Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Dorabjee & Sons: Oldest Parsi restaurant in Pune

Before Ambedkar Bose and Nehru were born; when India was under the British rule, Sorabjee Dorabjee started the Dorabjee & Sons. The restaurant was established in the year 1878. Sorabjee Dorabjee started his journey with a small tea stall where he used to sell the Bun Maska and Irani Chai. Later, on the demand of the locals, he started selling full-time meals. The restaurant is located on the Dastur Meher Road near Sarbatwala Chowk in Camp, Pune.

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Today, the restaurant is owned by the fourth generation descendant, Mr Darius Marazban Dorabjee. Mr Darius has been a fine gentleman and a cheerful person. He is proud of his great grandfather’s legacy. Mr Darius expatiates his story and concludes by giving the assurance that the restaurant will never close. He says, “Dorabjee is one of the oldest restaurants in India. We have been serving here for the last 137 years and I assure you we are not going anywhere as long as I am here.” Mr Darius has been always busy because he does everything around the shop, even if it’s cooking or managing the restaurant. He just loves his job.

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Dorabjee & Sons are one of the oldest Parsi restaurants in India. The famous cuisines which every Punekar loves here are the famous Dhansak, Dum Biryani, Keema and Bheja. I had Keema Pav and the raspberry drink for the breakfast. The old Irani style Keema Pav was worth going all the way there and the raspberry drink was perfect with my Keema.

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The raspberry drink or raspberry soda as we call it, it is actually known as icily. You can find this drink in almost every Parsi Irani wedding. If you ever get a chance, try Keema Pav and raspberry soda at Dorabjee & Sons for breakfast and I also recommend you to try the famous Dhansak and Dum Biryani. A perfect home cooked meal is served at Dorabjee & Sons.

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Their menu includes all the pure and authentic Parsi food items. They still preserve their different menus from the bygone era, from the year 1940 – where currency exchanges were in the Annas  and not in Rupees.

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1940 menu

Taking a peek at their menu from 1950’s, I noticed the difference in currency exchange into Rupees and back then the Chicken Pulav only cost around a Rupee!

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1950 menu

They don’t have to put up expensive chairs or tables or they don’t even have to serve fancy-looking dishes for people to get attracted. People all around the shop goes there as they know that the restaurant has always been serving healthy, home-cooked food with 100% satisfaction of their money.

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Dorabjee and sons

If you want to have good Parsi Irani food, then the best place to have it in Pune is the Dorabjee & Sons. Now they have chairs and tables, but back in those days, they didn’t have chairs and the customers had to sit on the floor and eat. See this picture below of Balasaheb Thackrey having lunch at Dorabjee while sitting on the floor. Many notable celebrities have visited Dorabjee like Rani Mukherjee, Balasaheb Thackrey and many more.

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Balasaheb Thackrey

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If you want to know more about Dorabjee & Sons, you can visit the restaurant and they have all the information available in writing, which further tells the history and success story of Dorabjee & Sons. Mr Darius is a wonderful host and the food here surely gives you the satisfaction of home-food. Coming here at Dorabjee took me back to the memory lane, back to to the 1870’s. There are only few Irani cafes and restaurants that are left and we want these places to last for many more years. Having a breakfast at the restaurant which is 137 years old, meeting an owner who is an amazing host and a hard-working person and having some delicious food was surely a wonderful experience.