Best Restaurant Chains in India: A Culinary Journey

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India, known for its diverse culture and rich culinary heritage, is a haven for food lovers. The country is home to a plethora of food chains, both Indian-origin and international, that have become immensely popular among the masses. In this article, we will explore some of the best restaurant chains in India, their origins, specialties, and the unique dining experiences they offer.

Famous Indian-Origin Food Chains

India’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its people, with each region boasting its own distinct flavors and delicacies. Several Indian-origin food chains have successfully capitalized on this diversity and have become an integral part of the country’s food culture. Let’s take a closer look at some of the oldest and most renowned Indian fast-food chains.

1. Nirula’s: A Delightful Legacy

Nirula’s holds a special place in the hearts of many Indians, especially those in the Delhi NCR region. Established in 1934 under a different name, Nirula’s became one of the oldest Indian fast-food chains. It gained immense popularity in the 90s and continues to thrive today. While Nirula’s serves burgers, pizzas, and salads, it is best known for its iconic hot chocolate fudge (HCF) sundaes and milkshakes. With multiple outlets across the country, Nirula’s remains a top choice for a nostalgic dining experience.

2. Bikanervala: A Gastronomic Journey

Founded in 1950 by the Aggarwal brothers, Bikanervala is a multi-cuisine restaurant and mithai shop. Known for its North Indian, South Indian, Indian-Chinese, Indo-Italian, and Continental cuisine, Bikanervala offers a wide range of savory and sweet delights. The lowermost floor of most Bikanervala outlets is dedicated to their delectable sweets, while the upper floors provide a dine-in experience. Bikanervala has also ventured into packaged foods with their brand Bikano, catering to those craving their signature flavors at home.

3. Haldiram’s: A Taste of Tradition

Haldiram’s, originating from the city of Bikaner in Rajasthan, is another Indian food chain that specializes in mithais and namkeens (sweets and savory snacks). Since its establishment in 1982, Haldiram’s has become a household name in India. Their wide range of packaged food items, including sweets, chips, and namkeens, have found their way into the hearts and pantries of millions. Haldiram’s also offers ready-to-eat meals, making it a convenient choice for those on the go. With its diverse menu and consistent quality, Haldiram’s has become synonymous with delicious Indian snacks.

4. Sagar Ratna: South Indian Delights

Sagar Ratna is a South Indian fast-food chain that has carved a niche for itself in Northern India. Founded by Jayaram Banan, Sagar Ratna has been serving authentic dosas, idlis, vadas, uttapams, and dahi vadas since 1986. Banan’s vision to bring affordable and delicious South Indian cuisine to the masses led to the establishment of Sagar Ratna. Today, it has expanded to various parts of the country, offering scrumptious South Indian delicacies at affordable prices.

5. Shiv Sagar: Fresh and Fast Vegetarian Food

Established in 1990 by Mr. N.T. Poojari, Shiv Sagar is a vegetarian restaurant chain that aims to provide fresh and fast food. With its flagship dish, the pao bhaji, and the famous badshahi falooda, Shiv Sagar has gained a loyal following. From Mumbai to Surat, Ahmedabad to Delhi, Shiv Sagar has expanded its footprint while maintaining its commitment to quality and taste. Whether you’re craving a hearty meal or a quick snack, Shiv Sagar has something to satisfy every vegetarian palate.

6. Sarvana Bhavan: A South Indian Icon

No culinary journey through India is complete without a visit to Sarvana Bhavan. Founded in Chennai in 1981 by P. Rajagopal, Sarvana Bhavan has become a global sensation. Known for its mouthwatering dosas, idlis, vadas, and dry savory snacks, this restaurant chain has garnered a loyal customer base over the years. The filter coffee, fluffy idlis, and crisp dosas continue to enthrall patrons, making Sarvana Bhavan a must-visit destination for South Indian cuisine lovers worldwide.

International Fast-Food Chains in India

The 90s and early 2000s witnessed a rapid expansion of international fast-food chains in India. These chains quickly captured the hearts and taste buds of Indian consumers. Let’s explore some famous international fast-food chains that have become an integral part of India’s food culture.

1. McDonald’s: A Global Favorite

Founded in California, USA, in the 1940s, McDonald’s made its foray into the Indian market in 1996. McDonald’s India was the first in the world to introduce a beef-free and pork-free menu, catering to the dietary preferences of Indian consumers. With options like McAloo Tikki, Pizza McPuff, and McVeggie, McDonald’s India successfully blended its global offerings with local flavors. Today, McDonald’s outlets can be found in almost every major city in India, serving a wide range of burgers, chicken, fish, and breakfast options.

2. Domino’s Pizza: Delivering Deliciousness

Founded in 1960 in the United States, Domino’s Pizza revolutionized the concept of home delivery. When Domino’s entered the Indian market in 1996, it quickly became a favorite among pizza lovers. The promise of “30 minutes or free” resonated with customers, who eagerly awaited their piping hot pizzas. While you may no longer get a free pizza if the delivery is late, Domino’s continues to delight customers with its cheesy pizzas and mouthwatering side dishes.

3. Pizza Hut: The Perfect Pizza Experience

Established in 1958 in Kansas, USA, Pizza Hut made its way to India in 1996 with its first outlet in Bangalore. Known for its wide range of pizzas, creamy pastas, and crisp garlic bread, Pizza Hut has become a household name in India. With over 400 outlets spread across the country, Pizza Hut offers a delightful dining experience for pizza enthusiasts. Whether you’re craving a classic Margherita or a loaded meat lover’s pizza, Pizza Hut has something to satisfy every pizza craving.

4. KFC: Finger-Lickin’ Good

Kentucky Fried Chicken, popularly known as KFC, was founded in 1952 in the United States. The iconic fast-food chain entered the Indian market in 1995, bringing its signature fried chicken to Indian consumers. KFC India offers a diverse menu, including chicken popcorn, chicken tenders, rice bowls, and the original secret recipe fried chicken. To cater to the Indian audience, KFC also serves a variety of vegetarian options. With its unique blend of flavors and finger-licking good chicken, KFC has become a go-to destination for fast-food lovers in India.

5. Taco Bell: Tex-Mex Delights

Originating from the United States, Taco Bell is a relatively new entrant to the Indian food scene. With its focus on Tex-Mex cuisine, Taco Bell offers a variety of tantalizing dishes such as tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas. Although it has a limited number of outlets in India, Taco Bell has garnered a loyal customer base with its flavorful and satisfying menu. Whether you’re a fan of spicy Mexican-inspired cuisine or simply looking to try something different, Taco Bell is worth a visit.

6. Burger King: The Whopper Experience

Founded in 1953 in Florida, USA, Burger King made its way to India in 2014. With a focus on flame-grilled burgers, Burger King offers a unique dining experience for burger enthusiasts. To cater to Indian palates, Burger King India introduced a menu that excludes beef and pork, with a range of vegetarian options. From classic Whoppers to innovative burger creations, Burger King satisfies cravings with its delicious offerings.

7. Subway: Fresh and Customizable

Subway, founded in 1965 in the United States, made its entry into the Indian market in 2001. Known for its submarine sandwiches, salads, and wraps, Subway allows customers to customize their meals according to their preferences. With a wide selection of bread, fillings, and toppings, Subway offers a healthy and fresh alternative to traditional fast food. Whether you’re a fan of the classic Italian BMT or prefer a vegetarian sub, Subway has something to suit every taste.

8. Starbucks: Brewing Happiness

Starbucks, the iconic coffeehouse chain, made its much-anticipated entry into the Indian market in 2012. With its wide range of coffee blends, delectable desserts, and light savories, Starbucks quickly became a favorite among coffee lovers. From the classic Caffè Americano to the indulgent Frappuccinos, Starbucks offers a delightful coffee experience. Whether you’re looking for a cozy place to work or catch up with friends, Starbucks provides a welcoming ambiance and a wide selection of beverages to satisfy your coffee cravings.

9. Costa Coffee: A British Delight

Costa Coffee, a British-origin coffee house, established its presence in India in 2005. With its lattes, cappuccinos, milkshakes, and coolers, Costa Coffee offers a wide range of beverages for coffee enthusiasts. Whether you prefer a classic espresso or a refreshing iced coffee, Costa Coffee has it all. Alongside their beverages, Costa Coffee also serves light snacks to complement your coffee experience.

10. Dunkin’: A World of Doughnuts

Dunkin’, originally known as Dunkin’ Donuts, was founded in 1950 in the United States. It entered the Indian market in 2012, captivating customers with its delectable doughnuts and coffee. From classic flavors like chocolate and glazed to unique creations like caramel and cream-filled, Dunkin’ offers a wide variety of doughnuts to satisfy any sweet tooth. Alongside their doughnuts, Dunkin’ also serves burgers, bagels, and other beverages, making it a one-stop destination for food and coffee lovers.

One-Dish Specific Food Chains

Apart from multi-cuisine and fast-food chains, India is also home to several food chains that specialize in specific dishes. These chains have mastered the art of crafting and serving a single dish, attracting customers with their unique offerings. Let’s explore some of these one-dish specific Indian fast-food chains.

1. Wow! Momos: The Love for Momos

Wow! Momos is a brand that celebrates the love for momos, a popular street food in India. Founded by two young men in Kolkata, Wow! Momos specializes in a variety of momos, ranging from steamed chicken and vegetarian options to pan-fried and Schezwan varieties. With their sister brand, Wow! China, the chain also offers live counters serving Chinese fast food. Wow! Momos has successfully combined innovation with traditional flavors, making it a favorite among momo enthusiasts.

2. Goli Vada Pav: The King of Vada Pav

Vada pav, often referred to as the “Indian burger,” holds a special place in the hearts of Mumbaikars. Goli Vada Pav, a chain dedicated to vada pav, has taken this iconic street food and elevated it to new heights. With over 300 outlets spread across 100 cities, Goli Vada Pav has become one of the top fast-food chains in India. Alongside their classic vada pav, Goli offers a range of other delectable options, including rolls and French fries, catering to different taste preferences.

3. Karachi Bakery: A Legacy of Sweetness

Karachi Bakery, one of the oldest Indian food chains, has been preserving the legacy of Partition-related migrants for over six decades. Established by a migrant from Karachi, this bakery specializes in soft cookies, delicious cakes, and flavorful biscuits. From fruit biscuits to nut biscuits and Osmania biscuits, Karachi Bakery offers a wide variety of treats that have stood the test of time. With its rich history and delectable offerings, Karachi Bakery remains a favorite among Indians across the country.

4. Roll ‘Em Up: The Kathi Roll Experience

Rolls, particularly the Kolkata-style Kathi rolls, have gained immense popularity in India. Roll ‘Em Up is a Bengaluru-based chain that specializes in serving mouthwatering Kathi rolls. The founders’ love for momos inspired them to venture into the world of rolls, offering a variety of fillings like chicken, potatoes, cottage cheese, and more. With their sister brand, Wow! China, they have expanded their offerings to include Chinese fast food as well. Roll ‘Em Up gives food enthusiasts a chance to savor the flavors of Kolkata while adding their own unique twist.

5. Barbeque Nation: A Grill Experience

Barbeque Nation stands out as one of the most exciting restaurant chains in India, offering a unique dining concept. At Barbeque Nation, each table has a barbeque grill at its center, allowing customers to grill their own skewers of vegetables or meat. With a wide range of dressings and condiments to choose from, diners can customize their grilled creations to their liking. This interactive dining experience has made Barbeque Nation a favorite among those who enjoy the art of grilling.

6. Vadilal Ice Cream: The Sweet Sensation

While ice cream may not be considered a typical Indian food, Vadilal Ice Cream has successfully become one of India’s most trusted ice cream brands. Established in 1925, Vadilal Ice Cream has a rich history of crafting delectable ice cream flavors. From traditional Indian favorites like kesar pista and malai kulfi to innovative creations, Vadilal offers a wide range of options to tantalize your taste buds. With its commitment to quality and consistency, Vadilal Ice Cream has become synonymous with delightful frozen treats.

Chain Restaurants Under Specialty Restaurants Limited

Specialty Restaurants Limited is a company that owns and operates various restaurant chains in India. Let’s explore some of the prominent chain restaurants under this company’s umbrella.

1. Mainland China: A Culinary Journey

Mainland China, a fine dining restaurant chain, takes diners on a gastronomic journey through the flavors of China. With its 52 outlets spread across the country, Mainland China offers an extensive menu of Chinese delicacies. The brand’s commitment to quality and authenticity has made it a top choice for those seeking an immersive dining experience.

2. Oh! Calcutta: A Bengali Delight

Oh! Calcutta specializes in Bengali cuisine, bringing the flavors of West Bengal to every corner of India. With its curries, seafood, and meat dishes, Oh! Calcutta offers a true taste of Bengali culinary traditions. Whether you’re craving a hearty fish curry or a plate of succulent kebabs, Oh! Calcutta provides an authentic Bengali dining experience.

3. Hoppipola: A Fun and Lively Bar

Hoppipola, a bar chain, offers a lively ambiance and a wide selection of finger foods and beverages. While it may not focus solely on food, Hoppipola’s flavorful snacks perfectly complement their extensive drink menu. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with friends or a place to unwind after a long day, Hoppipola provides a vibrant atmosphere and delicious bites.

4. Machaan: A Gastronomic Haven

Machaan is a restaurant chain that offers Indian cuisine in a casual dining ambiance. With its diverse menu and warm hospitality, Machaan has become a popular choice for families and friends looking for a memorable dining experience. Whether you’re craving traditional North Indian curries or regional specialties, Machaan has something to satiate your appetite.

5. Flame & Grill: A Sizzling Experience

Flame & Grill, similar to Barbeque Nation, offers a unique dining experience centered around grilling. With a wide array of kebabs and a sumptuous buffet spread, Flame & Grill satisfies the cravings of meat lovers. Whether you prefer succulent chicken tikka or perfectly cooked fish, Flame & Grill ensures a sizzling experience for all.

These are just a few of the many chain restaurants under Specialty Restaurants Limited that have become synonymous with exceptional culinary experiences in India.

Beverage Chains in India

In addition to food chains, India is also home to several beverage chains that specialize in serving a variety of refreshing drinks. Let’s explore some of the prominent beverage chains in the country.

1. Cafe Coffee Day: Where Conversations Brew

Cafe Coffee Day, popularly known as CCD, has become a household name in India. With its tagline, “a lot can happen over coffee,” CCD has created a space for people to connect, work, and relax over a cup of coffee. From classic coffees to indulgent milkshakes, CCD offers a wide range of beverages to suit every taste. Whether you’re looking for a cozy ambiance or a quick pick-me-up, Cafe Coffee Day has you covered.

2. Chai Point: Brewing Happiness, One Cup at a Time

Chai Point celebrates the love for chai, the quintessential Indian beverage. With its wide range of chai options, including masala chai, lemon tea, and ginger tea, Chai Point caters to the diverse taste preferences of Indian consumers. Additionally, Chai Point offers iced tea for those looking for a refreshing twist. With its focus on quality and consistency, Chai Point provides a memorable chai experience for tea enthusiasts across the country.

3. Indian Coffee House: A Legacy of Coffee

Indian Coffee House holds a special place in India’s coffee culture, thanks to its rich history and association with the country’s struggle for independence. With over 400 outlets across the country, Indian Coffee House narrates the story of British oppression and the resilience of Indians. Today, these co-operative societies continue to serve aromatic coffee and delectable snacks, making Indian Coffee House an integral part of India’s café scene.

4. Drunken Monkey: Natural High in Every Sip

Drunken Monkey, an Indian food chain specializing in smoothies, encourages customers to experience a “natural high” by indulging in their delicious creations. With various categories like the ‘Hot Menu,’ ‘Pamper Yourself,’ ‘Functional Menu,’ and ‘Off The Tree,’ Drunken Monkey offers a wide range of smoothies to suit different tastes and preferences. Alongside their smoothies, Drunken Monkey serves healthy and tasty sandwiches, making it a go-to destination for a quick and wholesome meal.

These beverage chains have successfully carved a niche for themselves in India’s vibrant food and beverage scene, offering a variety of options for every palate.


From Indian-origin food chains to international fast-food giants, India’s culinary landscape is diverse and exciting. Each restaurant chain has its own unique specialties and dining experiences, catering to the diverse palates of Indian consumers. Whether you’re craving traditional Indian delicacies, fast food favorites, or refreshing beverages, these chains offer something for everyone. So, embark on a culinary journey through India and indulge in the flavors and experiences provided by these best restaurant chains in the country.

Remember, these chains are not only about food; they are an integral part of India’s cultural fabric, bringing people together over delicious meals and creating lasting memories. So, the next time you’re in India, make sure to visit these iconic food chains and savor the flavors that have captured the hearts of millions.

By restaurant management POS India

Restaurant management & POS Specialist in India

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