Anyone who has ever stayed in Pune must have visited Hotel Vaishali on FC Road at least once. The restaurant is so famous that it has become a landmark. If you have visited, you know that you will have to wait for sometime before you get a place to sit as it is always jam packed. This makes one wonder whether the restaurant is really that good or just hyped.
There are varying views regarding this, some may agree that the food is really good while others may deny. More than the food what is so special about this place is that you get a sense of culture when you visit. During day time it resembles a college canteen as students have made it their ‘adda’ or meeting place. In the evening it is a little more relaxed, you can see the old-timers sitting outside and drinking tea and having conversations. These are the regulars, they are there everyday. The restaurant has been around for more than six decades. People relate to this restaurant. They have fond memories of this place, maybe from childhood or college or later in life. Rather than being a hot spot for the tourists, it is more so for the Punekars.
Apart from this Vaishali does have some iconic dishes:
The Onion Uttappa
Mysore Masala Dosa
Students from Pune who later travel to different places all over the world still visit this restaurant overtime they are in Pune. Customers have their favorite waiters and waiters have their favorites too! Some people have recounted their experiences on Quora:
“There was an old waiter there who always used to take my order first. We used to chat for few minutes every time. It is these little personal touches that set’s Vaishali apart.”
“Over the past several years I am living in different parts of India. During each of my Pune trip, either for work or for leisure, a visit to Vaishali is must!”
“I’ll tell you something interesting – there was an old waiter at Vaishali who used to serve my Mother when she was a student at Fergusson College. 30 years later this same waiter also served me when I was a student at Fergusson.”
Vaishali was initially started as the Madras Health Home in 1951 by Mr. Jagannath Shetty. It was later renamed Vaishali. Mr. Reddy also owns the Roopali and Amrapali restaurants situated nearby.
The point is that Vaishali has been around for a long time and always served quality food. It’s become a kind of cultural landmark that people across generations are familiar with and will always be.