Hotel Samco

This hotel is the lifeline to a lot of people who work late in the city. You could see the occasional film producers / assistant directors discussing scripts. You could see auto rickshaw drivers quietly talking to their parottas. You could see people like me digging into some fish fry. And more people having the trademark tea. But whatever it is Samco is a good 30+ years old. Or rather more. Specialises in non-vegetarian food. Good Food. Open till very late in the night and is one that attracts a wide wide spectrum of people. Located in the prime Alwarpet signal junction right next to Rajkamal Studios. Infact, it used to be on the plot of land where the Lifestyle / Home Centre is now. Their trademark in the afternoon’s is their Biriyanis. The Hyderabadi Biriyani, the Malabar Biriyani, the Chettinad Biriyani and the Kalyana Biriyani. Now, what is the Kalyana Biriyani? Apparently, all marriage chefs in the state of Tamilnadu used to dish out this version. Legend has it has it has everything of a Biriyani, but not actually one. A pseudo Biriyani. Which is quick and easy to make.

But, what you must try at Samco is their Malabar Biriyani. What more can you ask from a restaurant which is run by the Malayalees of North Kerala. Can anyone make it better. If you happen to go there during dinner time, it is parottas (not parathas) and Egg Masala you must ask for. If you are a fish-eater a Vanjaram (Sear Fish) is highly recommended. And if you want me to do a comparison with the Ponnusami’s and Anjappar’s of the world, I am sorry I refuse to as they aren’t Chettinad. A fair comparison would be Select in Luz corner or Safari at the Royapettah Bata Junction.

Now the ratings; Ambience – 5/10. Quality of Food – 7/10. Service – 6/10. If you are a non-veg buff please check out the place.

8 Comments so far

  1. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 12:26 am

    I’ve walked past the place so many times and never thought to go in.

    Now I’m planning to leave the area, and you tell me there’s a really good non-veg restaurant!

    Hey Ho! Still going to be here long enought to give it a try or two. Thanks!

  2. Senthilvel (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    you’ve got to check out Hotel Crescent in Nungambakkam.This one too is a restaurant which is run by the Malayalees of Kerala. Their Malabar biriyani is good, but the Prawn biriyani is great !!! Great combos available too ! The Anjappars and Ponnusamys will remain what they are, pseudo chettinaads!

  3. Sasiprabha (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

    Hai… Ur blog shows how much u attached with chennai.. Here i invite you to help me in listing what are all Chennai needs to transform herself into Singaara Chennai.. Soon we are going to have a bloggers meet at Chennai.. Shall i expect you.. The date, time and venue will be announced later.. If you are willing to participate, please send me a mail and confirm.

  4. david (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

    We used to have the Samco biriyani when I worked in Mudra some years ago. Its a good, no nonsense eatery with good food. Try their aapams and chicken curry as well. Great stuff.

  5. Nishanth (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 12:57 am

    Their aapam,kurumas and curries are a must try if someone is visiting this place.

    Kamal Hassan used to frequent this hotel often during his early days in the film industry.He once mentioned that it was one of his favorite places in Chennai.

    He also mentioned about Samco in a chat session –


    Navmani: Hi Kamal, I heard you are big fan of Hotel Samco, I’m a regular there, and only then did I come to know of it. Great food!

    Kamal Haasan: Navmani: Samco has shifted locations but I haven’t shifted my allegiance to Samco. Samco is RajKamal Films International, my neighbour now

    Full transcript –

  6. nandhu (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 1:11 am

    i like the meals here best. meals and fish curry + fish fry is def worth a try.

  7. renuka (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

    I would like to know what star catagory hotel is this? and how many rooms are there? and type of rooms?

  8. suppamani (unregistered) on August 29th, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

    When the prohibition was first scrapped bythe GREAT Kalaignar in Tamilnadu the wine shops were only sold the liquor and not allowed to take the same there; it too only in sealed bottles and not in measures.. Then nearby petty shops find it as a good busines to sell the beverages at a higher prices and permitted to drink the liquor there in fron of their shops in the strets itself.Then the police create probels and sealed such pettty shops. At this stage Hotel SAMCO like hotels find it is profitable by providing small cabins to sit maximum four persons in the name “family rooms” and allowed them to take drinks along with foodies and billed a bit more than the usual rate.When they found this is lucrative they provided rooms at their first and second floors on day’s and hours rate basis to take drinks and to play cards. This is the story of the growth of the SAMCO TEA shop to SAMCO HOTEL.seeing this so many other nonvegetarian hotels like Crescent, Beach Boohari were also stared to provide “many family rooms” in their restaurants not realy for familys but in the name of family rooms to use by one or maximum 4 to take drinks.

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