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Thursday, July 8, 2010

‘Asha Dining Hall’, Pune

For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Pune reviewed in this blog, you can click this link. 
Asha Dining Hall was established on August 15, 1949 by late Shri Rama Rao Kini, a man who strongly believed in the principles of vegetarianism. Shri Kini’s son and grandson have continued to run Asha Dining Hall with the same set of beliefs. You may miss Asha Dining Hall situated in a by-lane while traveling on Apte Road in the Deccan area of Pune; however, after you have found your way into the lane, you will not fail to notice the spick and span Dining Hall offering home cooked Maharashtrian food! And guess what, largely, the spread is vegan!

The food at Asha Dining Hall arrives on your table in a big plate or thali consisting of an Usal preparation (Maharashtrian dal-like dish made from beans such as Matki, Moong, or Waal), and at least three vegetable preparations amongst other things. The vegetables vary according to the season and availability. If you are lucky, you can get a taste of jackfruit curry and green mango curry as well! Since the Kinis are from North Karnataka, the thali also consists of a bowl of rasam that adds a tasty-tangy South flavor.

The food reminds you of a nice homely meal. And why not! Arun Kini, the grandson of Shri Rama Rao Kini explains, 
“At Asha Dining Hall, we use home ground masalas (spices) only. Someone from the family goes to the mandi (vegetable market) everyday to buy fresh vegetables. For our chapattis (Indian bread), we use whole wheat flour only and not maida or refined flour. We do not use soda in our cooking either.” 
It was interesting to learn that some restaurants use soda in their preparations – soda gives an illusion of 'fullness' in the stomach and one cannot eat much. Not so with Asha Dining Hall!

The thali with unlimited servings priced at Rs.70/- is wholesome and complete. If you avoid the curd and the sweets, you give yourself the gift of a nice home-cooked Maharashtrian-style vegan meal!

Asha Dining Hall has many regular patrons. We spotted people from all generations enjoying their thalis – a group of elderly people having a jovial get-together, young office goers having a relaxed lunch, and the middle aged as well.

Contact details:
Address: 122-4 Shivajinagar, Apte Road, Deccan Gymkhana, Pune – 411004
Telephone number: 020-25532424, 66027149
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner from 11:30am to 2:30pm and 7:00pm to 10:00pm, respectively

Cost factor: Rs.70/- for a thali (platter) with unlimited servings

Special notes: Asha Dining Hall is open all seven days in the week; the Dining Hall is closed only on August 15 (Independence Day) and May 1 (Labor Day).

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” ~Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father of the Non-violent Political Struggle in India~


  1. Thanks for the info. I shall visit it on my next visit to Pune.

    This reminds me of a Udupi Lunch Home on Mint Road,Fort. Since the beginning of this year, and in my endevour to pursue Veganism, I can't think of any other resto nearby Fort.

    It serves only Thali.A thali has 2 chapatis,2 katoris of rice,1 katori of legume based curry vegetable,1 katori of green leafy curry vegetable,1 katori of dry green vegetable. Sambhar,yellow daal and rasam is in unlimited servings. And a small glass of buttermilk which I return.

    The hotel exists since very long time and most of the patrons are regular visitors.All this for Rs.40/- (as of Jan 2012). The extras are: curd Rs.2/-,Sweet Rs.14/- and extra serving of any vegetable katori is Rs.4/-.

    There are many hotels (dining hall) in this area; however, after visiting many I came to settle for this as there are 2 green vegetables, the food is less oily,less spicy,hygienic and servings,in my case, are just enough for afternoon meal.

    1. @Prashant Koli: Thanks for sharing your experience. Could you please mention the city you have referred to. Mumbai? Got the chance to browse though your blog, Vegan My Style. Great effort at documenting your vegan experiment and a lovely name! Looking forward to hearing more from you!

    2. Thanks for your reply and efforts in having a peep at my vegan blog. My Vegan blog is not updated;I blog it for my own a that I come back on track of Veganism.Yes, I am from Mumbai.


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