No one wants to eat at an empty restaurant. It’s a metaphor for many situations in life. One look around the crowded interior of Pindi will show this adage to very true. On any given day shortly before lunchtime a queue forms out the door of Pindi.
Over the years this local Delhi restaurant (serving Indian and Chinese food) has become a favorite among travel guides and tourist drivers who bring hungry clients en mass. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be within close proximity to Delhi’s famed India Gate and Lodi Gardens. Drivers know to direct their route near Pindi as tourists wind their way through the highlights of Delhi sightseeing and the lunch hour approaches.
Billed as a restaurant where guests can get quick service and “safe” food, the reason for their success is not so much in the overpriced food or drab ambiance, rather for the loose lipped gossip that runs from the abundance of foreign travelers.
The bland commercial looking storefront of Pindi is nothing to get excited about, extending to the slightly worn decor which has suffered somewhat in recent years. A troop of uniformed mustached waiters and a lone host hurriedly seat the waiting line of guests into one of two dining rooms. The apathy of each employee toward foreigners can be seen carried on their shoulders, held at bay with the hopes of good tips from newly arrived tourists who haven’t yet succumbed to the proper notion of tipping in India.
Pindi started shortly after independence as a Punjabi dhaba. Changes over the years transformed it into the full line veg and non-veg restaurant it is today. Mealtime surges fill both dining rooms to capacity with an eclectic mixture of foreigners from countless countries all noshing on tidbits of Delhi insights. Conversations between tables run a gamut from the Mughal rulers of India to frustration over which hotel to switch to because the rooms were not acceptable. Listen carefully for the travel plans of many couples comparing notes from travel guide books with that of their itineraries. Eavesdrop on wild tales extended from the mouths of overly confident male city guides who take generous liberties on the truth in a bid to earn friendship from their clients. One hour at Pindi is akin to watching any number of popular Indian soap operas.
Forget about the sticker shock which comes from above average prices for standard food and rumblings from Delhites who will try to stray you from here. Definitely not your average backpacking budget crowd, a visit to Delhi wouldn’t seem right without an educational meal at Pindi.
Location: Pandara Road Market, New Delhi
Cost: Two dishes and roti, Rs 1172
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