, providing opportunity to a section of society that would otherwise be overlooked. Operating in 32 cities in India, their policy of creating a socially inclusive work environment to bring in people of different backgrounds, abilities and ethnicities is an example of a business model that can thrive while also supporting sections of society excluded from the working economy.

Best Innovative Restaurant Concept

India’s food space is exploding with new ideas and here’s a category that honours a concept or experience that has introduced innovation though technique or service, design or diner experience, menu or its theme.

Masque, Mumbai

Focusing on foraged or farm-sourced seasonal ingredients, Masque puts the spotlight on Kashmiri Pandit food, the home-cuisine of chef and co-founder Prateek Sadhu. Every season, the team spends time in the Valley, foraging for both ingredients and new ways to imagine traditional dishes from the region.

The Smoke Co., Bangalore

Smoke Co. is a smokehouse – the first of its kind in the country – that offers diners a glimpse into the wonderful world of smoked and cured meats. House-made sausages, cured and smoked pork belly, and smoked marrow are some of the highlights of the menu.

Iconic Restaurant

This award is presented to a restaurant that has been in the city's culinary space for a minimum of five years and has consistently maintained quality and service standards, retaining a loyal customer base while also drawing in new diners.

Bukhara - ITC Maurya, Delhi

By staying rooted in our rich culinary heritage, Bukhara at ITC Maurya, Delhi has put Indian cuisine on the world food map. Besides, its four-decades-old menu features cuisine from the North-West Frontier and stands testimony to a culture which is over 5,000 years old. This iconic restaurant has championed the use of the tandoor to create a delicious menu of kebabs, vegetables and breads. Encouraging you to ditch the cutlery and dig in using your fingers, a meal at Bukhara involves the marriage of all our senses—sight, smell, touch and taste.

INDIVIDUALS

Lifetime Achievement Award

The award honours an individual who has created a legacy in the food and beverage industry and dedicated their work to furthering the quality of the industry.

Chef Manjit Singh Gill

Chef Manjit Singh Gill, Corporate Chef of the ITC Hotels, has been in the F&B industry for over 40 years. He has served as the President of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations, has been awarded the Escoffier Medal in recognition of his work in the culinary arts, and has been instrumental in having Indian culinary traditions recognised in larger global forums as well.

Chef of the Year

The award goes to a chef who has scripted a unique story in the Indian food landscape. Apart from building successful restaurants, values such as ethical sourcing of ingredients and promoting lesser-known cuisines and being at the forefront of change, are considered. Nominees include Indian and foreign chefs who have been part of the Indian restaurant culture for a minimum of 5 years.

Chef Thomas Zacharias

Chef Thomas Zacharias, Executive Chef and Partner at The Bombay Canteen has been a champion of Indian food and ingredients, popularising the idea of eating fresh, local, and seasonal, bringing lesser-known ingredients and regional dishes from around the country into the spotlight. As a chef who is highly engaged with his diners though social media, he uses his position to effectively educate and revive the use of traditional Indian ingredients and cooking techniques.

The Change Maker

This is an award for individuals, institutions, social bodies, or even state governments that have initiated and executed work that is making a significantly positive impact on food production, consumption, it’s impact on the environment and society.

ISKON

ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, founded by Swami Prabhupada, apart from an impressive food relief program, runs close to one hundred affiliate vegetarian restaurants around India. In the social impact sector, their reach is far and wide—Hare Krishna Food for Life provides meals in 60 countries and is the largest vegetarian food distribution program in the world. In India alone, 1.2 million meals are provided to underprivileged school-going children.

Food Entertainer

The award is presented to a television host of a lifestyle show who entertains and engages viewers as s/he sheds light on the more obscure cuisines and cultures of the world. (The final decision rests with LivingFoodz)

Food Instagrammer

This award recognises the brain behind a successful Instagram account that uses the popular social media platform to create quality content around food, whether it is through sharing recipes, reviews or information on cuisines. Quality of photographs, and the storytelling are as important as follower count. (The final decision rests with LivingFoodz)