Areas to Live in Delhi
Central Delhi is the main hub of the city’s political and business activity. It’s more common to work here than to actually live here, although some expats do end up staying in the outskirts of this district, in “colonies” such as Jor Bagh and Jangpura. It’s an expensive part of town in which to live, but it’s very green and well-planned (much of it was redesigned by architect Edwin Lutyens during British rule). At the heart of Central Delhi is Connaught Place (CP), a popular shopping area with one of the largest metro stations in the city. However, many expats prefer shopping and relaxing at Khan Market, home to many restaurants, boutiques, and small grocers selling imported foods.
International Schools: Ecole Francaise
Supermarkets: Khan Market; Reliance Fresh
Restaurants: Khan Market has the best restaurants in central Delhi. Don’t miss Amici (Italian), Mamagato (Pan-Asian) and Cafe OZ (Australian/Pub Fare). Connaught Place has a few casual places to eat–check out Hotel Saravana Bhavan for authentic south Indian food.
Cinemas: PVR Rivoli; Odeon Cinema.
Sports Facilities: Delhi Golf Club; Zen Health Club.
Southwest Delhi is perhaps the most popular place for expats to live, partially because it’s home to the city’s embassy district: Chanakyapuri. Most of the international schools are here and there is a good range of housing types — from stand-alone houses to flats inside larger tenements. It’s also fairly green, and is home to Deer Park, a sprawling park with a small deer and peacock reserve, man-made lakes, and crumbling Moghul-era tombs. Unless you are in close-in areas such as Green Park or Hauz Khas, you may find transport options here a bit limited–there’s no metro link (yet) and autorickshaws are few and far between in outlying colonies such as Vasant Vihar. There are a few decent restaurants (below) and the closer you get into the centre, the more you will find.
International Schools: American Embassy School; The British School; The German School; Metro Delhi International School.
Supermarkets: Reliance Fresh; Sugar and Spice.
Restaurants: Hauz Khas Village and Green Park both have a good selection of restaurants. In Hauz Khas Village, don’t miss Gunpowder (home-style South Indian food) and TLR (Continental Food, but come here for the ambiance and the many opportunities to network with other expats). In Green Park, try Evergreen Sweets for high-quality Delhi chaat or Tamura for authentic Japanese food.
Cinemas: PVR Saket; PVR CitySelect; PVR Priya.
Sports Facilities: Ayurved Kendra; Saket Sports Complex; VLCC Healthcare.
Southeast Delhi is another popular area for expats, and areas such as Defence Colony, Greater Kailash, and Panscheel Park are particularly popular. The area is fairly green and there are many preschools and playgrounds here (although no international schools). It’s also great for shopping, and people from all over Delhi flock to Greater Kailash Part I’s M and N block markets to buy clothes, shoes, and home decor. Public transport here is decent and it’s well-connected by metro and autorickshaw. There are also a lot of places to eat out–Defence Colony market and New Friends Colony Market are particularly good options for dining.
International Schools: None
Supermarkets: INA Market; Morning Stores (Greater Kailash M Block Market); Nature’s Basket; Reliance Fresh
Restaurants: The best restaurants in this part of town are in New Friend’s Colony Market. Popular choices here include Ego Thai (Thai) and The Yum-Yum Tree (Japanese). Defence Colony Market is equally popular, and dining options include the famous Indian restaurant- Sagar Ratna, as well as the four restaurants in the Moets Complex (seafood, INdian, Italian, and Pan-Asian). There are also a number of good places to eat in Greater Kailash Part I, including Big Chill (Kailash Colony Market) and Cafe Oz (GK-1 M Block Market).
Cinemas: PVR Nehru Place; 3Cs (Lajpat Nagar).
Sports Facilities: Siri Fort Sports Complex, Ozone Gym, Sivananda Yoga.
Until about a decade or so ago, Gurgaon was nothing more than a small village and a lot of farmland. These days, it has become a sprawling centre of commerce, with shopping malls, high-rise apartments, and a lot of office buildings. Many expats stationed in Delhi end up working in Gurgaon, making it a much more convenient place to live then in Delhi-proper. It’s also well-connected to Delhi by metro or by road. You can get anything from a house to a high-rise flat here, and most accommodation is modern. However, water and electricity shortages are common, so make sure you check if your building has its own back-up supply of these essential utilities before signing a lease. Also, while the air is marginally cleaner here than it is in Delhi, the area is still very dusty. Also, most of the trees here are still quite small, considering the area only really started being built up in the 1990s.
International Schools: Pathways World School
Supermarkets: Spencer’s Hypermart; Needs.
Restaurants: The best restaurants here are located in –you guessed it– shopping malls. Many are simply food court-style eateries. Rajdhani in Metropolitain Mall has good Rajasthani fod. Dine-Esty is one of the Delhi area’s best places for Japanese food, and is popular with Japanese Expats.
Cinemas: PVR Mainstream, PVR Ambience; PVR Cinema Europa.
Sports Facilities: Lavanya Health Care Centre; Golfworx; O3 Gym.
Part of the reason that Noida is so popular is that it’s a lot less expensive to live here than in South Delhi, yet it’s still close enough to Delhi proper to make commuting relatively easy. Most expats choose to move here only if they work in Noida, and then for convenience sake. It’s a fairly industrial, bleak part of town, but it does have some very nice luxury apartments (as well as mediocre stand-alone houses). There are not high-quality international schools here, so if you have kids you may find it a bit far of a commute for them. There’s also not much in the way of nightlife, although it is home to Elevate, supposedly the largest nightclub in all of Asia!
International Schools: None
Supermarkets: Ebony; Reliance Fresh.
Restaurants: Fast-food is very popular in Noida, and expect to see American chains such as Pizza Hut, KFC, and McDonald’s–seemingly everywhere! However, there are a few quality restaurants, including Punjabi by Nature and the oddly-named Mediterranean lounge bar: My Way or the Highway.
Cinemas: Wave Cinema, AdLabs, PVR Spice.
Sports Facilities: Jaypee Greens Sports City; Ramagya Sports Academy.