Saturday, April 13, 2013

Top 10 places I will miss in Chennai

As I leave namma Chennai here are the list of top 10 things I will miss sorely in any other city. I am sure Mumbai will have a lot to offer, much more than here, and some say you are moving from a village to a city... but I have come to love Chennai and especially these...

I will miss the clothes shopping in the cheap shops by Elliots, I will miss chili cheese fries at Funk Jazzs, the doughnuts at Donut House, the stakes at Mash, and ice cream at Ibaco (erstwhile Arun Ice cream). The whole beach face is serene and lined with restaurants and clothes shops. Costa Coffee is also opening its doors, there's KFC, there's Subway, there's Thalapakatti, there's Murugan (which deserves separate mention) and the ubiquitous Cozy's.
1. The Elliots Beach: Two minutes from the house, this beach has been my savior, my friend, my go to place for all things relaxing for the past 4 years. So many evenings my daughter has enjoyed the rides on the beach, some of the cheapest thrills you will get in the world. For the past 3 years, every evening, for one hour I have walked to lose some weight, right here.  My favourite place in the whole world!
2.  Murugan Idli shop:
This is my breakfast heaven. I love hot piping idli and no other restaurant gets it just right like Murugan does.
Oh, how I will miss the soft as clouds fluffy as air white as love dumplings, with their coconut chutney! And their sweet pongal... warm gooey mass of temptation on a plate.
Chennai may argue which is its best idli-dosa joint, but my vote is always and forever yours.

3. Amethyst Cafe: 
Lovely garden setting, lots of greenery, perfect for the kids to play while you enjoy their coffee and food. 
Strawberry white chocolate cake, in fact if you have a sweet tooth, try all their pastries. Their breakfast platter is really good, so are their pastas and pizzas.
Women beware, their jewelery collection upstairs is addictive, to say the least. You can spend a whole morning here, just lounging, reading magazines and shopping for trinkets to your hearts content. And parking is easy, important in Chennai!

4. Tryst Cafe, beside Gatsby on ECR

The best pastries ever. Love their quiches too. And the ambiance is lovely for a nice chat with friends or family or even a business meeting over coffee.
5. Bella Ciao
You can sit inside or out, in the garden... make sure to carry mosquito repellent for the kids if you do.
Great pizzas, and you get Breezer here!!! Lovely dessert too.
6. Tuscana:
Italian at its best. Their attached cafe is a must visit... have the  profiteroles there.
My choice, the mutton pizza with their strawberry mint drink and this... their heavenly berry panacotta.
7. Chennai Children's Park: No its not the best park in the country, but its got an amazing bird cage. But what I will miss about this place is the deer which roam free.

7a. Crocodile Bank near Mahabalipuram: The best place to view hundreds of crocs of all shapes and sizes. If you are lucky you can catch the giant croc JAWS.
JAWS the giant croc which is rarely seen.

OK now the places Ive been near Chennai which I wont get anywhere else. Goa or no Goa, these places have their own charm.

8. Mahabalipuram
The rock carvings all around this tiny town is breath taking. Visit all the temples and do some rock climbing to visit the caves. Its worth it. Definitely go after 4 pm in summer months or early morning. Closes at 5.30 so dont be late. The summer heat can  be killing, to say the least, so go prepared with sunscreen, umbrellas, hats and lots of cool water.
Must visit for sea food lovers, they serve drinks including Breezers.  Their prawns are quite lovely!
Got some money to burn, stay at the GRT or Radisson. Great resorts.

9. Pondicherry: Been there so many times but I will still miss going there. Auroville is worth
visiting, for its ambiance, the matri mandir, the cafe, and the general feeling of bonhomie with the citizens of the world. This is a separate country btw. Stay at any of the modern resorts and make use of their swimming pools, or lounge in the heritage hotels. In the cooler months of October- February you can go church and temple hopping. In summer, go out in the evenings, the afternoons will kill you. We visited and enjoyed, La Terasse, Madam Shante's, Rendezvous, Le Club and Le Cafe. But if you are expecting a Goa ambiance you will be disappointed. The food is good, just enjoy the sea food and the drinks.

10. Kanchipuram: For its grand temples, and sarees. Plenty of saree shops, we went to Prakash. No great place to eat, try the GRT for passable lunch. It is good for a day trip.
The temples range from breathtaking grand, to awe inspiring old. If you are an archaeologist or historian at heart, you will love this temple town.


  1. Hi Payal! A nice original post on Chennai! We compiled a more traditional listing ..

  2. Beautiful list of tourist places in Chennai. Really very nice post. Thank you.

    Tourist Places in Chennai | Places to visit in Chennai

  3. I read your blog. This is really very interesting and useful blog to know about places to visit Chennai. I really enjoyed it. Thank you. Know about more Chennai places to visit

    Places to visit in Chennai | Tourist Places in Chennai

  4. Thanks Charles Mathew and Hari Kumar. I loved being in the city.

  5. Nice post. A city where tradition and modernity coexist in light of a rich heritage and cultural past. Chennai is fast becoming one of the most sophisticated metropolitans. Also, check out these various hotels near Chennai airport.