One of the best things about road trips in India is the experience of relishing food at the numerous dhabas (roadside eateries) that dot the highways. Most of us fall in love with the idea of trying out new varieties and flavours, all delicious and served hot, while making pitstops on the way.
So here's a list of the 15 most popular highway dhabas in India, recommended by Explara, that you must visit.
Location: Kolkata-Digha Road, NH 6
This popular dhaba is situated on the National Highway between Kolkata and Digha. Contrary to the rustic dhaba theme, this place is a perfect amalgamation of restaurant and dhaba that serves cuisine worthy of its Punjabi heritage.
Must Try: Mixed Platter and Chicken Tikka Masala.
Samarohen Dees Dhaba
Location: Highway of Bhomoraguri – Sonitpur, 37A Highway Connector
Known for its location, menu and design, this highway dhaba is a must visit if you are on the road to Tezpur (37A highway connector) between Bhomoraguri and Sonitpur. This is the perfect place for you to experience some authentic Assamese cuisine.
Must Try: The Pigeon Curry, Aaloo Pitika
Manipuzha Vysali Family Restaurant
Location: Kottayam, Kerala
Located on the MC Road on the road to Kodimatha in Kerala, this 'dhaba' is perfect for the travellers seeking an authentic Kerala experience. Here, you have your food served with a glass of moru (buttermilk).
Must Try: Avial, Beans and Sambar, Naadan Crab, Konju, Naimeen Molee (seer fish)
Location: Jaipur, NH 11
This place has just about everything a perfect dhaba must have. It uses ingredients fresh out of a farm and is known for its authentic style of cooking food.
Must Try: Naan, Mawaroti
Location: Opposite Karna Lake, GT Road Karnal, Haryana
Pocket-friendly and filled with homemade goodness, this dhaba is known for its wide variety of delectable cuisine of north India. The portions are hearty and the service has been applauded several times. There is also an AC hall available for those terrified of the heat.
Must Try: Panneer Tikka, Bread Pakoda, Dal Makhni
Hotel Ummiya Annapurna
Location: Anand district, NH 8, Gujarat
In this dhaba, most of the items are cooked over a wooden fire, which gives the food a very rustic flavour. The rotis here are cooked on a clay tavdi and if you love spicy cuisine, then this is the place for you. The Kathiyawad cuisine served here is very different from the typical Gujarati cuisine, which is sweet, yet spicy.
Must Try: Lassan Aaloo, Sev Tamatar, Besangatta, Rotla (local bread served with jaggery and ghee)
Gulshan Dhaba Murthal
Location: GT Road, 40 km from Delhi, near Murthal
One of the most popular dhabas in the country, with extremely delicious and rich Punjabi food, this dhaba is popular with most people going on a long drive from Delhi. Have a cup of their awesome chai with a plate of aaloo paratha and white butter.
Must Try: Paneer Parantha, Special Lassi, Panchranga Achar
Location: Barkul, NH 5, Orissa
A perfect pitstop for buses, this well-lit dhaba is a massive place. You can lie on the manjihere even while you decide and wait for your order. The seafood is definitely worth your money and is a must try.
Must Try: Crab and Prawns Curry
Jai Hind Deluxe Dhaba
Location: Kaneriwadi, NH 4
With a patriotic banner, this dhaba is on National Highway 4, near Kaneriwadi. The dhaba has good seating arrangements and it offers an authentic taste of local food. A good stopover for you to quickly refresh yourself and dig into some delicious snacks.
Must Try: Chicken Curry and Thali
Location: Mumbai-Pune Highway, Near Nigdi
The Ramdev Dhaba serves only vegan food and you can enjoy some authentic Rajasthani cuisine here. Situated on the Mumbai- Pune Highway at Nigdi, this place is perfect for a light vegan meal to fill your heart and senses.
Must Try: Dal Batti, Rabdi
Bhajan Tadka Dhaba
Location: Gajraula, NH 2
A thatched roof shack that you will simply love to see on the way from Gajraula on NH 24. This dhaba offers some amazing food at great prices!
Must Try: Paneer Butter Masala, Kadhi Pakora along with Garlic Lachchha
Grand Lassi Shop
Location: Zirakpur-Patiala Road, NH 21
The Grand Lassi Shop, as the name suggests, serves wonderful lassi, along with lip-smacking Punjabi food. Located about 25 km away from Chandigarh, this dhaba is quite easy to find for the hungry highway foodie.
Must Try: Aaloo Parantha with melting butter, Chana (Chick peas) and yoghurt.
Mr. Sanjay Dhaba
Location: Srinagar-Leh Highway
This lone dhaba is situated 50 km from Leh on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. A mere concrete shack, this place is a haven for travellers. This is one place where the tea will taste sweeter and the food more flavourful, simply because you are in the hills.
Must Try: Aaloo Parantha and Gobhi ki Sabzi along with a refreshing cup of tea.
Location: GT Road, Karnal
Karnal Haveli is your redefined dhaba which serves authentic Punjabi cuisine along NH1. It's a dhaba that is a bit more sophisticated with décor that's pretty restaurant-ish. This is perfect for kids too as there is an amusement park nearby.
Must Try: Peas Pulav, Aaloo Parantha
Sachin Ka Dhaba
Location: Thoraipakkam, Old Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai
Low seating and long, wide wooden chairs greet you as you enter this dhaba. There are khatiyas in this place too. The seafood, the Punjabi items and the biriyani are really popular.
Must Try: Fish Amritsari, Malai Kebab, Chicken Punjabi, Dum Biryani