Tantos Pizzeria, Auroville, Pondicherry

A pizza is supposed to be a complete meal. Just because it was not invented here, does not make it junk food per se, but it has been made junk by most pizza chains - unhealthy bread, lots of poor quality cheese, very little vegetables and minuscule quantities of meat! Recently, though, pizzas are having a makeover in Chennai and are getting, even though slightly, healthier. But unfortunately, the best pizza I have had near Chennai is about 150 km away - at Tantos Pondicherry.

The setting is very simple, the menu is very simple and the emphasis is more on the 'Today's Menu' and not the 'Carte', and food is served in not so good looking silver ware. But the food did all the talking. They had only a chicken and cheese pizza and the waiter suggested that we choose a good veg pizza and add grilled chicken to it and that is precisely what we did - a pizza with olives, mushroom, zucchini and tomato, priced at Rs 250 for 9" and added grilled chicken at Rs 110 for a total of Rs 360 for a 9" pizza. Just look at the photo and you will realize how much of meat and olives were there! And that made that pizza a super tasty, super filling and super healthy!

I also ordered Gambas (tiger prawns, yes, what did you expect me to order in Pondy?), and we were served 7 large prawns, lightly grilled in lemon butter sauce and served with a house salad and french fries. All 7 were gone in no time! And a chocolate mousse to die for - it was simply amazing. The only let down was the caramel custard and the turn off was the unbelievable number of flies, but the food was so good that these small things were forgotten and the memory of lunch will linger on for a long long time to come.

Tantos has opened a branch on ECR, but skip that and take the road that leads to Auroville and after the Auroville main road turns right and winds left, you will see Tantos on the right. The friendly owner (I think, it was the owner) keeps roaming around and enquiring if everything is ok and even takes away the plates if you're done and the flies start buzzing around). They don't accept credit cards (yet).

If you're going to Pondy, do yourself a favour and try out this place!