No ceiling to good dining: restaurateurs, diners in Delhi rejoice


Tired of dining indoors because your fave restaurant can’t accommodate a table for you under the sky? Worry not, for this will change as nearly 200 eateries across the Capital have been granted licenses for open-air dining. The move by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has left restaurant owners and foodies excited for the endless possibilities of winter dining.

Foodies lick their lips at the thought

The news is a win-win for foodies such as Shivendu Mittal. “As a consumer, I’m really excited to use this opportunity to enjoy my favourite eateries and the approaching winters at the same time,” says Mittal, who is part of the Gurgaon Foodie group that has members from across NCR.

In talks with NDMC, too

“This order is for entire Delhi; except for the area covered under New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). But the NDMC has also called for a meeting with NRAI on Thursday, which means they are open towards this,” says Rahul Singh, CEO and founder of The Beer Cafe, and trustee of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI). Singh adds, “Some restaurants were anyway serving in the open, so why not let it be legit though a license! We want this to be legitimised so that no one is hassled. For now, the license has come for 200 (restaurants), and another 800 to 1,000 will apply soon. I’m applying for all the outlets I have, where there is an open area. Yes, there are issues of AQI, but that’s a temporary blip. When it’s summer, we’re all in air conditioned environment the whole day. So who wouldn’t like a little bit of air?”

Need to be in the open after working indoors all day

Also opposing the idea of diners seated in closed environs during meal time is Umang Tiwari, owner of Local, Junkyard, and Liv Bar. He says, “It’s a very progressive move as the rest of the world allows outdoor sitting too. Most working people stay inside closed walls the whole day. So when they want to unwind, they like to be in the open.

Purifiers to tackle air pollution woes

Addressing the concern of poor air during al-fresco dining, Sahil Sambhi, co-founder, Molecule says, “We have started installing air purifiers and mist fans to keep a check on pollution.” Naresh Madan, co-founder, Imperfecto, chimes in, “We take precautions for hygiene at open terrace with continuous cleaning, and install air purifiers etc.

Adding to this, Vikrant Batra, founder, Cafe Delhi Heights feels that as a measure to counter the pollution that has become a part and parcel of every Delhiites’ life, restaurants can make the “surroundings green with the air purifying plants”. In addition, Naresh Madan, co-founder, Imperfecto, says, “We take precautions for hygenie at open terrace with continuous cleaning, and install air purifiers etc. The open dining adds to the charm and experience that is vastly cherished by people so we are thankful for being allowed officially to serve our guests in open areas.”

High decibel to be next issue?

“The hospitality industry was hit badly during the pandemic, and this move will give a good boost to the nightlife scene in the city. However, restaurants will now need to take care of by loud music or live kitchens,” opines Prabhjot Singh, founder of Delhi-based foodie group, Foodkars.

Adding to this, another foodie Renu Dheer, a member of Delhi Food Freak, says: “The consumer should have a choice between dine-in and open air. Quite often the young crowd wants to enjoy the ambience and good food, and probably senior citizens wouldn’t like sitting out all the time because of various reasons. But this is a great initiative as the hospitality sector had taken a big hit during Covid-19. I’m sure there will now be new restaurants that would love to explore this concept further and make up for all that they have lost.”

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