Avartana: The Best Restaurant in Chennai?

Avartana: The Best Restaurant in Chennai?


I had the privilege of being one of the first to try Avartana in its first week of opening. The concept is South Indian fine dining served European style, taking inspiration from the cooking and presentation techniques more commonly found in London or New York. It’s definitely an interesting way to introduce South Indian cuisine to the many expats that pass through the city and hotel, as well as showcase European cooking to the locals.


Avartana featured


Located inside the luxurious ITC Grand Chola Hotel, Executive Chef Ajit Bangera spent more than two years preparing the concept. He is supported by Harish Rao, who frequented our table to personally explain the food and their story.


Avartana fish

“Fish in Chips”

Having already eaten at the ITC Grand Chola’s nine other restaurants, first impressions of Avartana put it in a class of its own. The lighting and decor set an atmosphere of elegance and opulence, fitting for a place that aims to be the best restaurant in Chennai.


Avartana decor


Choose from four different vegetarian and non-vegetarian set menus, starting with their six-course Maya to their twelve course Tara. I chose the Bela menu and particularly enjoyed watching the hesitation among my Greek friends when eating the lamb brain fritters. Other stand-out dishes are the spicy pork dumplings, pan-fried cod, succulent lamb masala chops and sal leaf-wrapped chicken rice with aubergine pachadi.


Avartana Menus


The way Chef Ajit experiments with Southern Indian flavours is indeed unique. For example, tomato rasam, a typical South Indian soup, is poured from a hot teapot into a coffee filter, where it infuses with fresh herbs before it is poured into a martini glass for sipping.


Avartana rasam


Or the sago and yoghurt, which comes with a poppadom on top and sauce inside a test tube. Crunch the poppadom inside the pot and pour over the chili sauce to eat.


Avartana curd rice

Sago and Yoghurt


But is it the best restaurant in Chennai? That’s the question I asked myself towards the end of the meal. The concept is definitely original, the food well executed, but it was more presentation over substance. In my opinion, it is only second best. For me, the top spot goes to Peshawri, also inside the ITC. Less frills, and much more flavour.


Avartana lamb brain

Lamb Brain Fritter

Avartana fried chicken

Stir Fried Chicken

Avartana cod

Pan Fried Cod

Avartana chops

Coconut Masala Chops

Avartana Sorbet

Carrot Ice Cream, Black Rice Pudding

Avartana betel

Betel Leaf




  1. 18 January 2018 / 3:13 pm

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    • 18 January 2018 / 5:22 pm

      Thank you! There are a lot of great resources online to help get you started. Paying or not depends on your financial position, whether it’s an investment or outlay you’d be prepared to make. There are a lot of great free options to get you started, where you can always transition to a paid site at a later date. Hope that helps and best of luck!

  2. Jane
    20 April 2017 / 10:39 pm

    Contemporary South Indian cuisine sounds delicious, would be very interested to try!

  3. Maren Sviland
    20 April 2017 / 6:34 pm

    WOW !!! What interesting and amazing photos. Food looks really good.

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