There is a famous restaurant on an old Pune-Mumbai Highway called Toni Daa Dhaba. We heard a lot about it and have always wanted to try. The place is always crowded, on weekend especially, you have to wait in line for your table.
Before I go any further, I should tell some of you what does a “Dhaba” mean. Dhaba is a kind of roadside restaurant, usually situated on highways. It is known to serve inexpensive, rustic, intense flavor food, a preferable stop by truck drivers in India.
Our Experience at Toni Daa Dhaba
We arrived at Toni Daa Dhaba late in the afternoon when we were on our way back to Pune in our rainy motorbike ride to Korigad Fort. This place was very easy to notice. You would find many billboards suggesting you to visit this restaurant.
We had to wait quite a bit to get a table. The place is always very busy and noisy. I don’t mind it though. I think it has that famous streetfood joint vibe which really attractive to me. While we were waiting, we checked out an ostriches and emus farm right next to the restaurant. The kids love them, but I don’t know you should put an open cage of smelly birds right next to the restaurant.
We got our table about 15 minutes later. An interior of this restaurant is very interesting. There are traditional cots to sit, giving that old traditional Dhaba feeling to it. The place looked clean and comfortable. When we got to the menu though, it seemed a little bit odd. Toni Daa Dhaba is definitely not one of those local old Dhabas you are expected. The price is quite heavy, and I doubt any truck driver would prefer to stop here.
I was also a little upset that there was no Thali (an India food meal combo) on the menu. I mean it’s a Dhaba, it’s suppose to have a Thali.
Anyway, we ordered some Chicken Tandoori (Grilled marinated spiced chicken), naans (Indian flatbread), Butter Chicken and chicken Biryani (aromatic spicy chicken with rice).
The service was quite slow, but we didn’t really care because I had a good time there. We sat there, talking about our trip and taking pictures while waiting for our meal.
The tandoori chicken was hot and succulent. It’s one of the best chicken tandoori I had ever tried. The portion was massive. I loved the yogurt flavored cabbage salad that was served along with it. It tastes kind of like coleslaw but lighter and more flavorful.
Naans at Toni Daa Dhaba was amazing too. They were super soft. A generous amount of butter and a nutty sesame seeds make them out of this world delicious.
Butter chicken was perfect. In fact, it’s the best butter chicken I has ever had yet. It wasn’t spicy, but creamy, sweet and sinful. The chicken was tender and perfect. Yaseen don’t usually like spicy Indian curry, but he devoured Naans and butter chicken like there was no tomorrow.
We had to take away chicken biryani because we were stuffed and couldn’t eat further. It was insane how delicious everything was. (The next day, when we reheated chicken Biryani and tried at home, it wasn’t good though. I doubted it was because it got old or it was just not done right.)
We also had some hot tea and coffee to wrap it all up. The food was fantastic. The bill came out at Rs. 1,600. It was definitely not a Dhaba price, but I think it worth the food.
Our rating for Toni Daa Dhaba
See you at the next Dhaba…