Breakfast options in the city of joy vary depending on where your are – North Calcutta and pockets of South Calcutta are teeming with para’r dokan (neighbourhood shops) dishing out fried goodies, Central Calcutta is somewhat the ‘office para’ rely on toast (buttered and with/without egg), and ghugni (dried yellow pea curry), while the Lake Market neighbourhood carries the wafting aroma of filter kaapi and Masala Dosa. Further down Southern Avenue, roads are lined with cafes aplenty that scream ‘continental’ from a mile away.
While a common man’s ‘jol khabar’ on a regular day is usually kochuri – aloor’r torkari (potato curry and kachori/puri) at a non-descript stall, there are also options for the colonial breakfast – from the easy eggs and toast to more elaborate fare.
Our curated list of the best breakfast places in Kolkata includes both hole-in-the-wall places with sal pata (small bowl made from sal leaves) stacked with (somewhat greasy) kochuri and aloo’r torkari, and cafés. Read on
Grand Market Pavilion, ITC Royal Bengal
Arguably the biggest breakfast and brunch buffet in town, Grand Market Pavilion is designed to pay homage to the erstwhile Hogg Market of Calcutta. Filled with the sensibilities of a marketplace, the restaurant features an extensive spread that is difficult to experience in one sitting.
The Zesty Morning initiative highlights responsibly sourced produce ranging from heritage grains, super foods, alternate milk, and locally produced cheese – we’re talking healthy and mindful eating. They have dedicated sections, namely, conscious cereals, alternate milk, boulangerie, western griddle et cetera that cater to the different palates of guests.
Choices range from dosa and homemade podis, to pancakes, porridge, paranthas, and sausages. They also have a local love section highlighting Bengali breakfast options like Luchi torkari and Kochuri Aloo’r dom.
If we’re talking heritage breakfast in Kolkata, one simply cannot miss Flurys. Founded by a Swiss couple, Joseph and Freida Flury, in 1927, this tearoom on Park Street is hard to miss.
Packed with diners throughout the day and thronged by people, casually picking at pastries and rum balls, breakfast at Flurys is a solid affair if one can reach on time.
The must-haves are Flury’s English Breakfast, Jogger’s Breakfast (healthier version featuring three egg white omelette, multigrain bread, cucumber/carrot juice, decaf coffee or tea), and Mushrooms/Baked beans on Toast.
One of the best South Indian places in the city, Banana Leaf’s breakfast is exemplary. Reach around 7.30 am, and steaming cups of filter kaapi can be seen flying around the restaurant. The décor is simple and orders are placed in a jiffy. Get the Paper Masala Dosa (their masala is on point) or Masala Dosa, and warm idlis. When dining as a group, we recommend ordering the mini meal which has Puri, Bisibele bhat, Curd Rice, Papad, and Pickle.
We also love Prema Vilas in the next lane, if you don’t get a table here immediately.
One of the more Instagram-friendly places in town, Social Hideout in the Lake Market area is spread across 2,000 sq ft. The place has a patio and a 35-seater lounge that is embellished with white glass, wooden tables, and faux flora. The interiors are heavily inspired by European cafes and the look is tied together with floral décor and a chevron floor. The patio can seat around 30 and is canopied with a transparent glass roof. Perusing the menu, it is an obvious mix of Continental, Fusion, and Chinese. We recommend the Cold Cut Platter, French toast, and Eggs Florentine.
The mere mention of this place brings back fond memories for a sizeable South Calcutta crowd. An institution in its own right, Tasty Corner is thronged by locals and students alike for the radhaballavis (poori with spiced dal filling), and kochuris (w/o hing).
Their radhaballavis are served with aloo’r torkari and sweet chatni – initially, they served the torkari and chutney side by side and the mix-up would render a unique taste. An amriti (re: Imarti) or two would follow suit.
Even students of National High and St Lawrence drop by occasionally, so we’re not making a case for South Point.
For many, their kochuris, jilipis (re: jalebi) and shingaras (re: samosa) come with laced with nostalgia – memories of spending their meager pocket money on these fried goodies that became a huge part of growing up.
To think that a resto-pub would make it to a breakfast list is odd, but bear with us. Panoramic views of the city skyline and a contemporary setting are what we’re after.
With a seating capacity of 70, the sunny spot outside is perfect for a relaxed breakfast. The restaurant’s breakfast menu is designed to keep the city’s flavourful palate in mind.
Chef Ritabrata has meticulously designed a menu that is both refreshing yet classic. We fancy the Eggs Benedict, Croque Monsieur, and the Cinnamon Apple Tart. Wash everything down with a Green apple and Celery juice.
Kolkata’s sole retro-dining restaurant brings back the nostalgia of the 1940s to 1970s, with Anglo-Indian food and live music. Chapter 2 is synonymous with the dining and music scene of Park Street. The two outlets in the city have a seating capacity of over 60 each. Choose from a classic English or American Breakfast, Eggs Florentine, and Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Meat Lover’s Club Sandwich.
Maharaja and Maharani
Two of the more favoured shops on Sarat Bose Road, Maharaja and Maharani are only a lane apart and belong to the same owners. Flocked by locals all morning, this duo is invincible.
Known for their kochuri-aloor’r torkari, jilipi, and gulab jamun, Maharaja and Maharani’s popularity often leads to large queues, a lot of which comprise middle-aged kakus (Bengali for uncle) lining up after a run at the lake.
For an authentic experience, one has to drop by in person because kochuris stuffed in thonga (small paper bags made of newspaper) just don’t taste the same. To round up, get a lassi from Sharma’s nearby. They too make good kochuris, but sadly, are eclipsed by the popularity of these two.
8th Day Café & Bakery
With three locations across the city, 8th Day Café & Bakery’s growing popularity makes it difficult to grab a spot during rush hours. The most striking feature of the café is the minimal décor and casual vibe. The fresh aroma of coffee is hard to resist (we recommend the Hazelnut Latte); and the best-sellers are lodged somewhere between West Range Omelette (three eggs, double chicken, double cheese, and veggie omelette topped with bean salsa and served with a bagel and butter), Quiche (patrons swear by the taste), Breakfast Burrito, and Grant’s Sandwich (choice of bagel with roasted chicken, cheese, egg, vegetables, and mayonnaise). We’re also rooting for the latest entrant, the Shakshouka.
The 1,100 sq ft. café is established within the premises of Nabanita Deb Sen’s (wife of Noble laureate Amartya Sen) residence in the upscale neighbourhood of Hindustan Park. Boasting both indoor and outdoor seating with 60-odd tables, Bunaphile has airy rooms, high ceilings adorned with chandeliers, and a semi-boho vibe (the lush greens are a straight giveaway). The breakfast options are standard; they have a selection of cold brews that pair well with the food. We recommend the Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, Bunaphile Special Breakfast (baked eggs with mushroom, grilled sausages, baked beans, grilled tomato, caramelized onions, and roast potatoes served with bread), and Fluffy pancakes for a hearty meal. For health-conscious folks, they also offer smoothie bowls.
PS: Other places that couldn’t make it to the list but deserve a shout out are Artsy, The Country House, and The Biker’s Café.