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Palais de Mahe


Located on the second floor, the spacious dining area is open to the sides so it can attract a welcome breeze and overlooks the street and the pool below. There is also a separate bar on this level.

The food here is good but on the expensive side, a main course will set you back around Rs 700.

Chef Gopinathan runs a tight ship and has two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, having worked previously with chains like the Oberoi in Mumbai. The presentation of the food is top-notch and a conscious effort is made to serve healthy food rather than the usual crowd-pleasing fare.

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Rates from USD$ 92.09

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The menu is regularly changed and covers both continental and Indian dishes.

Vegetarian and non-vegetarian options occupy equal space on the menu.

Healthy eating is a concern of the kitchen and special effort is to made to exclude maida (flour) in particular.

Dining nearby

There are plenty of restaurants nearby, here’s a selection:

Check out Surguru on Mission Street which is a busy, buzzing vegetarian joint, a hit with the locals who come for the super cheap, quick and delicious south Indian thali. No alcohol.

Madam Shante’s (on Romain Rolland Street), where a meal for 2 should set you back around Rs 900, is well worth a visit. This laidback, rooftop restaurant is good for a cozy dinner or group meal, and despite shortcomings in refinement and detail the food is fresh and well-prepared. Dishes include garlic squid, prawns in plumb sauce and grilled pork. Note that no alcohol is served.

Satsanga (Labourdonnais Street) is typically recommended in Pondicherry and priced with an eye on the tourist trade (approx Rs 2000 for a meal for 2 with drinks). Though we found it lacking in some respects, the food mostly hit the right spot and the garden setting is a plus. Difficult to find so take an auto.

Avoid Le Cafe, the only sea-facing restaurant on the promenade (now Goubert Avenue). Run by Pondicherry’s ministry of tourism and with a 24 hour licence and the best location possible, this place should be excellent but instead falls down on every count. Coffee in a plastic glass? No thanks.

Also check out our guide to eating in Pondicherry.

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