Six of the best restaurants in Rajasthan, India

RAAS DEVIGARH, DEWARA

It's hard to know where to settle in at sunset in this former maharaja's residence just outside Udaipur, with its spectacular views over town, countryside and purple Aravalli hills. You can have private candlelit dinners served in various turrets and terraces, but the main restaurant – an elegant pavilion clad in white marble – also has superb outlooks. The food is largely seasonal, since the hotel grows much of its own produce, and emphasises Rajasthani dishes such as chilli fritters, Jodhpur chicken and the fiery laal maas mutton curry. The friendly, international-standard service is well-nigh astonishing for India. See raasdevigarh.com

ROYAL REPAST, UDAIPUR

One of the dining rooms of Royal Repast at Bedla House in Udaipur

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A dining room at Royal Repast, Bedlar House in Udaipur.

You get an interesting dose of history along with great home cooking if you dine in this private residence of the aristocratic Bedlar family, one of whom was the last prime minister of independent Mewar state. His soft-spoken grandson Karan Bedlar is behind the restaurant, and engages guests with impressive stories of his family's history. Recipes have accumulated in the household for two centuries. The house specialty is goat, slow-cooked in an earthenware pot, but the curried cauliflower and banjara murg (chicken in white gravy with regional spices) are also scrumptious, and prices absurdly low. See royalrepast.com

BARADARI RESTAURANT, JODHPUR

RAAS Jodhpur in Jodhpur Johnston-sixbest-Rajasthani-restaurants-March-2018 tramay5-india

The Baradari restaurant in Jodhpur.

This restaurant could hardly have a more romantic location, set in an old haveli (ornate, stone-carved courtyard mansion) surrounded by ponds in Jodhpur's old town. The rooftop bar has particularly wonderful views to Jodhpur's looming fortress, beautifully illuminated at night. The restaurant serves a great range of Rajasthani food, including baingan ka salan (roasted eggplant cooked in peanut, yoghurt, tamarind and coconut curry) and ker sangria (desert shrub and berries in pickled spices), traditionally eaten with classic Punjabi corn-meal flatbread or pearl-millet roti. There's also a wide assortment of pan-Indian dishes, and an international selection. See raasjodhpur.com

VARI RESTAURANT, RANAKPUR

Terrace dining at Vari Restaurant near Ranakpur.

If you visit the superb Jain temple at Ranakpur on the way between Jodhpur and Udaipur, then this should be your top spot for lunch. Avoid the rather dreary "continental" buffet and order fresh Indian dishes from the kitchen, which are excellent. The thali (platter of assorted curries and accompaniments) and kebabs are good choices. This is a beautiful venue of contemporary glass and steel, set in lovely gardens that often host colourful, exuberant weddings. If you stay at the adjacent hotel, you can visit the local market with the chef, and follow up with a cooking class. See manahotels.in

THE GREEN HOUSE, PUSHKAR

Restaurant at The Green House in Pushkar 
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Restaurant at The Green House in Pushkar.

Set in the countryside beyond Pushkar's chaos, this resort is as luxury as you get in this rough-edged, hippy destination. Its tented restaurant, drably decorated in browns and dimly lit, won't win prizes for chic (eat outside in the gardens if weather permits) yet surprises with some of Rajasthan's best food, perhaps because nearly all the ingredients come from the resort's own greenhouses, which you're welcome to visit. Tuck into mildly spiced yoghurt dish kadhi or laal maas to knock your socks off, accompanied by as many delicious rounds of naan as you can fit in. See thegreenhouseresort.com

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SAMODE HAVELI, JAIPUR

A lounge at Samode Haveli in Jaipur
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A lounge at Samode Haveli in Jaipur.

Deep inside Jaipur's pink old town, this traditional, 300-year-old haveli-style mansion is set around a series of flower-filled courtyards that twinkle with lamplight at night. The palace's former dining hall is now the restaurant, graced with courtly murals and chandeliers, and exuding an air of stately colonial-era charm. You can have afternoon tea or a cocktail outside, then sashay inside for an especially good selection of fish dishes but also paneer curries, mustard potatoes, biryanis and eggplant masala. If you're feeling homesick, there's a good range of European soups, salads, pasta and international mains. See samode.com

Brian Johnston was a guest of Abercrombie & Kent.

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