The rains are here and the queen of fish has swimmed its way into the menus at Bengali cuisine restaurants in the city. The fish-loving Bengali cannot have enough of ilish and restaurants have on offer elaborate Hilsa Festivals to satiate them. My Kolkata brings to you a list of popular Bengali-food restaurants in Kolkata that bring the hilsa, in all its glory, to your plate this season.
Note: It is recommended to check with the restaurants for changes in dates and availability of dishes.
Oh! Calcutta has 22 kinds of hilsa dishes
How many kinds of ilish preparations can you name? If you stop at six or seven, then Oh! Calcutta is, err, fishing for compliments with 22 kinds of hilsa dishes. Well, that’s impressive! Besides traditional dishes like Ilish Bhapa and Ilish Machher Paturi, the Hilsa Festival at Oh! Calcutta has some contemporary takes like Hilsa Croquette, Sea Salt Baked Hilsa and more. “Our Ilish Utsav is on till August 15 and our restaurants will serve authentic hilsa dishes,” said Debashish Ghosh, general manager, Speciality Restaurants.
Available till: August 15
Recommended: Aam Diye Ilish, Ilish Fish Finger, Kumro Pata Aam Aacharer Ilish, Begun Kalo Jeere diye Jhol, Sea Salt Baked Ilish
Price range: Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500
6 Ballygunge Place
When it comes to relishing Bengali cuisine, 6 Ballygunge Place has always topped the list for foodies from and outside Kolkata. The restaurant chain is back with its annual hilsa festival, titled Ilish Pokkho, where you can savour the boneless Bhapa Ilish, solving the dilemma for those who dislike picking a bone, literally. Other dishes like Ilish Beguner Jhal (hilsa with eggplant) and Ilish Bhapa are also available, offering an opportunity to dive straight into the true flavours of Bengal.
Available till: The festival will launch soon
Recommended: Boneless Bhapa Ilish, Kumror Doga Diye Achari Ilish
Price range: Rs 685 to Rs 1,450
Location: All outlets. Dine-in, takeaway and home delivery through food delivery apps are available
Dhumro Gondhi Ilish and Kumro Patay Ilish Bhapa
Starting from August 7, Aaheli at The Peerless Inn will offer around 18 hilsa dishes till the season lasts. Known for its traditional and authentic flavours, Aaheli has items like Badshahi Ilish, Ilish Macher Muitha, Shorshe Doba Ilish, Dhumro Gondhi Ilish and more. “Aaheli holds the distinction of being the oldest Bengali cuisine restaurant in town. Our ‘Ilish Festival’ is a marquee event for us, marking 30 years of culinary celebrations. Our chefs have crafted a wonderful menu and we are sure that our guests will enjoy it,” said Tapas De, general manager, The Peerless Inn, Kolkata.
Available till: Till the Hilsa season lasts
Recommended: Dhumro Gondhi Ilish, Ilish Machher Tok, Kumro Patay Ilish Bhapa, Ilish Thali
Price range: Rs 445 to Rs 3,995
Location: The Peerless Inn, New Market area. Call 7066643322 for reservations
Enjoy a magnificent view of the Ganga while savouring an array of delectable hilsa dishes at Polo Floatel’s ongoing ‘Ilish Parbon’ festival. Feast on the season’s best catch in traditional favourites like Shorshe Bata Ilish, Ilish Machher Matha Diye Kanta Chochchori, Tel Jhol Ilish, alongside new and innovative dishes like BBQ Smoked Ilish with herbed rice, and Pan-fried Ilish. The festival runs throughout August, offering a memorable culinary experience by the riverside.
Available till: August 31
Recommended: Floatel-Style Ilish Biryani, Smoked Ilish, BBQ Ilish
Price range: Rs 499 to Rs 2,499
Location: Strand Road, BBD Bagh. Dine-in is recommended. For home delivery, contact 9681267634
Ilish Malai Bhapa
The early bird catches the fish! The Ilish Festival at Kasturi kickstarted in July and has been extended well into August. “Originally scheduled to conclude on July 31, we were overwhelmed by the high demand from our customers so we extended it for another 15 to 20 days,” said Bishal Saha, director, Kasturi Restaurant Pvt Ltd. There are 14 dishes on the menu, including Ilish Machher Matha Diye Chhyachra, Ilish Dhakai Dum Handi Pulao and Nawabganjer Ilish Korma, which became quite popular amongst the customers. “Our commitment to using fresh hilsa, weighing over 1.2kg, ensures a good experience with every dish,” added Saha.
Available till: August 20
Recommended: Ilish Dhakai Dum Handi Pulao, Nawabganj-er Ilish Korma and Ilish Malai Bhapa
Price range: Rs 150 to Rs 1,100
Location: Across all outlets. Dine-in and home delivery through food delivery apps available
Ilish is available at Bhojohori Manna throughout the year
Ilish is available at all 11 outlets of Bhojohori Manna around the year. However, the finest catch of the season is served from “mid-June to October”, according to Rajeev Neogy, one of the five restaurant partners. The Bengali homestyle-cuisine at Bhojohori Manna includes a variety of hilsa dishes from Barishali Ilish to Ilish Bhapa. Barishali Ilish is an all-time speciality of Bhojohori Manna. The jumbo piece of fish is served in a light gravy of cumin seeds, mustard paste and green chillies. Another highlight is the six sizes of fish ranging from ‘large’ to ‘mega super jumbo’!
Available till: Throughout the year Recommended: Barishali Ilish, Ilish Machher Matha Diye Kochu Shak
Price range: Rs 200 to Rs 690
Location: Across all outlets. Dine-in and home delivery through apps are available.
Koshe Kosha’s ‘Chinglish Festival’ is serving up the best of both prawn and hilsa delicacies. Don’t miss their star dish, the Ilish Biryani — a perfect blend of aromatic rice with hilsa cooked in rich, flavourful spices. Popular in Bangladesh, this fish dish has swum its way into the Koshe Kosha menu. Enjoy a variety of other dishes, including Ilish Bhapa, Ilish Paturi, Kalo Jeere, Begun Diye Ilisher Jhol (hilsa in light gravy cooked with kalonji and eggplant) and the simple Hilsa Fry.
Available till: August 31
Recommended: Ilish Biryani, Ilish o Manghser Khichudi, Ilish Cutlet
Price range: Rs 675 to Rs 875
Location: Across all outlets. Both dine-in and home delivery options available
Tero Parbon’s ‘Ilish Festival’ is something you wouldn’t want to miss as they are offering an extensive menu of 25 hilsa items! At the family-style restaurant on Purna Das Road, indulge in a range of main course and starters that will satiate your Ilish cravings this season. Begin with their Ilish Machher Bora, followed by the tempting Narkel Bhapa Ilish Pulao. Experience twists on traditional favourites like Ilish Do Pyaza, Aachari Ilish, Ilish Machher kofta and Ilish Malai Curry. Not to mention, they also offer boneless ilish options for a hassle-free dining experience.
Available till: Till the hilsa season lasts
Recommended: Ilish Machher Bora, Ilish Machher Muitha, Ilish Khichudi
Price range: Rs 270 to Rs 870
Location: Purna Das Road, Gariahat. Dine-in or order from food delivery apps