Food and Restaurants in Tamil Nadu

While people might be aware of Tamil Nadu’s reputation as a cultural state, it comes as no surprise to anyone who has visited this place to see that culinary-wise also it ranks quite high. The food in Tamil Nadu is excellent, but what’s interesting is that it’s not just south Indian food that measures up greatly here. There are excellent meat and chicken dishes that you can enjoy here while of course, with so much access to the coast, the seafood is excellent too.

Whether you’re planning on enjoying vegetarian or non-vegetarian food, you can be sure that everything you taste will be delicious and fresh. Typically, if you walk into a South Indian restaurant in Tamil Nadu, you will find dishes like rice, sambhar, rasam, a vegetarian dish or two and the meal is completed with a bowl of curd and some pickle. Breakfast dishes include the ubiquitous masala dosa, idli, vadais and

All the best restaurants in Tamil Nadu will serve some of the following dishes.

  • Masala Dosa
  • Kari Dosai
  • Elaneer Payasam
  • Nethili Fish Fry
  • Kothu Parotta
  • Sundal
  • Pongal
  • Meen Kozhambu

The humble dosa has come a long way indeed. Filled to the brim with potatoes sometimes, topped with luscious melting butter, this hearty but simple dish is a favourite across all ages. One of the best places to have masala dosa is in Tamil Nadu, after all it’s called the land of dosas. Crispy, hot and delicious dosas can be had in places like Murugan Idli or Mami Tiffin Stall in Chennai. For an upgraded version of a dosa with fillings such as roasted garlic or even paneer, head to Id which offers a delightful selection of tastes.

If you’re looking for some of the best food in Tamil Nadu, look no further than Kari Dosa in Madurai especially. Madurai is hardly the sort of city where you can linger over a meal and enjoy fine dining, but food is taken seriously by everyone. The restaurants might lack in ambience but make up for it in taste. Murugan Idli Shop is known for its stickier and softer idlis as compared to the grainier versions you are normally used to. Although you can’t have enough of idlis when in Madurai, try the kari dosai for a change. The dosa is thick and it is layered with an omelette and then covered with minced mutton. This dosai will definitely change your opinion about the extent to which dosas have evolved.

Should you find yourself in Coimbatore (Kovai), don’t hesitate to try some elaneer payasam, a delicious dessert made with tender coconut flesh, coconut milk, creamy regular milk, sugar and of course flavoured with cardamom. This light and delectable dessert will become a quick favourite for its unusual taste and one of the best places to have it in Coimbatore is in Hotel Kannappa or Ente Keralam. It’s best when you have it chilled.

Chennai or Madras as it was known before was a group of fishing villages before colonialization. It’s no wonder then that some of the most amazing food in Tamil Nadu comes from the sea. In Chennai especially, if you love seafood, do try the nethili fry, a spicy dish made by deep frying anchovies and sprinkling it with lime. A favourite of many who love fish and seafood, don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy this lip-smacking dish and the best place to eat it would be in places where the fishing communities are predominant. Among restaurants, you could try it in The Spring Hotel’s Sigree Grill. 

A signature dish of Kanyakumari is the Kothu Parotta. This delicious street food is spicy and tantalising. Don’t miss the chance to see how it is made and you will be surprised because this is like no parotta you have ever seen before. Parottas are minced with chicken or eggs and the fast moving hands of the chefs are nothing but a blur as you watch them hit the tawa with the steel or iron ladle as they mix it all up and serve it with a generous dash of chopped green chillies and coriander.

Pongal is the most famous festival in Tamil Nadu. It is the harvest festival that lasts for four days and is celebrated in the middle of January. The festival is a show of appreciation and gratitude to the Sun God for helping with the agriculture. Preparations for Pongal begin a month before, during the month of Margali when people decorate the entrance of their houses with kolam, coloured rice powder and clean and whitewash their houses thoroughly. During this festival, the first rice of the season is boiled as a tribute to the Sun God.

Each of the four Pongal days are celebrated differently. On the first day which is called Bhogi, is celebrated to honour Lord Indra. The second day is called Thai Pongal when people wear traditional clothes and make various offerings of sugarcane and coconut. The third day is called Mattu Pongal, when cows are decorated with beads, bells and flowers and worshipped. The last day is called Kannum Pongal when families visit each other and exchange gifts. All in all, Pongal is a wonderful festival that brings people together.

One of the must try food in Tamil Nadu is Meen Kozhambu, especially if you’re a seafood lover. This fish curry is tangy and spicy as it uses a lot of tamarind paste and lots of chilli. There are several places in Chennai where you can enjoy this iconic dish -     Kuppathu Meen Kulambu Mess and Nair Mess are two of the places where you can get to try this tasty fish curry.

If you can’t wait to try out the food in Tamil Nadu, do make it a point to check the SOTC website for offers and deals on Tamil Nadu holiday packages.

Have Queries?

Fill in the form below & get the best deals.
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid Email-ID
Please enter a valid mobile number
Please enter Holiday Type
Please enter the destination

I accept Privacy Policy and I authorise Thomas Cook Group Companies to contact me.

International Honeymoon Packages

Popular Tourism Destinations

    Most Trending International Holidays