Tuck into tandoor-fired, bacon-wrapped prawns served with wasabi cream, a highlight from Manish Mehrotra’s Chef’s Tasting Menu. Save room for the chocolate balls spiked with Old Monk rum, arguably India’s most significant gift to the world.
This lane in Chandni Chowk is chockablock with food stalls dedicated to parathas, Indian breads stuffed with savoury fillings. Try the paneer (cheese), methi (fenugreek) and bhindi (okra) parathas from stall number 36.
Olive Bar & Kitchen at the Qutub
For Sunday brunch
This Mediterranean-inspired garden restaurant is a Delhi classic for its proximity to the towering Qutub Minar monument and for its setting in a restored haveli (mansion). On Sundays, the sunlit courtyard buzzes as the brunch crowd dines on thin-crust pizza.
The kitchen at this no-frills eatery doles out dosas (paper-thin rice pancakes) faster than you can use them to mop up their famous coconut chutney. Be warned: Wait times can be long, and reservations are not accepted.
Start with an order of steaming momos (dumplings) at this restaurant featuring Tibetan and Nepalese dishes. For the main event, try the Ema Datchi, made with fresh green chili peppers and cheese sauce, and the Crispy Spinach.
M-20, GK 2, New Delhi91-11-41657868
Piano Man Jazz Club
For live jazz
This 1950s American-style bar serves Sazeracs that are as smooth as the jazz. Take in an acoustic live gig while sipping New Orleans-inspired cocktails.
B-6-7/22 Safdarjung Enclave Market, Opposite Deer Park, Safdarjung, New Delhi91-9958120293thepianoman.in
Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters
For a perfect brew
Tea-loving Delhi gets a java jolt with Blue Tokai, a coffee shop that roasts single estate beans from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Their quaint Saket location is devoted to serving a great brew, which pairs perfectly with a slice of their banana walnut bread.
The humble shelves of salted-caramel brownies, ginger cake, cinnamon swirl banana cake and almond-flour orange cake may look simple, but the proof is in the pudding at this mini-chain bakery. The spiced Belgian chocolate cake should hit the spot for those who avoid wheat.
Once a residential area, this south Delhi neighbourhood is now home to trendy galleries, cafés and boutiques. Tour the medieval water tank, mosque and tombs of the nearby Hauz Khas complex; then pop into Elma’s Bakery for a slice of carrot cake.
Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Lodhi Art District
For the street art
Visit the city’s first public art district, where vibrant murals from more than 28 international artists are displayed on the walls of Lodhi Colony. Located between Khanna Market and Mehar Chand Market, the vibrant street art has reinvigorated the neighbourhood.
National Gallery of Modern Art
For the cultural experience
Situated in the iconic Jaipur House, the National Gallery of Modern Art features work from 1850 onwards, including works from old masters like Raja Ravi Varma and Abanindranath Tagore. Don’t miss the permanent collection featuring over 100 pieces from Amrita Sher-Gil, a pioneer of the modern art movement in India.
At this eponymous shop from a Christian Lacroix-trained designer, look for embroidered cuffs (think necklace meets collar) and accessories inspired by 10th-century tribal beading.
5A Jungi House, 1st Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi91-11-405-01899oliviadar.com
For the local crafts
The best of Indian handicraft from every state of the country finds a place at this open-air market. Once you’re done haggling for Kashmiri shawls and jute baskets, try juicy pork momos from the Nagaland food stall.
Ashdeen Lilaowala’s saris are reviving traditional Parsi Gara embroidery. Lilaowala travelled through Iran and China to trace the origins of the intricate craft, resulting in next-level saris that are bringing elegance back: a cheeky flash of skin winking through folds of heirloom-worthy satin, stitched with cascades of flying cranes.
D-16, First Floor, Defence Colony, New Delhi91-99993-88442ashdeen.com
This minimalist palace reflects the classic lines of India’s Mughal past with oversize jaalis (stone screens) and creamy sandstone while dark wood and soft-colour accents reinforce the tranquil mood. Take a dip in the 50-metre lap pool before towelling off for lunch at the breezy Pool Cafe.
Ground-floor rooms in this sleek hotel come with a private pool deck, and the spa offers couples’ treatments in secluded outdoor areas. Reserve a table at Kiyan, the hotel’s moody restaurant; then unwind with a bubble bath in your soaker tub.
Located 15 minutes from the airport, this property features an art gallery, a salon, a luxury shopping arcade and Amaranta, a fine-dining Indian restaurant. After a day of exploring the city, enjoy a glass of wine and live piano music in the Piano Bar and Cigar Lounge.
Built in 1931, this five-star hotel features an all-white exterior, marble floors and sprawling lawns dotted with palm trees. Don’t miss three tiers of finger sandwiches and sweets at high tea in the Atrium, whose skylight ceiling and refined English setting are reminiscent of the pre-war era.
Soak up views from the rooftop pool overlooking the diplomatic enclave at this upscale hotel. For the full royal treatment, book one of the 18 suites, which include service from a dedicated butler.
Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi91-11-3933-1234theleela.com
For the cozy quarters
This guest house in the south part of the city offers comfortable, air-conditioned rooms, complete with writing desks. Framed photos on the walls, communal living rooms and welcoming owners will make you feel right at home. Start your day with a home-cooked breakfast in the small front yard.
Info about getting from the airport, public transportation and more.
Getting from the Airport
As you exit Indira Gandhi International Airport, you’ll see taxi stands for Meru Cabs and Mega Cabs. Beware of so-called private taxis, which might not be registered legally.
Cabs are the preferred mode of transportation in Delhi. Black and yellow cabs (called kaali peeli) are easily hailed, while mobile apps Uber and Ola offer reliable, user-friendly service. Meru Cabs: 91-44224422 Mega Cabs: 91-9090909090
Quick, clean and efficient, the Delhi Metro offers great connectivity and is an easy way to navigate the city. The first car of every train is reserved for female passengers, but women are free to travel in the general compartment as well.
Auto-rickshaws are most commonly found outside metro stations but can be hailed anywhere on the street. Negotiate a fare with the driver before boarding.
Don’t leave the city without visiting these bustling spots, where you’ll find everything from one-of-a-kind pashminas to obscure spices.
By Nicola Brown
1. Janpath Market Situated adjacent to Connaught Place, Janpath is a 1.5-kilometre stretch of boutique stores located along one of Delhi’s main roads. The market maintains a historical charm, with some shops (dating back to 1950) opened by refugees who arrived here after India’s partition or after Tibet’s invasion by China. The Tibetan market houses a rich collection of Himalayan crafts. You’ll also find high-quality Kashmiri wool shawls and pashminas and a plethora of musical instruments, wall hangings and colourful bead shops. Bring your strongest bargaining skills and a good eye for fakes.
Bonus tip: Don’t miss the famed Jantar Mantar, behind the Tibetan market – essentially, a giant sundial that measures the time of day, correct to within a half-second.
2. Sarojini Nagar Market Sarojini Nagar’s abundance of export surplus clothing is displayed in a few large showrooms, but the top deals (and best times) are found in the Babu section of streetside shops, the most of which are family owned. Discover a new local designer or hunt down exclusive labels at affordable prices. Be sure to give your finds a good looking over before buying them as there are no change rooms. Other sections of Sarojini Nagar include Subzi, which sells fresh fruits and vegetables, and Central Market, where the circular layout of the spice shops ensures you can’t get lost.
Bonus tip: Head for the western end of Central Market to sample some traditional tikki (potato croquettes) and kulfi (Indian ice cream) from the street vendors.
3. Chandni Chowk Market The best way to experience the mad rush of Chandni Chowk is by rickshaw, exploring narrow alleys and streets lined with a dizzying array of shops selling spices, garments and gizmos. Sweets are particularly popular here, so head to the on-site Haldiram’s; it’s the original location of India’s most renowned confectioner. Try the local delicacy, jalebis, a sort of pretzel soaked in sugar syrup and deep-fried in ghee (clarified butter). Of course, the market sells much more than food. It’s also known for its textiles, like saris stitched with fine chikan embroidery and zari brocade. Home tailors will love the diverse cloth market of ready-made and customizable fabrics.
Bonus tip: Chandni Chowk is adjacent to the Jama Masjid of Delhi, one of the largest mosques in India. It’s easy to visit both landmarks in a single day.
4. Lajpat Nagar Central Market For famously intricate Lucknowi embroidery – always done in high-quality white thread – head to this wild bazaar near Ashram Chowk in South Delhi. Men should try the Karan & Moin showroom to purchase excellent custom-tailored suits, while women should shop at Samaira for traditional Indian ladies’ wear, like lehengas (long skirts) and saris embroidered with sequins and semi-precious stones. The market is also known for its henna sellers, who create intricate patterns on outstretched limbs.
Bonus tip: For a quick snack, seek out Wow! Momo at the northern end of the market, which sells delicious renditions of traditional Tibetan momos – steamed dumplings packed with pork or vegetables.
5. Dilli Haat Market Twenty rupees (40 cents) gets you entry to this South Delhi market that’s set up to look like a rural village. The market was first established by Delhi Tourism to foster and retain India’s rich crafts heritage. With vendors from every corner of the country, the market offers traditional, handcrafted items, such as sandalwood carvings, brass statuary of Hindu gods and traditional “bell tota” – strings of hanging birds made from colourful fabrics. Get outfitted at the countless apparel stalls, which sell camel hide footwear and lightweight cotton kameez tops and pyjama bottoms that are perfect for India’s hot, humid climate. Dilli Haat is particularly magical at night, when string lights accentuate the market’s colours.
Bonus tip: Come hungry. Dilli Haat is one of the best places in Delhi to sample a range of food from different regions of India. Here no two curries are alike.