Unlike many other midsize Indian cities, where the dominating regional culture reigns supreme, Pune has long attracted transplants from across India, including a sizable South Indian population. No surprise that the city’s South Indian restaurants have amassed cult followings for their dosas, idlis, and sambars. Most locals have a nostalgic soft spot for Vaishali, a longtime favorite with students from nearby Fergusson College, who swear by the butter dosa. But savvy Puneris have found a new haunt: Savya Rasa, which opened in 2015 in Koregaon Park, specializes in refined fare from the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The elegant interiors are a world away from Vaishali’s collegiate ambience, and you’ll only find one dosa option on the menu here (a paper-thin, rice-batter-based neer dosa). Instead, try the royalla iguru (spicy prawns with chilli, ginger garlic, curry leaves, and lime juice) and kori gassi (chicken curry with coconut milk); pair them with a fluffy bun parotta bread and a classic South Indian filter kaapi (coffee). You’ll soon understand why Savya Rasa was named one of Condé Nast Traveller India’s best new restaurants in the country in 2015.
Vaishali is a 15-minute drive from Conrad Pune (though it can take a lot longer in peak traffic); Savya Rasa is just a few blocks from the hotel in Koregaon Park, on a quiet residential lane behind a big Starbucks.
VAISHALI: 1218/1 Fergusson College Rd., Shivajinagar; +91-20-2553-1244; vaishalihotel.in
SAVYA RASA: Gera Serenity Building, CTS No. 15, Koregaon Park; +91-20-3049-1155; savyarasa.com