With Independence Day just around the corner, let’s look at 15 iconic eateries that take you on a mouthwatering journey through pre-independence India.

It would be unfair to start this list with any other eatery than Tunday Kababi. Globally known for its delicious kebabs, kormas, and biryanis, it was set up in 1905 by Haji Murad Ali — the one-armed star cook of the Nawab of Lucknow.

Tunday Kababi, Lucknow

Tucked in the bylanes of College Street in Kolkata, Indian Coffee House has been an intellectual hangout and meeting place for students and intellectuals — such as Rabindranath Tagore, Amartya Sen, Manna Dey, Satyajit Ray etc.

Indian Coffee House, Kolkata

One of Mumbai’s most loved restaurants, it was opened in 1923. A cult restaurant with its heritage furniture, its outstanding mutton and chicken berry pulav is a must-try.

Britannia and Co, Mumbai

Founded by Parampalli Yajnanarayana Maiya and his brothers in the year 1924, MTR is a culinary pride of the city. During World War II, a significant shortage of rice supply resulted in MTR inventing the rava idli, a much-loved South-Indian breakfast dish.

Mavalli Tiffin Room, Bengaluru

Located in the Police Bazaar area of Shillong, the eatery has been serving delicious sweets since 1930. Their jalebis and gulab jamun are arguably one of the finest in town. The eatery also finds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for frying the world’s largest jalebi.

Delhi Misthan Bhandaar, Shillong

Over a 100-year-old, the bakery cum restaurant was opened by an Italian named Vado. A hit among locals, the place is known for its yummy apple pies, sticky cinnamon buns, fresh meat pies, and Darjeeling tea.

Glenary’s, Darjeeling

Established in 1913 by Hazi Kareemudin, Karim’s has a prime location in Chandni Chowk. The place has been a centre of attraction for decades, and its star dishes are mutton nihari and chicken jahangiri.

Karim’s, Delhi

As the name suggests, the eatery is a favourite among locals as well as tourists. Known to have been a hangout spot for poets, such as Kazi Nazrul Islam, and many freedom fighters, it is famous for hot tea — complemented by biscuits, cakes and different toasts.

Favourite Cabin, Kolkata

Located in a cramped nook in Mylapore, Rayar’s Mess was established in the 1940s by Srinivasa Rao. The mess has been serving fluffy idlis, crisp vadas (with ghetti chutney), and scalding-hot degree coffee to its loyal customers for over 70 years.

Rayar’s Mess, Chennai

Tracing its origin to 1890, it is the oldest street food shop in Allahabad. The shop is famed for its delicious snacks made in pure ghee and lip-smacking chaat, palak ki namkeen, masala samosas, and khasta kachauri.

Hari Ram and Sons, Allahabad

Founded by Mr and Mrs J Flury in 1927, this pre-independence tea shop has an old-world charm. It is famous for rum balls, meringues with cream, and a delicious English breakfast.

Flury’s, Kolkata

Better known as CTR, this eatery in Bengaluru is a gem of a place for good masala dosa and filter coffee. Founded in 1940, Shri Sagar is Malleshwaram’s landmark thindi joint — the local lingo for small eating places that offer quick South Indian bites.

Shri Sagar (CTR), Bengaluru

Established by Shaikh Ghulam Ibrahim way back in the late 1800s, the bakery was a favourite of Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Their cream buns and cheese sippers are a must-try.

Shaikh Brothers Bakery, Guwahati

This iconic dhaba was established by Lala Kesar Mal and his wife in 1916 in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. It moved to Amritsar after the Partition where it was frequently visited by Lala Lajpat Rai. The creamy palak paneer and stuffed parathas here are a must-try.

Kesar Da Dhaba, Amritsar

One of the oldest bakeries in Goa, this 80-year-old cosy little shop serves traditional Goan sweets and savouries — such as the moist date and walnut cake, the scrumptious bebinca etc.

Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro, Panaji