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8 Best Places for Kathi Rolls in Kolkata, City of Its Origin

Where better to have a Kathi Roll than in the city where it was born? From Nizam's to Zeeshan to Kusum Rolls and more, these are Kolkata's best spots for rolls.

8 Best Places for Kathi Rolls in Kolkata, City of Its Origin

Cover pic credits (R): Kajal Biswas

No sooner do you enter the words kathi roll into the Google search tab, than the prompt will follow it up with ‘in Kolkata’ — a huge nod to the City of Joy’s identity as being one of the best places in the world for feasting on the meaty snack. 

Much like the culture of the city it has come to represent, the skewer-roasted kebab (roasted meat) hugged by a paratha (flatbread) is a mouthful of delight in every bite. Join The Better India today on our expedition through the bylanes of Kolkata where we deep dive into the city’s restaurants which saw the birth, evolution and domination of the kathi roll.  

1. Chaccha Jaan 

Knowing where to settle down for an order of kathi roll can be intimidating, especially in Kolkata which boasts so many eateries for the famed snack. But one of the places that tops the charts is Chaccha Jaan on Chowbhagha Road. In an interview with Conde Nast, food writer Poorna Banerjee swears by this outlet’s efficiency in serving some of the most delicious kathi rolls she has ever had.

“They make what is known as the rumali roti kebab roll. It’s a whole rumali roti (a thin, soft, limp flatbread) wrapped over a kebab and served with mint chutney (a savoury condiment). This is a very heavy roll, but it’s really great.” You’ll need to recover soon from your food coma because you absolutely cannot miss out on the biryani, a cult favourite here.  

2. Nizam’s 

Stopping by for a quick snack at Nizam’s — birthplace of the kathi roll — is non-negotiable if you are in the city. The meats are melt-in-the-mouth and the flavours are royal. The eatery was started in 1937 by a gentleman Raza Hassan Saheb and witnessed everyone from the British high society to the locals stop by for some kebabs.

In order to make the snack ‘portable’ so the customers could carry it to work with them, Raza wrapped the kebab in a fried, flaky flatbread and voila! The kathi roll was born. Aside from balancing out the flavours, the flatbread also cut through the fattiness of the meat.

As a Times of India article notes, the guest list at Nizam’s has seen the sahibs (a term used for addressing a person of high status) of Kolkata, Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor among other affluent people. 

3. Kareem’s 

The kebabs at Kareem's Kolkata are succulent, juicy, and full of flavour,
The kebabs at Kareem’s Kolkata are succulent, juicy, and full of flavour, Picture source: Instagram: Kareem’s

When it comes to kebabs, Kareem’s is a no-brainer. While the story about the original Delhi outlet is told far and wide, the Kolkata outlet has climbed the charts to strike a chord with the city’s residents as well. With its chicken kalimiri kababs (a dish of minced chicken flavoured with pepper), butter naan (a soft, stretchy flatbread), butter chicken kadhai chicken (a chicken dish noted for its spicy taste) and of course the kathi roll, the menu is winning. 

4. Kusum Rolls

Since 1971, Kusum Rolls has been thrilling Indians and foreigners alike with its delectable meats and amazing flavours. Restaurateur and blogger Mark Wiens visited the eatery on his trip to India almost a decade ago, and, after much consideration, decided upon the egg chicken roll from the menu. Thrilled with his choice, Wiens documented the entire process of preparation.

A close look at the menu will reveal kathi rolls with egg, chicken, and mutton in a myriad of permutations and combinations. Food blogger Anindya Basu of Kolkata Classics too, testifies to the eatery’s ability to deliver. “While there are many places in Kolkata for good kathi rolls, I will always keep coming back to Kusum Rolls.”

5. Campari 

The fish tandoor kathi roll (L) and the chicken kathi rolls are a delicious bet at Campari,
The fish tandoor kathi roll (L) and the chicken kathi rolls are a delicious bet at Campari, Picture source: Instagram: Campari

The kathi rolls at Campari refuse to be subtle, packing a punch in every mouthful instead. Along with its consistency in flavour, the place has also retained the vibe of a parar chop cutleter dokan (neighbourhood snack bar). High tables, a colonial setup and warm smiles are what you can expect here. But when food blogger Kalyan Karmakar of ‘Finely Chopped’ probed a little further he discovered the history of the place was as compelling as the food.

Started in 1979 by Ashok Kumar Mitra — who returned to India after quitting his job as an engineer in Germany — his grandson Adipto Mitra runs Campari. As Karmakar discovered, ingenuity and courage run in the family DNA.

“Adipto took over from his grandmother who ran the business for eighteen years after her husband passed away. While there are a few talented women chefs, home chefs and restaurateurs, who we know of and laud today, running a small snack bar is not what one would expect the average middle-class Bengali lady to do in the Kolkata of the 70s and 80s. Yet, the late Mrs Nandita Mitra did so!” he writes in his blog. Should you visit, a must-try is the fish tandoori roll. 

6. Hot Kathi Roll 

The kathi rolls at Hot Kathi Roll have some amazing fillings to satiate every caving,
The kathi rolls at Hot Kathi Roll have some amazing fillings to satiate every caving, Picture source: Google Photos: Purbayan Bera

The clientele at this location off Kolkata’s high street is a mix of students, shoppers and working professionals, shopkeepers and office executives. Over the three decades that it has been in existence, its popularity has grown. The story goes that it was started by Nesar Ahmad who came to the city from Gaya and was looking to channel his skills into cooking. There is a variety to choose from but the egg mutton kathi roll and single-egg-double-chicken are said to be “phenomenal”. 

7. Jabbrr Afghani

The rolls at Jabbrr Afghani are filled with cheese are meaty delights,
The rolls at Jabbrr Afghani are filled with cheese are meaty delights, Picture source: Facebook: The Bong Foodie

When an ex-banker started Jabbrr Afghani in 2011, it was with a simple vision of helping people kill their hunger with delicious fast food. Today, it is one of the most flourishing eateries in the city and its stand out is blending traditional fillings with cheese! If the thought of biting into a kathi roll only to find your mouth filled with juicy meat mixed with cheese makes you want to place your order immediately, Jabbrr Afghani is the place you need to add to your weekend list. 

8. Zeeshan 

The feast at Zeeshan includes a platter of meaty heavy dishes typical to Hyderabadi culture,
The feast at Zeeshan includes a platter of meaty heavy dishes typical to Hyderabadi culture, Picture source: Food Pirate

“Uncompromised flavours” is how frequent diners at this Mughlai restaurant in Kolkata describe the food to be. The restaurant is one of the city’s top favourites for those looking to indulge in a meat-heavy feast, kathi rolls being the hero, of course. The brain egg roll is a treat to the senses with its buttery flavour interspersed with spices and the taste of egg. But that being said, the entire menu at this North-Indian eatery is invigorating and you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

Edited by Padmashree Pande.

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