1. Ravi Anna Kadai

The eatery was inconspicuous for the most part but was named after the owner whose stall behind Pondy Bazaar would see crowds.

The nei podi dosai at this way-side eatery is the first choice of youngsters who flock to it late at night when all other dosa outlets are shut.

Mathangi Kumar, a chef and culinary consultant, is a fan and loves how the podi is a little different from how it’s usually made at home.

2. Tanjavur Military Hotel

It claims to be “the first inheritance hotel in Chettinad, built on a property that has been with the family for almost 105 years”.

The must-haves here are the pepper chicken and varuval (dry dish fried with spices and onions).

3. Anjappar

Through its franchise model, Anjappar has expanded to over 25 countries, thus becoming “the world’s largest Chettinad chain of restaurants”.

But did you know that Anjappan, the founder, was a little boy growing up in Tamil Nadu and spent much of his time in the messes around his village?

In 1964, he set the foundation of his dream by starting his first restaurant located in Royapettah, Chennai, with the blessings of the beloved M G Ramachandran.

An article in The New Indian Express mentions that Mollywood stars, including Aju Varghese, Mamta Mohandas, Asif Ali, Vineeth Sreenivasan, and former cricketer S Sreesanth are regulars here.

4. Ponnnusamy

What is the largest meal you’ve ever had? Whatever it is, the 32-inch Baahubali thali is sure to beat it.

Featuring 50 dishes (both meat and vegetarian), the thali shouldn’t be on your list if you’re doing a food trail in the city. It deserves a day to itself.

Started in 1952 by two teenagers A R Velu Pillai and his younger brother Ponnusamy, the hotel grew in scope and is an empire today.

5. Nair's Mess

Located on Mohammed Abdullah Street, Nair’s mess serves an unparalleled seafood platter complete with prawn masala and fish delicacies.

But the vanjaram fish fry is said to be one of the most impressively prepared seafood fares one can come across.

While there isn’t a way of confirming this, it is hearsay that the place was frequented by former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, M G Ramachandran.

6. Paati Veedu

Bringing an element of fine dining to the traditional thali concept in Chennai, Paati Veedu is attempting to recreate the nostalgia that comes with growing up on one’s grandmother’s food.

There are three concepts of food here. The first, Poorna Bhakshana, includes a seven-course unlimited meal that is akin to a grand feast.

The second, Bhakshanam, caters to delightful sweets and savouries with a combination of traditional and contemporary elements. The third, Decoction Cafe, is a traditional take on fast food.

7. Ratna Cafe

Steeped in nostalgia, Ratna Cafe, established in 1948 by Jaggilal Gupta, a Mathura resident, is known for its sambar that is drunk by the litre.

If you happen to stop by this eatery in Triplicane, you’ll be amused to see staff carrying around mini-buckets with them. Look inside and you’ll spot the delicious hot sambar.