I had earlier advocated New Delhi's Bukhara as one of the best restaurants in India. On this visit, I had a chance to eat there, and other places. Here is my short list.
1) Punjabi by Nature - this is a set of 2 restaurants. We had lunch at the NOIDA branch. Possibly the best Mughlai meal we had in India.
2) Bukhara - this is the setting in the Maurya Sheraton. When I pressed my 2 sets of hosts, both of them scratched their heads and said that this would be the top restaurant in Delhi. The food was not bad, but it did not have the wow factor. Punjabi by Nature is equally good, and slightly less expensive. Service was attentive, and some dishes were unusual (the double cooked leg of lamb). The Sheraton group has tried to capitalize on its fame by opening branches of this at other cities in its hotel chain, as well as brand extension to the Peshawri chain, which has identical menu board and all.
1) We stayed and ate at the Mughal Sheraton. Food was quite poor - we had their non-veg Thali, but it took 50 minutes from ordering to receiving the food, and the items were of poor quality. Breakfast next morning was also somewhat poor.
1) We stayed at the Rajputana Sheraton, and celebrated the New Year's Eve party there. The banquet was sumptious (5 types of different kababs all being freshly cooked; possibly 20 stations serving 4 different cuisine), the live DJ was pumping out ear blasting music, and the Jaipur hoi-polloi was there to shake their booty till exhaustion did them apart. Breakfast at the Jal Mahal was decent.
2) One night we ate at the ethnic Rajasthani fair called Chokhi Dhani. Rustic food, but quite tasty, if a bit spicy. Not much foreigners here.
1) We stayed and ate at the Taj Hari Mahal. This was the best hotel, with the best food. Chinese dinner at their "Good Earth" restaurant was quite good by Indian Chinese standards (specially their soup), and breakfast next morning at Marwar was the best of all breakfasts.
1) We stayed at the Trident Hilton (worst service and room) and only ate breakfast there - easily the worst of the lot.
2) The first night we ate at the Ambraia terrace restaurant overlooking the now dry Lake Pichola bed. Candle light and fire braziers (called angithi) added to the mood, and the food was quite good, even if it took somewhat long to appear. Attentive service.
3) The second night we ate at Fateh Prakash Lake Hotel's terrace restaurant on the other side of the lake. Poor service, we were seated in the extreme cold, they did not have extra patio heaters, even if they were charging the same for where we were seated (we made the mistake of not making advance reservations). Food was quite good, but the cold made for a poor experience.
We stayed at the Cama Rajputana Palace, and ate lunch, dinner, and breakfast there. We were told this was one of the better places in town, but it was just passable. Considering it is a hill station, can not complain.
Here we stayed with relatives, and ate 2 meals outside - dinner at the Gymkhana Club (members only) - meal was so so; and second night dinner at Pakhwan (one of the 2 Gujarati Thali places - the other being Atithi which had just stopped serving food when we reached, somewhat late - 10pm - by Ahmedabad standards). The Gujarati thali is quite an experience, a must for a visit to that part of India.