What should you do when you’ve had a disappointing restaurant meal? Ask the locals where to go and experience the real food of the town – the food of the people!
When I was in Jodhpur I tried a number of restaurants but they really weren’t anything special. The quality at Janta Sweets really wasn’t great, the [Indian] food at Namaste Cafe wasn’t flavourful enough and The Curry’s restaurant was too expensive.
However, there are some really awesome and cheap options when it comes to street food in Jodhpur. Here are my favourites (plus a bonus recommendation of one restaurant that is worth visiting):
Keep an eye out for options with a star (⭐) next to them – these are not to be missed! The dollar signs ($) next to each name indicate a rough pricing.
Omelette shop ($)
The Omelette Shop is famous in this part of Rajasthan – it’s become something of a legend. The father and son duo have been serving insanely delicious and cheap omelettes from the same 1-frying-pan stall for over 40 years!
They have a variety of different flavours on offer – from the basic ‘plain’ all the way up to the ‘Marahaja’ or ‘Alli Baba’. I can personally recommend the masala cheese omelette – an absolute steal at ₹45 (£0.50/US$0.70).
They’re open from 10am-10pm. The evening is actually the busiest as that’s when all the locals rock up for their daily omelette fix – I came around 9pm one day and had to wait 20 minutes! So your best bet is to come for breakfast or lunch, but trust me, you don’t want to miss this one!
⭐ Shahi Samosa ($)
Simply the best Samosa you’ll have in the whole of India. Seriously, I’d really like to know if you find a better one.
There’s always a crowd outside, and for good reason – they’re hot, they’re fresh, and they’re soooo damn tasty! Oh, and they’re completely vegetarian and cost just ₹16 (£0.18/US$0.25) each!
Anytime of day is a good time to check out Shahi Samosa as they’re constantly making fresh batches (you can even watch them being made before they’re cooked). Just come with an empty stomach as you may find yourself having more than one!
Arora Chat Bhandar ($)
Situated next door to Shahi Samosa, this place specialises in savoury snacks called Chats. They’re super cheap ₹40 (£0.44/US$0.56) and also different to north Indian staples such as curries, daal and chapatis.
Arora offer a whole range of different chats but by far the most popular is one called Dahi Vada. So popular in fact that it had sold out by the time I arrived on my second day of visiting!
Dahi Vada consists of deep fried balls of lentil flour (vadas) soaked in thick yoghurt (dahi). It’s topped with spices, chutneys & more yoghurt, then decorated to perfection and garnished with crispy dried snacks.
To see a video of this tasty Indian snack being made, check out the footage on my Facebook page: Making Dahi Vada.
⭐ Shri Mishrilal Hotel (famous lassi) ($)
I can confirm; these famous lassis are worth the hype – it’s no wonder they’re a TripAdvisor favourite! The lassis at Shri Mishrilal Hotel are so special that they even have their own name: Makhaniya Lassi.
Unlike common lassis which are mainly fruit based, the Makhaniya Lassis are flavoured purely from the curd and some delicate spices. They are made from curd, milk, sugar, cardamon and kewda; because no water it is added, the end result is extremely thick and creamy! Add a dollop of makhan (curd butter) on top and you’re all set to try this seriously tasty lassi!
The size of the Makhaniya Lassis may not be as big as common fruit lassis, but they’re so rich, creamy and flavourful that the serving size is plenty big enough in my opinion. At just ₹35 (£0.39/US$0.49) each, they’re an absolute steal! You should also try the special rabdi – a thicker, richer version of their signature lassi.
No-English-name Cafe ($)
Situated in the plaza of the watchtower, next to Cafe Royal, this small eatery has ever-changing views. Predominantly serving chai, many locals come here to drink a cup (or 3), read the newspaper and watch the world go by. Even from a tourists perspective, it’s nice to sit down and people watch whilst enjoying a freshly brewed cup of chai.
They also serve some basic food options such as a small thali (see below for what a thali is) and daal with bread. My friend (hi Adrian!) and I stopped by here for breakfast one morning and had exactly that; Adrian tried the small thali while I chose the daal. The food was nothing to shout home about but the chai was worth stopping by for.
To help you find this “no-name” place, check out the picture below to see what the shop front looks like. You’ll find it just to the left of Cafe Royal.
Read more: Where & What to Eat in Aurangabad.
Other Samosa place ($)
Almost on par with Shahi Samosa – but in a different location – is this ‘no-English-name’ samosa shop. It’s situated closer to train station, whereas Shahi is downtown by the clock tower. So, which samosa place you choose to visit (Shahi or this one) depends on where your accommodation is located.
Despite serving delicious samosas, you should really try the kachori at this place too – they’re possibly better than the samosas! (kachoris are deep fried snacks stuffed with a vegetarian filling).
To help you find this samosa place, search Google Maps for ‘B. Chandra’s’. Chandra’s is a school uniform shop located just around the corner from the samosa shop front (which looks out onto a roundabout). Also, don’t be fooled by an imitation shop across the street that has the same colour signs (see pics below)!
⭐ Shandar Sweet Home ($$)
Way off the beaten tourist track is this no-frills eatery that’s a real hit with the locals; if you didn’t know what lay inside I wouldn’t blame you for walking straight past!
However, I can tell you that Shandar serve more than just sweets, and that every dish is extremely rich in flavour. That’s because they use a product called ghee (clarified butter) in most of their cooking. Despite sounding unhealthy, ghee is actually better for you than butter and in fact has some unusual health benefits – go look it up. It also makes food (i.e. all these dishes at Shandar) incredibly tasty!
Portion sizes are small but once you’ve had curry, rice and a chapati dripping in ghee, you won’t want much more…except maybe one of their signature lassis! Shandar’s lassis are filled with mixed nuts and also very rich and filling. In my opinion they’re not quite as good as Shri Mishrilal’s Makhaniya Lassis – but still worth having as a delicious dessert.
Various other street food stalls ($)
The area immediately in front of and around Shahi Samosa is actually a good area to try some other street food. Depending on the time of day you can find a variety of dishes being cooked here.
Just one piece of advice though: steer clear of the panipuri unless you’ve tried them before or can be sure that bottled water was used (panipuri are small crispy balls filled with flavoured water and other ingredients – if the water came from a tap it could give you an upset stomach)!
However, please don’t let this put you off street food – I ate street food for about 75% of all my meals in India. Most of the time it’s actually safer than restaurant food as you can see it being cooked and therefore know it’s fresh.
⭐ Gypsy Dining Hall ($$$)
This is the place to come for a thali of epic proportions! (For those that don’t know, a thali is an type of Indian meal consisting of various dishes served on a platter. There are usually many different components to a thali and sometimes they’re even unlimited in quantity – your dishes will keep getting re-filled until you say stop!).
At Gypsy Dining Hall, you can opt to sit downstairs and choose from a normal restaurant style menu, or sit upstairs in the thali hall and be served with their huge traditional thali. I would highly recommend the latter as it’s a fantastic experience!
In terms of the thali itself, over 30 different items are served; with so many different flavours, textures, colours and smells, it’s a field day for your senses! Think curries, daal, breads, salads, chutneys, rice, sweets – plenty for you to try and enjoy. It’s also incredible value for money – just ₹349 (£3.8/US$4.9) for an unlimited thali of that size and quality!
Aside from the great food, the service is attentive and also interesting to watch – waiters communicate through a series of hand gestures and finger clicks, telling each other which table needs a refill of which dish.
Jaswant Bhawan ($$)
Located on the west side of town, this homestay and restaurant is away from the main hustle and bustle that surrounds the clock tower. With this slightly more peaceful setting comes another great bonus – rooftop views of the impressive Mehrangarh Fort.
They serve a small but enticing menu of traditional home cooked dishes. One of these that I can highly recommend is their Maharaja Thali – a feast fit for a King while enjoying views fit for a Queen!
Being freshly prepared and cooked, the food here can take a while to arrive – but trust me, it’s worth it! Plus, more time to enjoy those rooftop views. 😉 At ₹280 (£3.1/US$4), the big boy Maharaja Thali is also excellent value for money; it includes 3 different curries, daal fry, cumin rice, butter naan, papad, salad and a banana lassi. This is a limited thali (no free refills), but the quality is high and the initial quantity is plenty.