Best Places in Chennai : Raaghav’s picks

It would be a near-impossible task to zero-in on the best places in Chennai, a city that has stood tall for nearly four centuries. I’ll list down some of my favorite haunts around the city.


Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Karpagambal mess, the roadside shops during Navaratri season, the whole place

I guess you need to be a true-blue South Chennai-ite to understand what I’m talking about here in its entirety. Mylapore is a way of life, it’s a vibe. The sights, the sounds, the colors. Buying dolls for Navarathri from the platform shops, walking around and seeing the stalls during the Mylapore festival every January – these are annual rituals for my wife and I. Whenever we’re stressed all we need to do is drive around Mylapore for a few minutes.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, especially the area outside the Annamalayar Sannidhi is one place outside of my home that I find very conducive for meditation. After a long day’s shoot one of my favorite things to do is to drive outside the temple, switch off my car and just sit in my car for a few minutes staring at the magnificent temple gopuram way past midnight. Anbe Sivam!

Karpagambal mess, just opposite Kapaleeshwarar temple – a small quaint South Indian food joint - may look very modest from the outside, but they serve some amazing lip-smacking food. My favorites here are Adai Avial, Ghee Roast, Rava Dosai and please don’t miss the Keerai Vadai and Badam Halwa… Mmmmm… Been a while since I last went there… NEED… TO… MAKE A TRIP… ASAP!


Cream Center

Tasty food, nice classy ambiance, ideal for get-togethers with friends or family – need I say more? My favorites would be the Delhi Tawa Parathas, Enchilladas, Channa Battura, Sunset Drive and of course the Sizzling Brownie. I wouldn’t recommend this place for business lunches though. The crowds usually are very noisy and there’s a lot of banter going around which may make business conversations almost impossible.


Coffee World

If you’re looking for a place to have informal business chats, meetings somewhere in the Alwarpet, R.A.Puram area this should be your go to place. Most people in this area already know this as fact. Cold Coffees, Hot Chocolate, Green Tea – they have the usual stuff. These may not be the greatest array of choices, but when you’re planning on talking business, you’re not looking for something exotic, but something basic and satisfactory, and that’s what this place is all about.


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Satyam Cinemas

For those like me in Chennai for whom watching movies is like a religion, Satyam Cinemas would be one of the finest temples. The ambience, the sound, the entire movie watching experience is awesome. And let’s not forget the two-seater couches if you’re looking for some cozy time with your significant other.

ID – While “Idli-Dosa” or “ID” was started primarily as a food joint for movie aficionados visiting Satyam to grab a quick bite before or after their movies, it has grown to achieve a significant standing of its own. There are days when my wife and I would drive down to the Satyam complex, not to watch any movie, but just to have food at ID. Delicious food, very reasonably priced and everything cooked right in front of your eyes so you don’t have to worry about the hygiene. We love the Aappam with Vegetable Stew, Rava Idli, Buttermilk, Lassi and Masala Chai here.


Elliot’s Beach

One of the other things that Chennai is blessed with. A couple of good beaches. Marina and Elliot’s are both great beaches. Marina is good for a nice, long walk and Elliot’s is just a tad bit cooler to hang out at. Beachside kadalai (groundnuts), a nice array of shops, coffee shops or if you want to juice it up “Fruitshop on Gream’s Road at Besant Nagar” is just around the block.


Express Avenue Mall

Well, the best mall to go to in the city keeps changing. Currently, in terms of location it’s EA Mall and Citi Center for us. EA Mall has great shops, a great cini-plex (Satyam’s ESCAPE), a place for kids to hangout (FunCity) and a fairly decent food court. If I need to grab a bite, I’d probably go for a footlong veggie delite at Subway (No Cheese, No onions, No Mayo). The security personnel at EA Mall can be a little unfriendly at times, but overall it is a nice place to kill some time.

About Raaghav Ranganathan

Raaghav Ranganathan is an actor, director, writer, dancer, musician and entrepreneur who believes in Inspiring People through Entertainment.

  • Maheshwar Venkat

    Cream Center on top ! Would it be fair to assume that you’re a veggie ? 🙂

    • Raaghav Ranganathan

      Maheshwar: You would be right… I don’t even have onions and garlic - so I’m always lookin’ for the ‘jain’ option at restaurants 🙂

  • Srinivas Avrdy

    Awesome picks raaghav ji! Cream center is in my top list too! Will try out coffee world soon 🙂 what is so special about this place among its peers?

    • Raaghav Ranganathan

      Has Coffee World been acquired by some other company? Saw the board displaying a different name yesterday 🙁 Like I mentioned there, Coffee World for me was great because it has a very business-like setting. Great to catch up with people for a quick business meeting or discussion. It’s not too noisy (unlike Cream Center), they don’t mind you having a cup of coffee and staying for 3 to 4 hours

  • Swami Nathan

    Karpagambal mess is a personal favorite too ! lets go there soon 🙂

  • KP Karthik

    I know you got more places to share.. keep it coming Raghav.. Nice picks!!!

  • Aravind Gopalan

    nice picks 🙂 Mylapore and Marina are my favourites 🙂

  • Karthick

    Karpagambal mess!! Sounds something delicious. I am going to try it soon!!

  • Shyam Anandaraman

    @Raaghav — felt good that i have tried in every place in your list…except for the coffee world .. do they have free WIFI as well ?

  • anusha dixit

    Nice. There is plenty of churches, temples, museums, theme parks, historical sites, and a lot more in Chennai. Explore all places for shopping in Chennai at: