Legendary Hotels in Chennai Everyone Must Visit

For those that don’t know, Chennai was once known as Madras and thanks to the growing automobile industry in the city, it is now also known as the “Detroit of South Asia”. But none of these things is what makes it a heaven for food lovers. To most outside of the city (or even the state of Tamil Nadu), Chennai has always been known as a ‘vegetarians paradise’. With a large number of Tamil Brahmins living in the city, it is only fair that most of the restaurants and hotels of old serve purely vegetarian food. In the last few years, the number of non-vegetarians has increased, but Chennai stays true to her heritage and continues to grow with vegetarian food that is easily accessible to everyone. Also famous in Chennai? Idli-sambar – also known as a South Indian breakfast. The food is healthy, delicious and affordable for anyone at any level.

Chennai is also the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre in South India, which means that obviously times have changed and there has been a lot more injected into the veins of the city, but somethings just don’t really change. When occupied by the British, very many hotels and restaurants were built and then transformed over the years, but some of them have still stayed the same without name changes, stayed within the family and grown into landmarks in the city. 

Here are a few legendary places you need to visit to get the best of Chennai vegetarian food. If we’re missing your favourite place, let us know in the comments!

Ratna Cafe


In 1948, Mr. TrilokNath Gupta founded and established the Ratna Cafe, or as it also known Triplicane Ratna Cafe as the one destination for you to get great South Indian food. In a news segment on CNBC, it was even said, “if South India invented the idli-sambar one could say that Ratna Cafe popularized it.” That’s what Mr. Gupta from Mathura did for the people of Chennai by starting this restaurant and then building a chain of restaurants with the same name. If you’re looking for great idli-sambar at great prices, there is nowhere else you need to go.


Hotel Palmgrove


Everything about this hotel screams 70s, but that’s what makes it so great. Established in 1973, Hotel Palmgrove is one of the most popular vegetarian hotels in the city. In a time when luxury wasn’t available to everyone, Palmgrove provided and showed people how to enjoy themselves. Menaka, their all day restaurant is what has also continued to keep the hotel popular. Famous for their vegetarian thalis, this restaurant has changed it up just a little over the years, but they have stuck to what’s good and what makes the people happy.


Hotel Ashoka


This hotel has gone through renovations over the years, but set in the heart of the city, Hotel Ashoka is a landmark location with service that has changed, but still stayed the same over the years. While still maintaining their old world charm, Ashoka has revamped and added a lot of the newer features like wi-fi and airport pick ups and drops. But what they still do really well are the thali meals at Abhinandan. Pick any day of the week to immerse yourself in a delicious vegetarian thali and tell us we’re wrong.


New Woodlands Hotel


Mr.Krishna Rao introduced Chennai to the New Woodlands Hotel in 1938, making it one of the oldest hotels in the city. Like Ashoka, Woodlands has gone through upgrades to keep up with the changing times, but the essence of the hotel still remains the same and you know that when you’re here, you are in for a trip down memory lane. You’re going there for their thalis? Vrindavan is where you need to sit yourself down and forget about the world outside.


Have we missed your favourite legendary hotel in Chennai, let us know in the comments!


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