Many of India’s best restaurants are to be found within the country’s foremost hotels. Jaipur, however, has an unusually varied dining scene. Here are a few of my favorite places.
I am extremely fond of Indian food, and, over the years, have come to enjoy highly spiced dishes. But there comes a point in every trip when a European menu seems an appealing prospect. Bar Palladio in the Hotel Narain Niwas Palace is the creation of Barbara Miolini, an Italian/Swiss expatriate. The exquisite peacock-blue tented interior by Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans provides a wonderfully exotic setting for classic Italian dishes such as fettuccine al funghi, penne all’arrabbiata, pumpkin ravioli and, of course, tiramisu. The eight garden pavilions should be reserved in advance.
Kanota Bagh, Narain Singh Road. Tel. (91) 141-256-5556.
The best-known Taj hotel in Jaipur is, of course, the Rambagh Palace, but the group also has a second property, the Jai Mahal Palace. There, the Indian restaurant, Cinnamon, serves delicious dishes from the Punjab, as well as classic Mughal cuisine.
Jacob Road, Civil Lines. Tel. (91) 141-222-3636.
Having been in business for more than 65 years, Niros is a Jaipur institution, popular with locals and visitors alike. The ambience is casual and the décor is scarcely the last word in chic, but the North Indian and tandoori cuisine is consistently excellent. For those who are tiring of chicken jhal frezi and bhuna gosht, there is an extensive Chinese menu.
Mirza Ismail Road. Tel. (91) 141-237-4493.
A charming if slightly run-down “heritage” hotel, the Samode Haveli has an exceptionally pretty dining room with dark wood furniture, crystal chandeliers, marble floors and old oil paintings. Outside, a delightful terrace overlooking the gardens is a serene place for a relaxing lunch after a hectic morning’s sightseeing. The Rajasthani thali (a platter with numerous small dishes) is delicious.
Near Jorawar Singh Gate, Gangapole. Tel. (91) 141-263-2407.
This grand and stylish restaurant at Amber Fort, eight miles from Jaipur, serves authentic Rajasthani food in both outdoor courtyards and private dining rooms. The setting is unforgettable at night, when the stupendous fort is floodlit.
Amber City. Tel. (91) 141-253-0148.