Pune Fact File

Pet Puja
The city’s changing fabric has made the palates of Puneites more adventurous. Where once eating out at a restaurant was frowned upon, Pune has seen a proliferation of speciality restaurants in the last decade. Thai, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Swiss -- name the cuisine and there is a restaurant to tickle the taste buds.

Dorabjee and Sons,
Dastur Meher Road

It’s one of the oldest and most famous restaurant whose biryanis, chicken farchas and a host of other dishes have retained their finger-licking taste for 112 years. The ambience retains the old world charm. Placards of the good old days ‘Cababs 4 annas’ ‘Paya 12 annas’ are still on the walls.

Kamling
2431, East Street, 6130080

The 60-year old restaurant is still considered the best Chinese fare despite the number of 5-star Chinese restaurants which have come up in the city. The food is homely and wholesome.

Timing: 11 am to 3 pm then 7 pm to 11 pm.

Spice Island,
Le Meridien, RBM Road

For those who like to experiment. The USP here is that the entire menu revolves around spices - from cardamom to saffron, star anise to tamarind, ajwain to lemon grass.

Timing: 12.30 to 3.00 pm, 7.30 to 11.30 pm

Malaka Spice
North Main Road, Koregaon Park

Besides an excellent fare of Vietnamese food, the restaurant also serves art. There are always some new offerings by local and visiting artists on the walls.

Timing: 11 am till 11 pm.

Swiss Cheese Garden
Koregaon Park

The first Swiss restaurant of the city, it serves fondues and roestis in a wooden cottage with rough-hewn benches and tables. The fondue arrives bubbling in a pot on an electric burner.

Timing: 11 am to 3 pm, 6.30 to midnight.

Mona Lisa
Gurudutta Avenue, Popular Heights Rd, Koregaon Park
Tel: 6129881

An authentic Italian eatery run by an Italian. The ovens are wood-fired; the oils and herbs are imported from Italy.

Sala Thai
ABC Farms, Koregaon Park, 6817414

Thai chef Uthai cooks up delicious red hot prawn curries, prawn salads, beef in oyster sauce and much more.

Timing: 11 am to 3 pm then 6.30 till midnight.

Ruchira Cottage Restaurant
69, B T Kawde Road, Ghorpad
Tel -
6872303

Famous for Malwani food with the Crab Masala and Malwani Mutton as their speciality.

Timing: Tuesday to Sunday 12 to 3 pm then 7.30 pm to 11 pm.Abhiruchi

Tampopo
ABC Farms, Koregaon Park
Tel - 6876555

Serves Japanese and Italian food and has got a great ambience. Carlo Silvestro cooks up the pastas while Japanese chef Amla stirs the sushi. Slightly on the expensive side.

Timing: 11 am to 3 pm, 7 pm to 11 pm.

Wadgaon Budruk
Tel - 4392588

Set in over 40 acres of rolling farmland with a thatched kitchen, Abhiruchi offers eat unlimited quantities of typical Maharashtrian bhajis, pithal, kharwas etc. for just Rs 80. There are camel rides, ayurvedic massages and hammocks to relax in. The ideal place to spend a day or even a weekend. On the way out, buy some organic farm produce.

Timing: 8 am to 3 pm then 3.30 pm till 10 pm.

Zaika
Ashoka Mall, Bund Garden Road
Tel - 6132331

Specialises in North-West Frontier cuisine. Their kababs are really famous.

Timing: 11 am to 3 pm then 7 pm till midnight.

Sanskruti
Opp Indian Oil Corporation, Sholapur Highway

It has a mehendiwalla, juggler, portrait artist, instrumental music, folk dance etc. Besides Maharashtrian food, there’s Rajasthani and Gujarati. Wholesome unlimited fare for Rs 120, served by Rajasthani turbaned waiters.

Timing: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Evenings 6 pm till 10 pm, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 11.30 am till 10 pm.

German Bakery
North Main Road, Koregaon Park

It’s as much an attraction as the Osho Ashram down the road. It’s got everything from herbal tea and soya milk to milk shakes, carrot cakes, cheese cakes, apple strudel, date pan cakes etc. Always crowded, the eatery is a veritable landmark.

Shri Uphaar Griha
794, Sadashiv Peth

Manjari Bhide’s misal mixture of batata pohe, sev, chivda, sprouted moong, kanda and coconut is famous far and wide. So is her khichdi and sabudana wada.

Vaishali
Fergusson College Road

Vaishali ‘Padik’ is a label which generations of Puneites respond to. They are a breed of dedicated patrons who spend all their lesiure time at the restaurant even after they have graduated from college. The masala dosa are very special at Vaishali which nevers seems to go out of fashion.

Jazz Garden
ABC Farms, Koregaon Park
Tel -
6817412

More famous for its ambience and live music on Saturday night and Jazz concerts food wise it is the most uninspiring amongst all the speciality restaurants in the ABC Farms complex.

Timing: 11.00 am to 3.00 pm then 6.30 pm till midnight.

Discos / Pubs
Midnight’s Children
Sun-down and it’s party time for Pune’s young and restless population. Not just weekends, even on weeknights, pubs and discotheques are rocking.

Club Polaris
Koregaon Park.
Tel: 020-6125555

Very exclusive (you have to be a member or accompany a member), it’s the most happening place though the dance floor gets packed like Mumbai’s Virar local at peak hours.

1000 Oaks
East Street, Camp. Tel: 020-643194

Spacious, this restaurant cum pub is the preserve of the ’60s and ’70s generation with a good mix of retro and contemporary music.

Jazz Garden
Koregaon Park.
Tel: 020-6817412

It is famous for its ambience and Saturday night jazz concerts.

Timing: 11 am to 3 pm then 6.30 pm till midnight.

Ten Downing Street
Gera Plaza, Boat Club Road.
Tel: 020-6128343

A popular watering hole with a dance floor. Posh with an understated elegance.

Jaws Snacks
Castellino Road

Fast food joint it also doubles up as a venue for concerts during winter and summer. It is a favourite meeting point for teenagers.

Crystal Ball
MG Road. Tel: 020-604650

Haunt of teeny boppers and college goers who want to party all afternoon.

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Getaways
Surrounded by the Sahyadri Range and numerous lakes, the outskirts of Pune offer a plethora of scenic spots for some serious rest and recreation. Sinhagad Fort, Panshet and Mulshi Dam are favourite picnic spots and weekend getaways for Puneites and Mumbaikars alike.

Mulshi Dam
Standing under a waterfall at Mulshi Dam in the monsoon is a highly rejuvenating experience. The sprawling Mulshi Lake is surrounded by lush green hills streaked with numerous waterfalls. Valanewadi, six kilometers from the dam, offers the best view of the backwaters of Mulshi Dam and is a good picnic spot. Two kilometers from the picnic point is a wonderful waterfall. A 10-minute climb from the road leads you to the cataract, an uninterrupted 15 foot fall with a small pool at the base surrounded by thick foliage. The icing on the cake is the drive from Mulshi Dam to Bushi Dam (Lonavala), a relatively unknown but scenic route cutting through the hills and skirting the backwaters.

Accommodation
Lake Residency Club (Tel. No. 6362222) close to the picnic point has a few neat cottages for overnight stays and is good for one-day picnics.

Getting There
Mulshi Dam is 40 kilometers from Pune via Kothrude, Chandni Chowk.


At the backwaters of the Mulshi Dam

Panshet Dam
Panshet is a getaway of extremes. Either you unwind with long leisurely walks taking in the magnificent panoramic views or indulge in adrenaline pumping water sports like skimming the lake on a jet ski or a speed boat. There are two water sports centres, one at the Varasgaon reservoir run by the Baron Resort and the other at the Panshet reservoir operated by a private operator. With no other organised activity to distract you, Panshet, with the backdrop of the majestic Sahyadris, is an idyllic place to get tuned to the simple joys of life.

Pleasure Point, a small water park at Ambiphata, five kilometers before Panshet, offers water slides, a toy train and artificial waterfall. A small restaurant serves Maharashtrian fare. Shantivan is yet another picnic place. Located on the banks of Mula river (backwaters of Khadakwasla Dam) 13 kilometers before Panshet, the property spread over six acres is a mix of manicured lawns and wooded areas. There are a few cottages but it is more of a one-day picnic place. Very reasonably priced.

Getting There
Panshet is 27 kilometers from Pune.

Sinhagad Fort and Khadakwasla Dam
An unmistakable landmark, the towering Sinhagad Fort (1,290 metres), is one of the most popular picnic spots around Pune. The Fort offers a fantastic bird’s eye view of the ever expanding Pune city and sweeping vistas of thickly forested valleys. Besides the three dams, Panshet, Khadakwasla and Varasgaon.

Enveloped with thick mist, exploring the ruins of the Fort is akin to a surreal experience, a walk in the clouds. Only a small section of the fortifications have withstood the ravages of time. Tanaji’s Samadhi, Dev Take (sweet water tank) along with bungalows of Lokmanya Tilak and the famous Marathi poet G D Madgulkar are among the few sites of tourist interest inside the Fort. Also hot piping kanda bhaji, pithle-bhakari (a traditional Maharashtrian dish) and cool sweet curd and buttermilk are the other major attractions for tourists at Sinhagad.


Tanaji's Memorial at Sinhagad Fort

Formerly known as Kondhana, Sinhagad means ‘Fortress of the Lion’ and was once the most impregnable fort in western India. Legend says that 300 years ago Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s General Tanaji Malusare, scaled this sheer precipice with ropes and giant lizards. He was killed in the ensuing battle. A grieving Shivaji is known to have said, "Ghad jinkla, pan sinh gela" (The fort is won, but the lion has gone). And that, according to another version, is how the fort got its name Sinhagad.

The Fort can be scaled from its many approaches and is a favourite trekking destination. Just after hitting the road to Sinhagad after Donaje is Ghadge Botanical Farm (Tel. No. 4471690), a good place for day picnics with swimming pool, artificial waterfall, game room and gardens and a restaurant.

On the way to Sinhagad one cannot fail to notice Pune’s answer to Mumbai’s Chowpatty. Khadakwasla dam with rows of food stalls lining the waterfront is a regular spot for outings. The Khadakwasla dam constructed in the pre-independence period and the backwaters of Peacock Bay with a backdrop of undulating hills are very picturesque sights. So is the view of Sinhagad rising tall at one end of the lake. The National Defence Academy (NDA) is also located here.

A dip in the lake or boating (paddle boats) followed by hot tender ‘bhuttas’ or spicy bhelpuri is an excellent way to spend a few leisurely hours.

Getting There
Sinhagad is 25 kilometers from Pune on the road to Panshet with a left turn at Donaje village. Khadakvasla Lake is 10 kilometers from Pune on the way to Panshet.

Living in

Le Meridien (5-star deluxe)
Raja Bahadur Mill Road, Pune-411001
Tel: 020-6050505, Fax: 020-6050506

Located in heart of the city, half a kilometre from the station. As good as it gets.

Price Range: Rs 5750 (single)- Rs 6900-9000 (suites)

The Pride Hotel (5-star)
5, University Road, Shivajinagar, Pune-411005
Tel. No. 020-5534567, Fax 020-5533228

Located close to the industrial belt.

Price Range: European Plan: Rs 4795 (single)- Rs 5195 (double)
Continental Plan: Rs 5295 (single)- Rs 5795 (double)- Rs 9895 (suites)

The Blue Diamond (5-star)
11, Koregaon Park Road, Pune-411001
Tel: 020-6125555, Fax: 020-6127755

A city landmark, the hotel, has five restaurants and bars. Part of the Taj Group, the business hotel is also famous for its exclusive night club, Polaris.

Price Range: Rs 4600 (standard)- Rs 9500 (deluxe suite)

The Central Park (4-star)
Bund Garden Road, Pune 411001
Tel. No. 020-6054000, Fax 020-6050211

Close to the city centre and corporate offices.

Price Range: Continental Plan: Rs 3000 (single)- Rs 3400 (double)- Rs 6500-7500 (suites)

Holiday Inn, Pune (5-star)
262, Bund Garden Road, Pune-411001
Tel: 020-637777, Fax: 020-634747

Close to Airport and station, it has three restaurants, one bar and a discotheque.

Price Range: European Plan: Rs 5000 (single)-Rs 1300 (suites)
American Plan: Rs 5650 (single)- Rs 6800 (double)

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