Nashik is a wonderful spot to try authentic Maharashtrian dishes. The cool folks gravitate towards the trendier restaurants, cafes and street food stalls along the parallel thoroughfares of College Rd and Gangapur Rd, 5km west of the centre. Don't miss misal pav, a Kolhapur original that Nashik has turned into a religion.

Feature: Misal Pav!

Nashik's undeniable breakfast of champions is misal pav, an unusual Maharashtrian dish prepared locally with bean sprouts and pulses, topped with a potato-chiwda (flattened puffed rice) mixture, gathiya sev (crunchy chickpea flour noodles), onions, lemon and coriander and served with a buttered bun – a cornucopia of flavour and texture born in Kolhapur but religiously adopted by Nashikkars.

Opinions are heated, but Sadhana, 8km west of the city centre (a ₹125 or so Uber ride), is consistently awarded the best in town. Chefs at this rustic institution light up a 560L wood-fired cauldron at 5am every morning, three hours ahead of a breakfast rush that will see bow-tied waiters dance among the jam-packed, straw-topped tables and cot seating within minutes of opening. Once you've sampled it here, it's also worth seeking out Tushar Misal (www.tusharmisal.com), Shri Krishna Vijay (Abhyuday Colony), Om Tea House (Bhadrakali Karanja) and Shree Krishna Misal (Budhwar Peth), among others.

So how do you eat it? Fill your bowl with small torn bits of bread, throw a wallop of onions and coriander in the mix and a squeeze of fresh lemon, drizzle a bit of tari (a heavily spiced oil mix) to taste (careful now!) and pour a healthy portion of rassa, a soupy red masala-laced liquid, over the whole thing until it's all floating in flavourful goodness. Dig in with a spoon. Finish things off with gulachi jalebi (jalebi are orange-coloured coils of deep-fried batter made with jaggery rather than refined sugar) and the restaurant's absolutely excellent chai. You're welcome!