Foreign tourists tend to congregate at the pavement joints along the nearby Tower Road of Fort Cochin, drinking warm beer disguised in tea pots to circumvent local liquor licensing laws. As with everything in Fort Cochin, upmarket restaurants tend to be pricier, and more atmospheric, than in Ernakulam.
Behind the Chinese fishing nets are several fish mongers, from whom you can buy fish (or prawns, scampi, lobster), then take your selection to the nearby row of shacks where the folks there will cook it and serve it to you (cooking is an extra).
Friendly and knowledgeable owner Ramesh will hold your hand through his expansive North Indian menu, which even sports its own glossary and help you dive in to his delicious range of vegetarian, eggetarian and no vegetarian options. The setting is chic minimalist, with whitewashed walls and bench seating, helping you focus on the yummy dishes here.
Peter Celli St
This atmospheric place is the perfect venue for high tea with teas. Sandwiches and full meals served in chic, airy rooms. Witty tea-themed accents include loads of antique teapots, tea chests for tables and a gnarled, tea-tree based glass table. The cheesecake is divine.
Peter Celli St
With high ceilings, whirring fans, and white walls adorned with striking paintings, Shala is owned by the same management as Kashi Art Cafe, and serves well-presented meals that include a vegetable side dish and rice, such as coconut fish curry or vegetable of the day, all made by local women.
This arty and funky care serves up organic breakfasts and lunches, with dishes such as fruit with wild honey and drinks such as cinnamon coffee, in a lime-bright, book-lined and friendly setting.
The waterside restaurant at the Fort House Hotel is a prime choice for a leisurely lunch (mosquitoes may join you for dinner), particularly specialising in fish, with dishes such as fish wrapped in banana leaf or spicy peppered fish, set in a serenely spacious covered area in the garden.
This modern dining room above the hotel of the same name might not be much to look at, but it is all about the food here. Chef Dipu once trained with a Frenchman and whips up delicious local Kerala dishes alongside French imports like Poisson de la Provencale (fish fried in oil and herbs, Provence-style). The Kerala dry-fried coconut prawns, made to a loving mother's recipe, are scrumptious.
Kashi Art Cafe
An institution in Fort Cochin, this place has a hip-but-casual vibe and solid wood tables that spread out into a semi-courtyard space. The coffee is as strong as it should be and the daily Western breakfast and lunch specials are excellent. A small gallery shows off local artists.
In the gracious hall of Koder House, now a heritage hotel, with tall wooden ceilings and chessboard black-and-white tiled flooring, with whirring fans. It serves wine and beer, and tasty Kerala dishes, if tweaked for tourist tastes.
Parade Ground Rd
Set in an open-sided pavilion, the restaurant at Malabar House is movie star cool, with white-table clothed tables in a courtyard close to the small pool. There's a seafood-based, European-style menu and Grover's Estate wine (quaffable Indian) is served. The signature dish is the impressive seafood platter with grilled vegetables. Upstairs, the bar serves upmarket snacks such as tapioca-and-cumin fritters in funkily clashing surroundings.
Old Harbour Hotel
Certainly one of Cochin's most enchanting settings for an evening meal, in the poolside candlelit garden of the Old Harbour Hotel, serenaded by traditional musicians. The food is bland but acceptable, but it gets a thumbs up for ambience and you can order wine and beer.
This slightly dingy bar-restaurant, with whirring fans and big windows, is a hugely popular place to settle down for a cold Kingfisher, with reasonable prices, palatable snacks and meals such as beef deep fry.
Peter Celli St
With a menu focused on Keralite specialties, lovely staff that are passionate about their food and an ambient dining room, this place is a great for trying out authentic local dishes.
Good value, pleasant veranda for drinks and dining overlooking harbour.
Mattancherry and Jew Town
This place is legendary among locals for its chicken and mutton biryanis-get here early or you'll miss out. It is better known by the chefs name, Kayikka's.
With cooks trained by a travelling French man, this is an enchanting, bright blue, antique-filled space with funky music and a changing daily menu of North Indian. South Indian and French dishes.
Walk through the massive antique-filled godown and you'll find the attached restaurant, with a fantastic setting right on the water front, where you can relax on mismatched chairs (straight from the shop) and feast on Indian dishes and snacks.
Thali 7am- 9.30pm
A simple, basic, but tasty thali.
Cafe Jew Town
A Swiss-owned care, this chi-chi little place running alongside an upmarket antique shop has a few tables and proffers good cakes, snacks and coffee.
This is the restaurant at the Grand Hotel and is as retro-stylish as the hotel itself. It serves a tome of a menu that covers dishes from the West, North India, South India and most of the rest of the Asian continent. The meen pollichathu (fish cooked in banana leaves) gets the thumbs up.
Coffee shop for snacks, good value buffet breakfast.
Durbar Hall Rd
North Indian meals upstairs.
Rooftop setting with good fish and Chinese dishes.
Frys village Restaurant
This brightly decorated place with an arched ceiling is a great family restaurant with authentic Kerala food, especially seafood like pollichathu or crab roast. Fish/Veg thalis (and much more) are available for lunch.
A popular pure- veg hotel restaurant, this is a smart place to dig into tasty thalis. It is rammed for breakfast and lunch. The hotel also has a busy, breezy coffee shop serving dosas and the like.
Andhra Meals11.30am-3.30pm and 7-ll3Opm
A dark, buzzing 1st-floor place, serving spicy Andhra cuisine on banana leaves. Try a thali, for all-you-can-eat joy.
Bimbis South Star
This upmarket version of the Bimbis chain of restaurants is in a moodily lit space that's plushed out in nice chairs and dark-wood tables. The bulky menu has North and South Indian victuals, as well as a massive choice of Chinese dishes.
Indian Coffee House
Cannon Shed Rd
Also has branches on Jos Junction and MG Rd near Padma Junction.
Very good vegetarian thalis and Indian specialities in clean surroundings.
Good variety of decent Chinese meals. Alcohol available.
Great Keralite meals.
Canon Shed Rd
Good snacks, fruit juices
For ice creams and shakes.
Good cafe-style meals.
For a hip coffee hit. Cold coffees, appam, dosa, popular, poky a/c coffee bar with just 6 tables.
Good pizzas and snacks (savoury and sweet).
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