6 Great Restaurant to Try in Kerala, India

You needn’t look far to find the sources of Kerala’s cuisine, only as far as those green fields and forests and the proximity of the ocean. Restaurant and teahouse tables are laden with fresh fish and vegetables, local teas, and rice grown nearby. To your health!

Near Muthoot Sky Chef, Enjakkal, 120, Palayam Airport Rd, Vallakkadavu, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695008, India
This upscale restaurant offers a glimpse into Kerala’s unique history along with its flavorful meals. Enter a stone archway to find yourself in a courtyard of a restored 18th-century mansion that was first built as a traditional, two-courtyard ettukettu house for the King’s consorts, then later embellished with European architectural flourishes. Choose a seat in the antique-furnished (and air-conditioned) interior, under one of the courtyard’s peaked stone-roof gazebos, or in the garden, surrounded by statues and fountains; all options take on a decidedly romantic feel at dinner when illuminated by candlelight. The menu includes both modern version of regional classics and dishes that highlight the flavors of areas once linked to Kerala by the Spice Route, including Morocco, Italy, and other parts of India. So you’ll find everything from Syrian sampler platters, crab curry, pasta, and fish sautéed with onions and black pepper, and desserts featuring caramel, chocolate, and local coffee—all presented with heritage style.
1st Floor Dhe Puttu Service Road Near Manikandan Skoda Showroom, Edappally, Kochi, Kerala 682024, India
Made of steamed ground rice layered with coconut, the tube-shaped puttu is eaten in parts of southern India and Sri Lanka, and is particularly popular in Kerala. This nice-casual, family-friendly restaurant, founded by a noted Malayalam movie actor, takes the traditional breakfast dish to the next level, offering an extensive menu of unique flavors and combinations. Try rolls topped with egg, mutton, or beef biriyani, oats, dates and cashews, and even chocolate and jam, along with house specials like Spanish (chicken with red and green olives) and Ringmaster (with three types of seafood); it’s best to get a few and share. A smattering of curries (including Kerala fish curry) are also available, but you’re really coming here for the puttu, washed down by the excellent cinnamon black tea. Note the wait for a table can be long during peak lunch and dinner hours, but take out is also available; there’s also a second location further north in Kerala, in Calicut.
Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002, India
As befits its location inside the Heritage Arts Museum, this restaurant is furnished completely in antiques, from the traditional snake boat lining the entrance hallway to the tables, chairs, pillars, door frames, and even parts of the ceiling—and much of it, both in the restaurant and showroom, is also for sale. This unique setting plus views of the scenic backwaters makes this a popular stop with expats and tourists, particularly those who’ve spent the day exploring the surrounding historic Jew Town. Revive yourself with dishes prepared in both Kerala– and general Indian-style. Almost everything on the menu—from the chicken and fresh prawns to the ice cream—features ginger in some form. Service can be slow, but at least there’s plenty to look at while you wait.
Ground Taj Malabar Resort & Spa, Malabar Road, Willingdon Island, Kochi, Kerala 682009, India
Designed to evoke a traditional Kerala kettuvalam rice boat, and boasting views of the backwaters and historic Mattancherry from its perch on Willington Island, this restaurant—considered one of the best in Kerala—celebrates all things born of the water. Try a fresh-off-the-boat catch from the backwaters, such as the local sweetwater fish, or go farther afield with lobster or mussels from the ocean, or even imported salmon and oysters. There are several international dishes, like Lobster Newburg or pan-seared Canadian scallops, but opt instead for the items prepared with local flavors: think tiger prawn tossed with shallots and curry leaves, crab-and-coconut soup, and white snapper coated with tamarind and pepper, then steamed in a banana leaf. You can watch the chefs craft it all through the show kitchen, and ask them to modify spices as needed—ensuring the preparation is as fresh as the ingredients. Save room for the tender coconut soufflé.
Kannur Road, Near, CH Over bridge, Kozhikode, Kerala 673001, India
First opened in 1939, this beloved local favorite is now being operated by the third generation of the founding family, who’ve also expanded the brand with an outpost Kochi and a couple in Dubai. The original Calicut location began with focus on the variety of Malabar coastal cuisines, including Moplah (the dishes of the Muslims of northern Kerala) and Thyyas, by the Ezhavas community in the southern part of the state. The menu now includes both vegetarian and non-veg dishes from all over India, including curries and breads made in the tandoor, but there are also a number of unique regional specialties. Check out the baby squid pan-seared Malabari-style, traditional moiley curry, and a selection of additive breads, including crispy, lentil-based appam and a perfectly flaky, buttery paratha.
Burger St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001, India
Rest your tired legs, read a book, engage in discussions with world travelers, sip your coffee or simply admire the art without anyone waiting for you to vacate the table. Kashi Art Café feels like an airy tropical garden that doubles as a hip and relaxed meeting place with an interesting gallery showcasing the works of talented artists. If you want to know what’s happening in Fort Cochin, chances are you’ll see all the information you need on posters in the café! As far as the food goes, breakfast is served through the day. If you’re hungry try a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soups for lunch, or snack on their freshly made cakes and pies with, of course, a cup of coffee or tea!
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks