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CityProfile: New Delhi

Dear Friends and Readers,

CityProfile started with fireworks as we brought to you Rio de Janeiro, so who am I to disappoint you with my sophomore post? The second guest contributor is the ultimate Indian woman, my friend Aaina Jain Setia.  I was lucky enough to be a part of her wonderful wedding to Gaurav Setia this past February and it has been one of the most breathtaking experiences in my life.  Yes Indians can definitely throw some great parties!  So Ladies & Gentlemen, this is Aaina’s New Delhi.

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How do you know Serena?

I have met Serena in 2007 through common friends. We share a passion for fashion, traveling and of course good food.

Why you are a specialist on Delhi?

I was born in Delhi and it’s my home.  I moved to the United States to study and work but my parents live in Delhi so I visit often.  My Country is a very important part of my life and I try to maintain the traditions I learned at home also while I am living in the United States with my husband.

Where should we stay in Delhi?

There are so many great hotels that I could point out! India is a very welcoming country hospitality Indian style is all about making the guests feel pampered.  For example there is a new boutique hotel in Delhi is called the Aman Hotel, an absolute check out! Or one of the oldest and most expensive hotels in Delhi is The Oberoi Hotel .  The Maurya Sheraton Hotel is the preferred destination for visitors and for the U.S. president. From Bill Clinton to President Obama, they have all stayed here, as the hotel is conveniently located in central Delhi and is close to restaurants, shopping, and parks.  The Hyatt Regency Hotel is also great for its location and close to many great bars. The hotel itself has great Chinese, Italian, and Japanese restaurants along with famous Polo Lounge, where you will see a lot of people stop by for drinks/coffee etc. The Health Club at Hyatt is a must check out! Finally there are two hotels owned by the Taj Group that are worth checking out: The Taj Palace and Taj Mansingh Hotel. The Taj Palace is located right in central Delhi (next to Maurya Sheraton hotel) and Taj Mansingh is closer to South Delhi, which is 25 mins away from central Delhi and has a great bar called Rick’s.

 

Where should we eat in Delhi?

Delhi is famous in the world for street food, but finding a place that you can trust is key to make your visit to Delhi an amazing gastronomical experience.  There is a very popular chain of restaurants called Haldiram’s with great street food and high standards of cleanliness. It is all over the city so you can always find an Haldiram’s restaurant near you. For more good quality Indian food on a budget, head to the Khan Market. I strongly suggest that you try the Khan ChaCha Kebob rolls as they are delicious and famous all over.

Delhi is also famous for fine dining and most upscale hotels have restaurants where the ambiance, décor and food make your experience unforgettable.  I love 360 restaurant in the Oberoi Hotel, they serve the best steak in Asia and great sushi.  If you are looking for a good steak or you have a sushi craving I strongly recommend you this restaurant.   If you are looking for fine dining Indian style with traditional and fusion dishes, I recommend a restaurant called Varq in the Taj Mansingh hotel.

Another great restaurant, where I celebrated my pre-wedding dinner bash for friends who flew down for the wedding was China Kitchen at the Hyatt, an all time favorite that has great Chinese authentic food. The exclusivity of the restaurant remains in the variety of food and meats they offer and specialized chefs from China who prepare the meals. Also in the Hyatt Hotel I love TK’S is another favorite at the Hyatt Hotel and has great Sunday champagne brunch and Teppanyaki food. Within the Maurya Sheraton Hotel you can eat at Bukhararestaurant, a traditional and well known Indian food with an outpost also in New York, in case you get some India food cravings when you come back.

Anything in particulat we should do while in  Delhi?

Delhi is a city full of history so I would recommend that you get a guide who speaks English to explain all the historical background of the city.  I organized a tour for the guests at my wedding in February and they had a blast.  You really need to see Old Delhi and in particular the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, India Gate, Lotus Temple and the ancient version of the Taj Mahal, Humayum’s Tomb. If you have some time you can easily plan a trip to Agre to see the Taj Mahal complex or to Rajastan. Either way you will be amazed with the beauty of the historical buildings and the exquisite artifacts you see all over the area.

Let’s talk about our favorite sport, shopping.What do you suggest we buy in Delhi?

Indian designers steal the show in India, you cannot leave Delhi without having an India makeover! :-) There are great designer for both modern fashion and traditional outfits.  For my wedding I gave my guests from the US and Europe two outfits by an emerging designer who is also a childhood friend, Sidharth Oberoi. He makes wonderful lehengas in bright colors and with skillful embroidery.  You can find more Indian Designer stores at the Emporio mallCrescent mall.  If buying a tradition outfit is not in the cards, I suggest that you at least check out the vast collection of bangles and fashion jewelry that in Delhi is really impressive.  Or you can get a pashmina if the weather drops and you did not bring a heavy sweater.  I really like Shaw Brothers, a very old but well stocked store where you can find a selection of pashminas like no other place in the world.