It’s that time of the year when Kolkata welcomes the rains like no other city does. Of course, there are traffic jams and slushy streets to deal with but the people of this city know how to enjoy the season. While chai and pakora sound like the unmatchable pair in the rest of the country, Kolkata has a special corner for hilsa (also called ilish) during lunch/dinner. For the uninitiated, it’s a popular fish and mostly available during the monsoon season. So loved is it that Bengalis, in fact, call hilsa “macher rani”, or queen of fish
Located in a heritage hotel in the bustling area of New Market, Aaheli serves authentic Bengali cuisine, with a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian preparations. The place has a history of celebrating the monsoons with the finest hilsa preparations.
Place: The Peerless Inn Hotel, 12, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Esplanade.
One of the well-known establishments in the city, Spice Kraft serves global cuisine. The chef is passionate about bringing new dishes to the table and is constantly innovating in his kitchen. Be prepared to greet hilsa in an innovative avatar here.
Place: 54/1/2A, Hazra Road, Ballygunge Phari, Near Hazra Law College, Ballygunge.
Best known for Bengali cuisine, their Ilish Festival was held earlier this month, but the fish is still on offer. The restaurant is situated in a place of historic significance — the old bungalow of a former Rai Bahadur has been transformed to serve traditional Bengali dishes.
Place: 6, Ballygunge Place, Ballygunge.
The menu is packed with some of the finest hilsa preparations you’ll experience in Kolkata, each one bursting with flavour. If you’ve got to try one dish in particular, go for the ilish bhapa (steamed hilsa). You won’t be disappointed!
Place: 4th Floor, Forum Mall, 10/3, Elgin Road, Elgin.