Ignore the seedy neighborhood and dour look of the lodge where this upstairs eatery, Venus Inn (217 Bapuji Nagar; tel. 0674/253-1908), is and you'll find a good location for a quick South Indian dosa. Soft Hindi music fills the neat, clean interior as you dine on butter paper masala dosa (crepe-thin filled pancake), the onion rawa masala dosa, a dosa stuffed full of potato, or an uttapam (thicker pancake) with coconut. For the best chicken in town, Cook's Kitchen (260 Bapuji Nagar; [tel 0674/253-0025) is the place to be -- chicken tikka butter masala is for those who can handle their spices. Order an Orissan thali at Swosti Plaza's Chandan (tel. 0674/230-1936 through -1939; www.swostiplaza.com), where waiters can talk you through the evening's selection while old Hindi film music provides prerecorded entertainment. The menu changes daily, but a typical selection might include fragrant dry Oriya mutton (mangsha kasha); Rohu fish (beware of the fine bones) cooked in a mustard sauce (sorisa machha); traditionally prepared mixed vegetables (santula); and soft paneer (Indian cheese) cooked under charcoal and then caramelized (chhena poda) -- all served with breads and condiments on a brass platter.

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