The Best Restaurants In Kochi, Kerala

Greetings, fellow travelers and foodies! My recent solo journey to the city of Kochi (also spelled ‘Cochin’) in the Indian state of Kerala was one of my favorite trips of the year. Kochi is a city defined by beautiful beaches and a unique system of marshy canals and rivers known as the backwaters (which you can read about in my comprehensive guide to the city). But Kochi has one more thing going for it that can’t be overstated: its vibrant food scene.

In this post, I’ll share some of the best restaurants I found as well as other tips on how to make the most of Kochi as a culinary destination. Here are the topics I’ll be covering. Click any link below to skip directly to that section.

  1. Top Recommendations
    1. Oceanos Restaurant
    2. Fusion Bay
    3. Rasoi Fort Kochi
    4. Old Harbour Hotel Restaurant
  2. Branch Out
    1. Tibetan food
    2. Bakeries
    3. Ginger House Restaurant
    4. Biryani
  3. Coffee
    1. Kashi Art Cafe
    2. Pepper House
  4. Beer and Cocktails
    1. Kingfisher beer
    2. A note on cocktails
  5. Honorable Mentions
    1. Homemade meal on a river cruise
    2. Complimentary breakfast at my homestay

1. Top Recommendations

The following restaurants are perfect for a sit-down meal. All four are located in the waterfront historical area known as Fort Kochi, which is where visitors tend to stay.

Oceanos Restaurant

My homestay recommended this seafood restaurant specializing in local dishes, and it was pretty good. The menu is large, and ordering a dish sort of felt like a shot in the dark. Luckily, the spicy fish curry I got for my main course was as full of flavor as I hoped it would be. The only complaint I have about Oceanos was that the service was sort of slow.

Fusion Bay
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Fusion Bay is probably my favorite restaurant on the list. Not only was it casual, but the service was good and the dishes were stunning. It looked as if most meals came with the wide array of side dishes pictured below, spread beautifully on a banana leaf and served on a metal tray. They offer a ton of seafood and Keralan dishes, so if you want to experience local flavor, I highly recommend trying Fusion Bay.

Rasoi Fort Kochi

Conveniently located on Rose Street in Fort Kochi,  this restaurant specializes in North Indian food. Don’t let that stop you from checking it out for lunch or dinner one day. I ordered their chicken skewer platter and a serving of cheese and garlic naan, both of which were packed full of flavor and hot off the grill.

Old Harbour Hotel Restaurant

This is the fanciest (i.e., most expensive) restaurant on the list, but if you’re looking to splurge on some great food, look no further. I ordered a crab dish with two different sauces and rice on my final night in Kochi, and it was a great way to end the trip. Old Harbour is located here.

Be sure to leave room for dessert! I ordered ice cream with fruit and crumble. It sounds pretty standard, but the tartness of the fruit perfectly complemented the sweet vanilla. It was honestly one of the most memorable desserts I’ve had this year.

2. Branch Out

This section features some additional ideas, including snacks and more casual options.

Try a Tibetan Restaurant

I was surprised to see quite a few different Tibetan restaurants around town, so I was excited to try one. I went to Tibetan Chef’s Restaurant and ordered a plate of dumplings, which were simple yet delicious. If I had more time, I would’ve gladly tried one or two more places to get a better sense of what Tibetan cuisine is like. I recommend it, especially if you’ve never been to a Tibetan restaurant before.

Visit a Bakery

If you were unaware that India had amazing pastries, I’m here to tell you that they do and you need to try them! Bakeries are everywhere in Fort Kochi. I happened to get the bun and green cookie pictured below from Elite Bakery, but I visited a few more and they all seemed to have a wide selection of sweets.

Ginger House Restaurant

Located in Jew Town (a short tuk-tuk ride away from Fort Kochi), Ginger House was probably the most unique restaurant I found. The entire menu features ginger-inspired dishes and drinks. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered a ginger milkshake, but it ended up being really good!

Ginger House is also connected to a museum and a hotel, and the courtyard is stunning. Even the view of the river from the outdoor dining area is really nice.

Biryani

This common Indian dish is one that I’ve had many times at home, so when I saw Al-Falah Biryani Hut at the Kunnumpuram Junction, I couldn’t resist trying it. I would say it was more or less what I expected. Nonetheless, there’s something wholesome about rice with meat and a ton of fragrant spices.

3. Coffee

Can a blog called ‘Caffeinated Excursions’ even have a food post without at least a mention of the city’s most notable cafes? Two of my favorite coffee shops in Kochi are discussed below.

Kashi Art Cafe

As soon as I walked through the door, I knew that Kashi Art Cafe had all the makings of a top-notch establishment: a creative menu, an interesting concept, and a casual yet welcoming vibe. I liked it so much that I had to come back a second time. Their iced coffee with coconut milk and honey was a beverage I simply couldn’t pass up.

Take a moment or two to peek all the way into the back of the dining area even if you don’t sit there. I really liked the art they had on display there, as well as the beautiful courtyard in the middle with natural lighting.

Pepper House

What I loved most about this particular cafe was its beautiful open-air courtyard as well as the bookstore (or library?) on site. The drink I got was good, but it was especially nice as a place to just sit and relax for a bit.

4. Beer and Cocktails

While traveling, I am usually on the lookout for interesting places to grab a drink. Bars (and breweries, etc.) can reveal a lot about a city’s food scene overall. With that in mind, the main thing I noticed about Kochi is that they were few and far between. And that’s no coincidence: the sale of alcohol in Kerala was essentially banned until mid-2017, according to this and other sources online. Some restrictions are still in place, so the bar scene in Kochi is quite literally in its infancy. Here’s some more info.

Kingfisher beer

I recommend sticking to beer over mixed drinks in Kochi (I’ll explain why in a minute). And if you’re going to have beer, you might as well take advantage of a local brand: Kingfisher. It was very prominent on almost every drink menu I saw, and I tried a few of the many varieties available. If you order one, expect it to come in a big bottle (which fills roughly 2.5 glasses of beer).

A note on cocktails

I only had one or two cocktails in Kochi mainly because they were so expensive. With so few bars to choose from, I never found a place with really original or noteworthy mixed drinks.

5. Honorable Mentions

The last two items on my list aren’t really restaurants or cafes you can go to, but they were some of my favorite food-related memories of Kochi.

Homemade meal on a river cruise

A visit to Kochi isn’t complete without a Kerala Backwaters river cruise (learn more here). Although the boat ride was incredibly relaxing, another highlight of the day trip was the delicious lunch we were served.

We docked at what honestly looked like someone’s house right on the banks of the river. Then a couple of people came out and served everything pictured below: a vegetarian curry accompanied by a variety of pickled vegetables and a deliciously crispy biscuit (the name escapes me… if you know what it’s called, please leave a comment and tell me!).

It may not look like a huge meal, but they offered seconds (and thirds, and fourths…) of everything. Each serving was light and refreshing, but I left feeling quite full and satisfied.

Complimentary breakfast at my homestay

Last but definitely not least, another meal I’ll remember quite fondly in Kochi was the free breakfast that was served each morning at my homestay. I can’t speak for other homestays, but Coconut Grove Homestay provided a soup or curry as well as local pastries and juice every morning.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Fort Kochi, be sure to choose one with a complimentary breakfast! You won’t regret it.

To Wrap Up...

Did I get sick? And Other Final Reflections on Eating in Kochi

As a lifelong fan of Indian food, it was quite a treat to at long last taste some local flavors in India. I think the biggest takeaway from eating in India for a week is how diverse the options are. Keralan cuisine is not commonly found in the US, so it was especially interesting to try some local seafood and fish specialties with Portuguese and Dutch influences.

If you’re wondering if I ever got an upset stomach, the answer is no. I never specifically avoided anything in Kochi (for example, I never avoided ice). A few things to note: I think that I developed a strong stomach while traveling in China in 2010 and also during my first visit to Mexico in 2017. These days, I rarely experience symptoms of food poisoning, which I assume is a result of adventurous eating across six continents. I was also told by one friend that there’s a reason it’s called ‘Delhi belly’: namely that food-related illnesses among foreigners is especially common in that particular city. I can’t yet confirm or deny.

As you might guess, Kochi has even more to offer than its food and restaurant scene. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my complete guide to the city designed specifically for readers venturing to India for the first time. Kochi is the perfect destination, and I explain why in that separate post. Thanks for reading, and bon appetit if you’re reading from Kochi or headed there soon!

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. You didn’t mention Loafer’s corner, it is my favorite. I also love Kashi Art cafe but it is always crowded so I don’t go there anymore.

  2. This is such comprehensive list for every type of food lover while visiting fort kochi.I am yet to visit there but this looks so delicious..l dont forget to try particular Thali whenever i visit new state in india.

  3. As Mayuri said, it’s such a comprehensive food guide about Kochi. I have been there a few years back but haven’t tried all the things you have mentioned. May it’s time for another visit.

  4. Oh wow, such great places to eat in Kochi! All these places look good and I am going to keep these places in mind when I visit Kochi. I would love to have a homemade meal on a river cruise. Eating on a boat is a great experience. And I would visit the Pepper House as well just to have a look at the library!

  5. I like Indian food we also have Indian food in Phuket. I can see that bakery and sweet in indian also look great. I will keep fusion bay in mind when I visit this place

  6. Such a comprehensive list! And I would love to eat all these dishes through my screen if I could 🙂 I’m not s foodie at home but love trying the cuisines of every new city I visit!

  7. That is quite a detailed list of eateries/ restaurants in Kochi. I am surely going to check all of these and my favorite too will be the food served in the boat at backwaters, coffee houses, kingfisher beer and yes the bakery items. I think its fried Papad in your plate there.

  8. Great list!! I must have to admit that Kerela had a lot of places to eat at and there food was really great too. My favorite part of the entire trip to Kerela was the boat ride and dine. Kerela does have different looking food than the rest of Indian food I tasted and they tend to use tons of coconuts too but they were pretty great.

  9. I have only had Indian food in the United States and London and those restaurants never offer seafood. I would love to try the seafood restaurants!

  10. This is bringing back wonderful memories of the food I enjoyed in Kerala a few years ago. A did a little trip around the state and Kochi was definitely one of my favourite stops. I keep saying I need to go back so thanks for all the restaurant recommendations 🙂

  11. These restaurants all look so authentic and tasty! I like to see that there are options for vegetarians and vegans as well!

  12. We only had one day when we visited Kochi and we spent most of it running around to see different things. But as a sea port, we would have loved to stop and get some of the fresh seafood we saw. But we would have stayed away from the spicy curries. Ice cream with fruit and crumble would have been my choice for dessert too. Thanks for the list of coffee places. We would use this for sure if we re-visit Kochi.

  13. Not to self. Do not read articles like this whilst hungry! I really need to get to Kerala on my next trip to India. You’ve convinced me!

  14. This region of India has been high up my list for ages and is probably more appealing than Goa. However for food, the thing I really want to try is eating food off the leaves. Would love to try that. And the Ice cream with fruit and crumble looks yummy indeed.

  15. You got me with Tibetan Chef’s Restaurant and those dumplings! But I also want to go to Old Harbour Hotel Restaurant for its beautiful presentations. I am a huge foodie! Kashi Art Cafe also has beautiful presentations. Those are important to me if you couldn’t tell! 😉

  16. Food is always paramount when travelling, isn’t it? I’ll be very happy with a biryani, one of the best ways to cook rice and make it interesting… Thank you for a great post!

  17. Great selection of restaurant options, especially vegetarian options. I liked the Tibetan one you featured and those dumplings looked scrumptious! I also liked the presentation of the runner up restaurant, featuring the plating on a large palm leaf is unique and makes use of the local plant life.

  18. This is a great list and shows off all the options. I would totally want to check out the Ginger House as I love ginger! Loved the setting too, with the courtyard and museum. I’d be tempted to stay at the hotel too.

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