Jahanpanah Agra Cantt, Agra

One of the best places to have Mughlai food in the City of Taj !

Rating – 4.5/5

It would be an understatement if I say that this place is a hidden Gem! Having read the previous reviews with mumbled complaints of overpriced items was a concern but I still thought of giving it a go Today.
The experience was awesome, prices are a bit on the higher side like an upscale dining place. However the taste is absolutely authentic and is worth every extra penny compared to other casual Mughlai restaurants.
It will not rip you off like eating at the “Paatra” or “Peshawari” but the taste is almost on par if not better.
I ordered the following:
1. Galawati Kebab – 5/5 and extremely delicious.
2. Kakori Kebab – 5/5, absolutely melts in the mouth.
3. Chicken Jahaanpanah – 5/5, a very different dish with thick gravy, awesome preparation.
4. Ulte tawe ka Parantha and butter Naan – nice to go with the aforementioned dishes.

A special word for Kakori Kebab, after Tunday’s in Lucknow it’s the only place where you would get the most tender of kebabs. Preparation is so tender that you would deserve a pat on the back if you manage to serve it on your plate without breaking it in pieces (hope barbeque nation is listening). Taste is amazing with a subtle hint of saffron and you just can’t afford to miss this. If you’re reading this during the restaurant’s working hours then leave whatever you’re doing and go for it right now;)
I am striking. 5 due to the overall dining experience since the place is very compact and it’s all put up in a very limited space so you won’t get a lot of privacy from other curious guests at busy hours 🙂
I will sign off with a strong recommendation to sample the mesmerizing Awadhi preparations you will not get anywhere else.

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Pinch Of Spice Tajganj, Agra

Decent Non Vegetarian fare in the City of Taj !

Rating – 4/5

Pinch of Spice is the place for Authentic Mughlai Food. Food is tasty and quantity is usually large compared to other places but then prices are comparatively higher as well. So I guess it all equalizes in terms of what you’re spending and what you’re getting in terms of quantity.

Ambience is nice and the crowd that frequents this place is decent as well owing to the above average prices.
Tandoori Chicken is usually juicy and done just right to evoke those Tandoori sentiments which will remain long after you have left the place 😉
Mutton Rogan Josh and most of the Chicken Gravies are good to have and tastewise I have no issues with this place.
However the biggest improvement they have to make here is in terms of service, you might be in a good 15-20 minutes earlier to the folks sitting next to your Table but you might end up waiting for more and the next Table gets served first.
Moreover I have seen that the waiters/Captains are more eager to serve our Foreign Guests and can come across to Indians with a “Chalta hai” attitude if the service is a little slow or no one is bothering to note down your order.
Its good that we look after our Foreign Guests as well but not at the expense of your local crowd, c’mon Guys start treating all your guests with equal respect and attention else soon your Restaurant will be visited only by Foreigners during the Season time in Agra and rest of the time I hope it’s not deserted by everyone due to this I don’t care attitude and I am sure that’s not what the Management wants.
I am still giving the place 4 star because of Ambience and Quality of Food but I hope there are some learnings from the area of improvement aforementioned in my review.
Lastly the “Paan shots” that are served as mouth freshner is something which is unique to this place and good to have 🙂

Deviram Sweets And Restaurant Rakabganj, Agra

A legendary place for breakfast!

Rating – 4/5

Well to set the expectations straight, this is a legendary place that has stood the taste….err the test of time by all means.
They offer good quality sweets along with some exquisite authentic snacks that can only be prepared the way it’s done in Agra/NCR and which I so dearly miss having shifted to Pune more than a decade ago ): Anyway atleast twice a year we give a visit to my birth place and ensure that we have the breakfast packed from this place for the majority of our stay if not on all days.

From being a fairly modest place in the late 80s they have now expanded their footprint in the city of Agra with three outlets.

As the name suggests they are predominantly a sweets shop and people throng to their outlets on festive occasions like diwali/holi and otherwise as well. This is basically “the goto place” for pure Desi ghee preparation sweets for majority of folks in the city of Agra.

Coming to their snacks following are my ratings over the last two decades (as long as I can remember)

Bedhai with Aloo subzi – 4/5, not sure where else this is prepared. The subzi is extra spicy (read laced with more than a few chillies) but goes well with a kachauri stuffed with masaala. There is an extremely inferior version of this preparation available in Tasty Tongues, Pune that doesn’t do any justice to the authentic preparation. My better half cooks it pretty close to the original taste and I just had it today at home which prompted me to write this piece 🙂

Samosas – 5/5, again very generous on the spice front, rich in garam masaala, these Samosas pack a punch and go really well with their green chutney. I remember making frequent trips to this place riding on my bicycle whenever guests used to come unannounced. A quick bite consisting of these Samosas accompanied by the green chutney and ginger tea used to make for a heavenly breakfast/evening snack and a combination which one could proudly present to their guests 🙂 These were ofcourse the days of early/mid 90s that I am talking about, the price would have been 50 paise per piece if I remember correctly and they were an awesome deal at that time as is today (now rs 7). Though it’s not prepared in Desi ghee but vegetable oil, the stuffing is quite unique and haven’t found this taste anywhere else.

The other delicacies that you don’t want to miss are the sweet lassi and Rabdi, both are delicious and if you’re not calorie conscious a Shahi breakfast comprising of all these four items would simply be unforgettable and beyond comparison so go for it whenever you get a chance. I am getting mine in November 🙂

Now comes a word of caution and the reason for a rating of 4 and not 5 is because of the utter chaos that you will have to go through at this outlet since all of the above items except sweets are prepared and served pretty much next to a busy road. There is no organized way to fetch these items in a civilized manner. During the peak breakfast/evening snacks time I have seen the queues (not exactly q’s but people coming from all directions) so long that they have sometimes contributed to traffic jams and it’s an absolute circus these days.

I see no efforts to rectify the bottlenecks and this is perhaps the most irritating factor while you’re at it. You’re basically on your own and may have to wait for a good 20 minutes before you can hope to get a bite.

However this is a must must visit place if you’re in Agra for a short while or a localite and is strictly not to be missed!