Which are the best places to dine out in India? Which are the cities and localities that would burn a smaller hole in your pockets?

To answer such questions, Mint examined data --- on ratings, cuisines, number of reviews, and prices --- across the six metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru using data from Zomato.com - a restaurant aggregator website. The top 1000 restaurants in each city based on number of reviews were considered for this analysis.

The analysis shows that the average cost of eating out (for two people) is the highest in Mumbai ( 1280) and Delhi ( 1220), followed by Bengaluru ( 1020). The cost of eating out is relatively lower on average in Hyderabad ( 760), Kolkata ( 800) and Chennai ( 860). These numbers are as of end-September.

In terms of cuisines, North Indian remains the single most popular cuisine across all cities, with a fifth or more of all restaurants in each of these cities offering North Indian food primarily. Mumbai and Kolkata have the highest number of restaurants that offer specialised international cuisines (276 and 261 restaurants) and Hyderabad offers the least (145).

The average restaurant rating for the most-reviewed 1000 restaurants varies from 3.9 to 4.1 across the six cities but the skewness of ratings differs across cities. At 17 percent, Bengaluru has the highest number of restaurants with extremely good reviews (a score of greater than 4.5 on a scale of 5). Kolkata has the least proportion of restaurants with extremely good reviews (5 percent).

Where are India’s best dine out-neighbourhoods?

If one looks at the total number of reviews of all the restaurants in the neighbourhood as a proxy for popularity, Connaught Place in Delhi is the most popular dine-out neighbourhood with over 250,000 reviews. Indiranagar (230,000) and Koramangala (160,000) in Bengaluru are the second and fourth most popular neighbourhoods. Mumbai’s Bandra West (178,000) and Andheri West (134,000) are the third and fifth most popular neighbourhoods to go out and eat, according to this metric.

Graphic: Sriharsha Devulapalli/Mint
Graphic: Sriharsha Devulapalli/Mint

The most expensive neighbourhood to eat out is Guindy in Chennai, with average cost for two people at 3,200 rupees. The neighbourhood is home to high-end hotels such as the ITC Grand Chola, which could be inflating the average cost figure. Delhi has the second and third most expensive neighbourhoods across these cities --- Aerocity ( 2,680) and Chanakyapuri ( 2,550). Kolkata’s Science City area ( 2,475) and Bandra Kurla Complex ( 2,150) in Mumbai are the fourth and fifth most expensive neighbourhoods to dine out.

Graphic: Sriharsha Devulapalli/Mint
Graphic: Sriharsha Devulapalli/Mint

Aerocity in Delhi has the highest rated restaurants on average (4.4 out of 5). Four of the five most highly rated neighbourhoods across cities are all in Bengaluru. Restaurants in UB City, Residency Road, Sarjapur Road, and Lavelle Road in Bengaluru score an average of 4.3 out of 5. Bengaluru also has 12 out of the top 20 neighbourhoods by rating, making it the city with the maximum number of highly rated neighbourhoods.

Where does one find the most variety in terms of cuisine? Indira Nagar in Bengaluru (35 varieties), Gachibowli in Hyderabad (31), and Nungambakkam in Chennai (30) offer the most choices of cuisine across city neighbourhoods, the analysis shows. The average neighbourhood across cities offers only 10 varieties.

In terms of reviewers who made the effort to rate a restaurant, Bawarchi, a biryani restaurant in Hyderabad, tops the list with 43,000 reviews since 2014. The next most popular restaurants are Byg Brewski Brewing Company and Toit in Bengaluru with 19,000 and 16,000 reviews respectively.

Overall, when it comes to eating out, Bengaluru fares better on most parameters compared to other cities. Maybe the start-up capital of the country is also the dine-out capital today.

This is the sixth of a ten-part data journalism series on life in Indian cities.

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