Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
The ancient sister science of yoga, Ayurveda is a comprehensive approach to dining that features six types of tastes; bitter, pungent, salty, sweet, sour and astringent. Canadian-Indian chef Nira Kehar has taken this millennia-old practice and turned it into 99 delicious recipes for her recently released-book OJAS featuring dishes such as coconut green soup or rice pilaf with lamb and beet ragu. Kehar is constantly traveling and has created a book that merges her lifelong study of Ayurveda with a modern, cosmopolitan lifestyle to enhance wellbeing. Over the years she’s also dined at some of the best places in the world, so we were curious about her favorite places to eat. Here are the five places she recommends.
1. Copenhagen – Restaurant: Schønnemann, Dish: Pickled Herring
The first time I visited Copenhagen my husband took me to a really traditional restaurant close to where his family lives. Lots of Danish people go there even if it’s a tourist attraction — even the chef from Noma has a favorite dish there. If it’s good enough for Danish people, it’s clearly so good. They do the classics so well! My favorite dish is the herring — they’ll serve you a small, medium or embarrassingly large portion because they really like to drink and it goes well with that.
2. Montreal – Restaurant: Lafleur, Dish: Poutine
Montreal seriously has some of the best food because it’s such a good mix of food from all over the world but with its own personality. I’m embarrassed to say this but it’s a comfort thing — I love a good poutine. It literally pulls the heartstrings of any Montrealer. I don’t care who you are but once you have a bite of that squeaky cheese, gravy and chip, you’re home.
3. Delhi – Karim’s, Dish: Sheermal
India, especially the north of India, has a really mixed food culture based on the Mugwai that came from the Middle East. There is a place in Old Delhi called Karim’s where they have a dish called sheermal roti. It’s in the oldest part of Delhi and hundreds of years old located right by the oldest mosque in the Red Fort. To find it you have to go in through multiple roads however, it’s not that hard to find because everyone knows where it is. It’s so famous. You you can watch them make the rotis in these huge tandoors. The men are slapping them in there, then you go inside to the restaurant and eat the sheermal. It ends up being like a sweet and salty flaky, dense roti with the most melt in your mouth insane kebab of your life. If you to Delhi and don’t go there you’re really the biggest idiot.
4. Paris – La Buvette, Dish: Ricotta + Honey
This one is a wine and food experience. I find that the more you’re around food or any creative endeavor, you always come back full circle back to simplicity. For me food is really in the ingredients and in the knowledge of the person feeding you. Those energies bring about the most amazing overall experience. There’s a woman named Camille in Paris who has a little wine bar that literally has three tables and could probably fit ten people max. The place is called La Buvette and she has the most amazing little dishes. She doesn’t even have fire she makes them behind the bar and has no other employees. She used to work at La Chateaubriand and Le Dauphin and then branched off into this little bar. The wine she has there is amazing, she has her own brand called La Buvette á Paulette and they made it just for her. It’s an exquisite wine. She also does this thing with ricotta that this supplier in Italy only makes for her and she uses her own special honey on top. You can sit down with her and she’ll chat with you — you could be there for hours and hours.
5. New York – Café Mogador, Dish: Eggs and Buttered Bread
I have very mixed feelings about New York. I love it and of course it has the most amazing food but it’s almost like there’s so much pressure for food to be good. Sometimes I don’t even know what to choose. One of my favorite things is so simple — going to Café Mogador and having the breakfast with the eggs and buttered bread. It’s been there for like 19 years and being able to people watch and have a delicious coffee is the best. That whole experience is probably one of my favorite things about New York.