Best restaurants in Tamil Nadu

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Tiruvannamalai

    Dreaming Tree

    Super-chilled Dreaming Tree dishes out huge portions of exquisite, health-focused veg fare, prepped with mostly organic ingredients, on a breezy thatched rooftop loaded with low-slung purple-cushioned booths. Expect fabulous 'hippie salads' and tofu stir-fries, luscious breakfasts, and all kinds of cakes, juices, lassis, lemonades and organic coffees. Signs lead the way (500m) across the road from Sri Ramana Ashram.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Amethyst

    Set in an exquisitely converted warehouse with a wraparound veranda from which tables spill out into lush gardens, Amethyst is a nostalgically posh haven that's outrageously popular with expats and well-off Chennaiites. Well-executed European-flavoured dishes range over quiches, pastas, sandwiches, crepes, creative salads, all-day breakfasts and afternoon teas. Fight for your table, then check out the stunning Indian couture boutique.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Puducherry (Pondicherry)

    Café des Arts

    This bohemian cafe would look perfectly at home in Europe, but this is Pondy, so there's a cycle rickshaw in the garden. Perfectly prepared dishes range from salads to crêpes, baguettes, omelettes and toasties. Coffees and fresh juices are great. The old town-house setting is casual yet refined, with low tables and lounge chairs arranged across several rooms and an outdoor terrace. It's by far our favorite breakfast/lunch/snack spot in town.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Puducherry (Pondicherry)

    Villa Shanti

    Smart candlelit tables in a palm-dotted, pillared courtyard attached to a colourful cocktail bar create a casually fancy vibe at this packed-out hotel restaurant, one of Pondy's hottest dining spots. The building's contemporary Franco-Indian flair runs right through the North Indian/European menu. While portions are small, flavours are exquisite, and there are some deliciously creative veg dishes. Open all day for snacks and drinks.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Peshawri

    Perfect for a five-star splash-out, the ITC's signature Northwest Frontier restaurant serves inventive, flavour-popping creations at intimate booths alongside a glassed-in kitchen that gets you right in on the culinary action. Try huge hunks of pillowy chilli-grilled paneer, expertly spiced kebabs, or the deliciously rich house-special dhal bukhara, simmered overnight. There's an astounding international wine/cocktail list.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Copper Chimney

    Meat-eaters will drool over the yummy North Indian tandoori dishes served in well-lit, stylishly minimalist surroundings, but the veg food here is fantastic too. Jain specialities mingle with biryanis, chicken kebabs, chargrilled prawns and fluffy-fresh naan. The machchi tikka – skewers of tandoori-baked fish – is superb, as is the spiced paneer kebab and grilled lamb.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Annalakshmi

    Very fine South and North Indian vegetarian fare, plus glorious fresh juices, in a beautiful dining room decorated with carvings and paintings, inside a high-rise behind the Air India building. Buffet lunches and dinners are served in another part of the same block. Annalakshmi is run by devotees of Swami Shanthanand Saraswathi; proceeds support medical programs for the poor.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Puducherry (Pondicherry)

    Villa Helena

    One of Pondy's favourite culinary teams heads up this fashionable continental-Indian eatery, launched in 2016 in a dreamy, lantern-lit patio engulfed by tropical gardens and lined with white-columned corridors. The menu leaps around the globe, delivering luscious creative salads alongside beef fillets, pastas, cheese boards, Indian classics and the odd fusion invention.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Coonoor

    La Belle Vie

    With tables on the veranda of a beautifully revamped 19th-century bungalow, La Belle Vie has guests driving miles for its flavour-popping European-Indian food. Gazing out over the Nilgiris beyond a lovely lawn full of flower gardens, it's arguably Coonoor's most perfectly positioned restaurant.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Madurai

    Murugan Idli Shop

    Though it now has multiple Chennai branches, Murugan is Madurai born and bred. Here you can put the fluffy signature idli and chutneys to the test, and feast on South Indian favourites like dosa, vada and uttapam.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kodaikanal (Kodai)

    Hotel Astoria

    This pure-veg restaurant is always packed with locals and tourists, especially at lunchtime when it serves fantastic all-you-can-eat thalis.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Madurai

    Sri Sabareesh

    Decked with old-Madurai photos, Sri Sabareesh is a popular pure-veg cheapie that rustles up good South Indian thalis (₹90), dosa, idli, uttapam and vada, plus sturdy mains.

  • Restaurants in Ooty (Udhagamandalam)

    Place to Bee

    Brush up on Nilgiri-bee facts over meals at this arty, fairy-lit restaurant tucked inside the Keystone Foundation's little Bee Museum. It might sound bizarre, but the concept works, ingredients are locally sourced, and the divinely fresh dishes – many involving wild honey – don't disappoint. Choose from expertly executed pastas, Mediterranean-inspired salads and real-deal, build-your-own wood-fired pizzas.

  • Restaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Double Roti

    'Double roti' refers to burger buns – the semi-open kitchen at this always-packed, super-casual, industrial-chic cafe plates them up with fun, flair and buckets of flavour. Lemonades and milkshakes are served in jars; burgers arrive in mini-frying pans; buckets come filled with masala fries; and witty slogans are chalked up on boards. There's plenty for vegetarians too, including fantastic spicy-falafel burgers.

  • Restaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Enté Keralam

    A calm ambience seeps through the four orange-toned, three- to four-table rooms of this elegant Keralan restaurant. Lightly spiced pachakkari vegetable stew is served with light, fluffy appam (rice pancake), the Alleppey curry is rich with mango, and there are plenty of fish dishes. Wind up with tender coconut ice cream. Set meals (veg/nonveg ₹945/1450) give a multidish miniformat taster.

  • Restaurants in Puducherry (Pondicherry)

    Kasha Ki Aasha

    A friendly all-female team whips up great pancake breakfasts, lunches and cakes on the thatched rooftop of this colonial-era-house-turned-craft-shop-and-cafe, where the all-veg fusion food includes 'European thalis' and 'Indian enchiladas' (which feel a little overpriced for what you get). The floaty fabrics and leather sandals for sale downstairs come direct from their makers. Live music Saturday night.

  • Restaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Junior Kuppanna

    From an impeccably clean kitchen (which you're welcome to tour) come limitless, flavour-packed lunchtime thalis, dished up traditional-style on banana leaves. This typical, frenzied Chennai 'mess' also has a full menu. Carnivores tiring of the pure-veg lifestyle can seek solace in specialities like mutton brains and pan-fried seer fish. Arrive early: it's incredibly popular. Branches across Chennai.

  • Restaurants in Ooty (Udhagamandalam)

    Earl's Secret

    You get a taste of everything at this elegant heritage-hotel restaurant up above Ooty. Half glassed-in conservatory, half tables scattered across Raj-era lounges with roaring winter fires, it does beautifully prepared Indian (mostly northern), continental and Southeast Asian dishes, including deliciously hot soups that are a godsend for chilly Ooty nights.

  • Restaurants in Madurai

    Garden All Day

    If you're splashing out, the panoramic all-day restaurant at Gateway Hotel, 6km southwest of central Madurai, works up an astounding array of delicious global dishes ranging from Chettinadu curries to fancy salads, pastas and burgers. Dine in the garden overlooking Madurai's twinkling lights or in the sophisticated air-conditioned interior.

  • Restaurants in Chennai (Madras)

    Southern Spice

    Silver palm-shaped plates, wood-carved pillars, candlelit tables and flower bowls recreate a swish South Indian palace setting for some of Chennai's finest South Indian food. Glammed-up thalis come in veg, nonveg, seafood and 'light' versions. À la carte offerings bounce from coconut-infused Keralan pachakari stews to fiery Chettinadu curries.