For our Kerala holiday, we decided to set base in Kochi for exploring nearby attractions like Kodanad Elephant Training Centre and the popular Athirappilly Falls in hills, besides exploring the coastal belt all the way down to Kanyakumari. In hindsight, it turned out to be the best decision we took on that trip. Lucky to have plonked ourselves at INS Dronacharya, we were right in the heart of Fort Kochi, which has an infectious allure about it. With buildings radiating a colonial charm, narrow alleys dotted with kiosks selling fragrant spices and colourful clothes, Chinese fishing nets in the distance and that typical sea breeze that I just can’t seem to get enough of, it was just perfect. The one thing that has stayed with me the most was the delectable food we indulged in, meal after meal. Here’s my pick of the top five restaurants in Fort Kochi for unforgettable gastronomic indulgences:
Still exhausted from the previous day’s journey and famished on account of having chosen sleep over breakfast, we were frantically looking for a good place to hog down some lip-smacking food. I’m not a fan of South Indian cuisine, husband dearest doesn’t fancy seafood, so Dal Roti, with its close-to-home appeal, seemed like the perfect fit.
It is one of those quaint little restaurants in Fort Kochi tucked away in a narrow alley. The place was packed to capacity when we first went in, so we had to settle for a table in a verandah covered by a tin shed. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most ideal seating in the sweltering heat of the season. The owner felt worse about it than we did, and carried our plates out himself the moment a table cleared up.
The hospitality of the place is one of the biggest reasons to stop over for a meal here. He insisted on looking after our daughter while we enjoyed our food. The food was finger-licking good. The menu is limited but every item on it is prepared to perfection. On our first meal there, we had mutton gravy with rumali roti and double chicken kaathi roll. The portions are generous and you can’t help going back for more because your taste buds won’t stop tickling even though your stomach is begging you to stop eating! We went there three more times, and the experience was equally heartening every time.
I’m a breakfast person on holidays, and I like them truly king style. We went to the Kashi Art Cafe for breakfast on a friend’s recommendation and I’m so glad we did. It’s the best of the restaurants in Fort Kochi for a hearty morning meal. The most striking thing about the place is its tasteful, artsy decor, which is kind of a given, considering the name of the place. What stood out for me was how each item on display seemed to have carefully picked out, to create a calming, serene ambience.
Their coffee is to die for! I totally recommend starting and sealing your breakfast with a cup of coffee each. We ordered mushroom and veggie omelette, cheese sandwich, and chocolate cake with fudge sauce, all of which were delectable in their unique ways. I wanted eggs with bacon but the dish was not available before noon, which was a bit of a bummer considering it is a breakfast place primarily. And they could do a tad better on the service front. Other than these two tiny blips, the place is pretty spot on.
The Seagull restaurant has a nice open deck by the sea, making it ideal for enjoying a quiet evening with your significant other, family or friends. We settled for a table in a faraway corner. With the sight of giant ships in the distance, glistening under the moonlight, the waves lapping up beneath the dock, this is one of the few restaurants in Fort Kochi with a stirring ambience.
Mix it up with a helping of chilled beers and you get just the right blend for a perfect evening where conversations flow seamlessly. We ordered Chicken Chettinad and Fish Pollichathu, along with the signature Kerala parantha, all done to perfection. The service was impeccable, with waiters taking a due care to cater to the guests’ requirements despite it being a full house. It was also the only place that was open and happy to serve us on Good Friday, while the rest of Fort Kochi wore a rather deserted look.
Situated inside the Cochin Club that is dotted with beautifully manicured lawns and has upheld its traditional English ambience all these decades later, The Asian Kitchen by Tokyo Bay gets some brownie points of its location alone. We picked out this restaurant for my ‘turning 30’ birthday dinner, and the place lived up to the occasion with its fine setting and delectable food.
It is perhaps the only of the restaurants in Fort Kochi that have some authentic Vietnamese delicacies on its menu. As a fan of Asian cuisine, that itself was a foodgasmic discovery for me. We ordered Vietnamese Minced Pork with Steamed Jasmine Rice (it was delish as it sounds), Wok Tossed Flat Noodles, Crystal Seven Spice Chicken Dim Sums, Pork Ribs, Shredded Chicken in Schezwan Sauce, and Darsan with Vanilla Ice-cream for dessert.
It was quite a full spread, and the fact that we managed to polish it off – and were left wanting for more – between two adults and a baby says a lot about how yummylicious it all was. The only dampener was that they neither had a cake nor agreed to arrange one for us, so I had to go without cutting one for the big milestone birthday.
If you are looking for a place that will blow you away with its charming ambience alone, the Teapot Cafe is in one of the restaurants in Fort Kochi that MUST be on your list. The place is all about the unique decor, where an old-styled island home has been transformed into an ode to teapots. You’ll find them in all shapes, sizes, colours and textures here. The stand out feature is the extended seating area in the attic with a steep flight of stairs leading up to it. It is not a place you should visit hurriedly because that’d be a disservice to its unique vibe.
Also, the service is here can be painfully slow, so make sure you have time at hand and an interesting company or a good book to catch up on. We ordered a Teapot Special tea, filter coffee, and a slice of Chocochip cake. Although I wasn’t too happy with the cake, the kid was glad to devour it (and smear her face and clothes with it), which kept her busy for a good 20 minutes, allowing us the time to finish our beverages at peace. It’s not a place you must visit for the sheer uplifting experience that is being there.
The Best of the Best Restaurants in Fort Kochi
There is no dearth of restaurants in Fort Kochi. From swanky fine dining options to cosy little cafes and road-side shacks offering economy meals, the place has it all. This is our pick of the best of the lot. Do visit them on whenever you are in Kochi next and tell us if you agree with our selection.