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Elliot’s beach is named after Edward Elliot, once upon a time governor of Madras. But that’s more like the official name, the locals refer to it as Besant Nagar Beach or more fondly simply as “Bessie”. Agreed, it not as popular as Marina beach when it comes to promoting Chennai tourism, but it’s definitely the place to be. It’s a whole other side of the city – funky, contemporary, chilled out chic with an almost Bohemian vibe. You’ll meet every kind of person here.

It’s a pretty good place to explore food; since every kind of person is here, you’ll also find every kind of food. Not so much fine dining as easy, comforting and unpretentious food that is affordable; so you can hop into a new place every other day. Eating out in Chennai is a fairly simple affair; it’s as much about the ambience as the food especially by the beachfront.

For the most authentic South Indian breakfast this side of town, walk into Murugan Idly Shop (kadai) for steaming hot, soft idlis, crispy ghee roast, spicy masala dosai, and a about a hundred (slightly exaggerated number)other varieties of idlis and dosais. Add to that a perfectly seasoned sambhar, a array of delicious chutneys, gun powder and a strong ‘tumbler’ of filter coffee to kickstart your day. Or head upto Mash for a continental breakfast with sizzling sausages, hash browns, eggs made to order and hot chocolate. Mash definitely has the best view of Bessie and is perfect for a late, lazy, weekend morning (Breakfast is all day). We’ll head back here for dinner too.

Lunch has to be the best thalappakatti biryani and chettinad style chicken sukka, tawa fish, karandi egg, mutton pepper fry….sigh! If you’re vegetarian, don’t bother; actually I’ve heard the vegetarian’s pretty good too but back to Dindigul Roast Chicken, Chicken Milagu Chukka, Chicken Varuval Kulambu. (Drool, Drool) I would suggest a slightly early or slightly late lunch as the place gets really crowded between 1 and 3. And I would go for slightly early, some of the more popular dishes might not be available later on!

As the sun sets, you’ll the beach swelling with vendors and push carts and urchins. Take a stroll, wet your feet, go to the most crowded of the stall and munch on masala peanuts and freshly fried molaga bhajjis. For burgers, sandwiches and hotdogs, Pupil is one of the best in Madras. Not too fancy, chilled out place with seating outside. The juiciest beef patties with extras of bacon and cheese, slathered with mayo with a side of crispy seasones fries. Go there for the burgers, a smaller one of you’re just snaking or a double tiered loaded hamburger if you’re having dinner.

For a classy dinner, head to Mash for some good steak and pasta. I would definitely recommend the steak, and they have some good starters too. They also serve sandwiches and burgers, slightly more pricey but not really expensive. Their desserts are questionable, their pastry chef can be a little moody. The drinks are definitely fun!

Bessie beach is definitely one of the funnest places to visit in Chennai.

As the newest member of the content team, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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