Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India. It has a population of 4,875,858. Located in what was historically known as the Awadh region, Lucknow has always been a multicultural city. Courtly manners, beautiful gardens, poetry, music, and fine cuisine patronized by the Persian-loving Shia Nawabs of the city are well known amongst Indians and students of South Asian culture and history. Lucknow is popularly known as the The City of Nawabs. It is also known as the Golden City of the East, Shiraz-i-Hind and The Constantinople of India. Today, Lucknow is a vibrant city that is witnessing an economic boom and is among the top ten fastest growing non-major-metropolitan cities of India. It is a centre of Hindi and Urdu literature and is the second largest city in Uttar Pradesh, after Kanpur.
Lucknow is bravely struggling to retain its old world charm while at the same time acquiring a modern lifestyle. Regarded as one of the finest cities of India, Lucknow represents a culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of sophistication, courtesy, and a love for gracious living. The Pehle-Aap (after you) culture, popularised as a tagline for the society of Lucknow, is waning. But a small part of Lucknow’s society still possesses such etiquette. This sublime cultural richness famous as Lakhnawi tehzeeb blends the cultures of two communities living side by side for centuries, sharing similar interests and speaking a common language. Many of the cultural traits and customs peculiar to Lucknow have become living legends today. The credit for this goes to the secular and syncretic traditions of the Nawabs of Awadh, who took a keen interest in every walk of life, and encouraged the traditions to attain a rare degree of sophistication.
Places To Visit In Lucknow
The Bara Imambara of Lucknow is one of the most famous monuments of the city. Also known as Asfi Imambara, after the name of the Nawab of Lucknow who got it constructed, it is an important place of worship for the Muslims who come here every year to celebrate the religious festival of Muharram. The Imambara is primarily known for its incredible maze, known as Bhul Bhulaiya locally, which is located on the upper floor of the monument.
Rumi Darwaza in the heart of Lucknow looms over the busy everyday traffic of Lajpatnagar like an old guardian angel that has seen the city rise and fall. The ancient Awadhi architecture of Rumi Darwaza is one of those features of the old city of Lucknow which still clings on to the nostalgias of the past, like the horse driven Tonga cart. The creation of Rumi Darwaza has a very charitable reason behind it. When famine struck North India during 1748, the then Nawab of Lucknow came up with a plan that will feed his countrymen as well as give him something to cherish and be proud of.
A hunting lodge converted into a summer palace for the royals, Dilkusha Kothi was built in 1800 by Major Gore in Baroque style. It faced major impact during the first war of independence and hence lies in a less than perfect state with just a few towers and walls standing.
The British Residency of Lucknow served as a refuge for several Britishers during the uprising on 1857. The fort is now in ruins and a cemetery nearby contains the graves of the hundreds of Britishers who died during the siege. The ruins are now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Husainabad Clock Tower
Standing tall adjacent to the Rumi Darwaza, the Husainabad Clock Tower was built in 1881 and since has been the tallest clock tower in India. It is 67 meters high, displaying Victorian-Gothic brilliance with a 14 feet long pendulum and a dial in the shape of a 12 petalled flower.
The Awadh region has its own distinct Nawabi style cuisine, with various kinds of biryanis, kebabs and breads. The city has a range of fine restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. Makkhan Malai, ‘Malai Ki Gilori’ of Ram Asrey (an oldest shop of pure ghee sweets, established in 1805) Chowk , the famous Tundey Kebabs, named after the one-armed chef Haji Murad Ali,and ‘Kakori kebabs’ are very popular with food lovers. The Chaat in Lucknow is one of the best in the country. There are quite a few places serving outstanding chaat, like Shukla Chaat and Moti Mahal in Hazratganj, Radhey Lal in Aliganj, Chhappan Bhog in Sadar and Neel Kanth in Gomti Nagar. After a delicious dinner, one can have Paan at any of the innumerable Paan vendors.
Everyone Should Go To Lucknow Just To Eat These Mouthwatering Dishes.
The Land of Nawabs and Awadhi cuisine, Lucknow is a total foodie’s paradise! From kebabs to paans to biryanis, wander around in the city for a day or two and you’ll never know which narrow alley takes you to food heaven. The taste, the smell and the air of the city screams magic! Even though the list of delicacies is endless, here are some mouthwatering dishes that you just cannot miss when in Lucknow:
1. Galawati Kebab
Galawati Kebab or Galauti Kebab is a special delicacy which was once made exclusively for a Nawab in Lucknow. Galawati means melt in your mouth, and the dish does exactly that. Once finely ground meat and unripe papaya is marinated, a mixture of spices is added to the dish. This one must be high on your must try list when in Lucknow!
2. Boti Kabab
Tender pieces of meat heated under intense heat, Boti Kabab is one finger-licking starter you should definitely not miss! A popular Mughlai recipe, this is one the many famous kababs that Lucknow has to offer.
3. Tunday Kebab
Tunday Kebab have a rather interesting history. Tunday means handicapped and they got their name because the person who made them first was handicapped. Over a 100 masalas go into the making of this royal kebab and they ensure that you don’t feel uneasy after having them. They literally melt in your mouth like ice cream and are best served with rumali roti. To enjoy the authentic flavour, make sure you eat the original Tundey as there are many a copies in Lucknow.
4. Rogan Josh
Rogan Josh – even the words make you go weak in the knees! Soft meat in spicy curry, this delicacy warms you up from the inside. Even though you might get it in Delhi or Mumbai, you haven’t really tasted it if you haven’t tried it in the City of Nawabs!
5. Lucknowi Biryani
This sumptuous dish is straight from the streets of Lucknow. The rice is cooked separately in garden-fresh spices and the marinated chicken is added later. This technique infuses just the right amount of flavour in the dish and the final product is something that you just cannot resist.
6. Tokri Chaat
Chaat is undoubtedly Indian’s favourite go-to snack to add a little spice to our monotony. The filling leaves both your stomach and taste buds satiated. The crisper the tokri, the better! Also called Basket Chaat, Lucknow offers a variety of these in the streets.
7. Paya Ki Nihari
Lamb trotters broth, Lucknowi Payai Ki Nihari is a slowly-cooked dish usually prepared overnight for 6-7 hours. Nahar is an Urdu word which means morning, hence the dish usually sells like hot cakes for breakfast.
8. Lucknawi paan
No meal is complete if you don’t end it up with paan. And don’t you dare think of the Lucknowi paan as just another paan! Paan lovers would be in a for a treat because this paan is more than just patta, supari and gulkand put together. It is an experience in itself and if you haven’t tasted it, you are missing out on life!
Best Street Food Places In Lucknow
Sharma Tea Corner
This joint gives refreshing start to your day with Sharma Ki Chai. Enjoy the best tea of Lucknow with Bun-Muska. The home made white butter spread on the Bun with raisins will certainly let you drool to have another one. Add their delicious Samosa to make your breakfast a proper treat!
Address: Lalbagh, Near Novelty Cinema.
Sardar Ke Cholle Bhature
Experience the authentic delicacy of Punjab with Sardar Ji ke Mashhoor Cholle Bhature. Add their Aloo and Paneer Kulcha to your platter and have a full packed brunch. Oh! Don’t forget to end it with their Sooji ka Halwa made in pure desi ghee.
Address: Lalbagh, Near Novelty Cinema.
If you have a sweet tooth, this shop is heaven for you. The Malai paan, Chena Mithai and Rasgullas will make your belly crave for more and more. Don’t forget to taste their Nakul, which is their sweet Chana Dal. Enjoy the undiscovered dishes here. Also, a glass of Lassi full of Malai and dry fruits is so drooling!
Address: Nawal Kishore Road, Hazrat Ganj
If you are someone who gets lost in the Biryani world while finding out the main pieces, then this is just your place. As the name suggests, it is indeed famous for its bBiryani but don’t forget to try their Chicken Masala and Rumali Roti.
Address: Naaz Cinema Road, Aminabad
Enjoy, the awesomeness of this cold dessert, laced with dry fruit and topped with just the right amount of Falooda. Made with the right amount of sweet, this Kulfi Falooda melts perfectly in your mouth.
Address: Fruit Lane, Market Area, Aminabad
Rahim Ke Kulche Nihari
Land in this place to have true Lucknowi cuisine. This place is famous for its Kulche-Nahari with Paaye, Sheermal, Kakori Kabab, Parsande and Seekh Kabab. These Mughlai Dishes will make your experience of street food fulfilling.
Address: Akbari Gate, Chowk
Shukla Ki Chaat
This outlet is the real gem collection of all the Chaat products. The amalgam of Meethi Chutney, spices and dahi in their Matar Tikki and Aloo Tikki offers a great taste.
Address: Shahnajaf Road, Hazratganj
This place serves amazing Indian assorted desserts. It also serves a dish which explains the most ironic oxymoron- ‘Veg Egg!’Yes and pay attention vegetarians, it is completely vegetarian- no egg involved. This is that unique dish that you will hardly come across anywhere.
Address: Opposite Aminabad Police Station, Aminabad
The Top 5 Restaurants in Lucknow
Lucknow is known for its Nawabi heritage and architectural brilliance, but it’s also a total foodie’s paradise. From royal relishes to kebabs to paans to biryanis, you never know what culinary gems you’ll find tucked within Lucknow’s narrow alleyways.
Located in the lobby at Vivanta by Taj, you can be assured of the finest dining experience in the city when you visit Oudhyana. Exquisite chandeliers twinkle down at you as you walk to your table. The extremely gracious and knowledgeable wait staff will serve you the very best in Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine. From the melt-in-your-mouth kebabs to the rich parathas and delicious biryanis, every dish is delectable and expertly spiced, adding richness and intensity to every bite without overpowering the flavor.
Address: Vipin Khand Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh |Phone: +91 522 671 1530
With its worn wooden furniture, rustic metallic racks, old heavy spotlights and bare filament bulbs, the Vintage Machine offers diners an old-school British pub throwback in the heart of Lucknow. The Vintage Machine serves a range of cuisines with a focus on Italian, including tasty pizzas, lasagnas, pastas, and sandwiches. With its nostalgic décor, hearty food, and welcoming service, this is a great stop for a slice of quirky comfort as you’re wandering Lucknow.
Address: 3/11, Patrakar Puram, Gomti Nagar, Patrakarpuram Crossing Rd, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh | Phone:+91 99191 11155
Momos are a type of dumpling native to Tibet, filled with meat or vegetables and eaten with a variety of sauces. First catching on in North India, their popularity is spreading fast across the country and they’re quickly becoming India’s new favorite comfort food. Nainital Momos is here to meet this demand with the very best momos in Lucknow, perhaps even in the entire state. They keep things very simple with a tiny venue serving around five or six types of momos, but with one bite, you’ll see that in this case, less is definitely more. Try the Tandoori momo and see what Lucknow’s new momo madness is all about.
Address: 1/99, In front of Tata Motors, Gomti Nagar, Viram Khand, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh | Phone:+91 95063 04816
Located in the Mahanagar area in a basement venue with an unassuming entrance, the Cellar is one of Lucknow’s unsung greats. For many years now, they’ve quietly but skillfully served authentic Italian comfort food and Continental cuisine to the people of Lucknow, along with a few other surprising menu items. Their bare brick walls are made welcoming by warm, cozy lighting. You’ll feel like you’re tucked away from the world enjoying a well-kept secret. Go for the lasagna bolognese, hot pepper chicken pizza, or lamb sizzler, then complete your meal with a slice of rich walnut pie.
Address: M 19, Gole Market, Mahanagar Colony, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh| Phone: +91 522 402 5566
Auspiciously located on the rooftop of Hotel Lineage, Urban Terrace offers terrific, sweeping views of Gomti Nagar while you dine on their North Indian and Continental fare. We’d recommend starting with the seekh kebabs or the paneer (cottage cheese) chili, then moving to their lal maas (a Rajasthani lamb dish), though they also have excellent pasta selections. As your meal winds down and you watch the city come alive at night, treat yourself to a nightcap from the bar and a bite of their Gulab Jamun (a sweet milk dumpling ball of spongy, syrupy goodness).
Address: CP-73, Viraj Khand, Opp. Sahara Hospital Gate No.1, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh |Phone: +91 522 272 7777
I feel that no matter how much I can add here, it can never be complete and comprehensive. The food culture in Lucknow was never a slave to the swanky 5 star culture, it always had its own aroma, which still simmers in the names now synonymous to ‘culinary revolution’ in India. Food in Lucknow has its identity. The place has given this country kormas, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, warqi parathas and above all kebabs–of different types. Not only the ingredients used to cook them, but also the expert tutelage handed over from generation to generation makes Lucknawi food worth savoring.