Two friends, Anindya Sundar Basu and Dolon Dutta Chowdhury visit legendary eateries in Kolkata and then tell these tales through their Instagram page, ‘Kolkata Classics’.

In every story that goes up on their page, the hero element is always the establishment, which they are documenting to create ‘a digital story bank’.

“We try to talk about these places that are over 150 years old, the people running them, the challenges they encounter and the rich history behind their survival,” notes Anindya.

Here’s a glimpse at five of these legacy eateries.

1. Parbati Hotel The restaurant’s story is a picture of resilience in the face of adversity. When Joydeb Kundu started the place over a century ago, he did it with the simple idea of serving homestyle Bengali meals at a reasonable price.

Soon, the place amassed a great following with its fish curries. During the COVID-19 pandemic Sailendranath Kundu, Joydeb’s son, and the one who was spearheading the operations, passed away.

Plans for shutting down the business were on the cards when Sailendranath’s wife stepped in. Today, the restaurant continues to draw love from the city it once served.

2. Potlar Dokan “The place never had a formal name,” says Anindya. The original name ‘Potlar’ stemmed from ‘Potla’ who was one of the seven sons of Shashi Bhushan Sen, a cashier in Calcutta Tramways, and the owner of the restaurant.

For Anindya and Dolon, the main pull here is the kochuri (a Bengali-style kachori) and telebhaja (fritters).

3. Paramount A hot afternoon in Kolkata has only one antidote, as Anindya and Dolon will testify — the sherbet at Paramount.

Standing tall since 1918, the restaurant provides its guests with an opportunity to take a walk back in time through the years that have shaped its history.

The recipe for the daab sharbat was handed down by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, a celebrated chemist and historian.

4. Bnete Da’s tea shop It’s a streetside tea shop and one of the oldest in the city, started around 1920, around the same time that drinking tea became popular in India.

As the current owner of the shop narrated to the duo, everyone right from Rajiv Gandhi to Sachin Dev Burman had once stopped by for a cuppa.

5. Swadhin Bharat Hindu Hotel The hotel is known for  its meat dishes. Founder, Mangobindo Panda, welcomed freedom fighters here during the independence struggle.

“One time, there was a group of freedom fighters inside the hotel conducting a meeting and there was a sudden raid by the police,” Anindya says.

“Mangobindo stood at the doorway, refusing to budge. He was hit repeatedly but he did not move an inch and ultimately the men were forced to retreat.”