Howler, thanks loads for the tip you gave me on Pune. You'll be happy to know that I did manage to drag my traveling companion with me to get Maharashtrian thali at Shabree (this is the first place you mentioned, spelled a bit differently, but it's definitely the one).
The place is on the ground floor of the Hotel Parichay, 1199/1A Fergusson College Road. The entrance is on a cross street just off FC Road, across from the botanical garden. For the thalis, stay on the ground floor and don't go up to the restaurant upstairs (called Sharvari I think).
No English spoken, but you don't need it. All the tables are pre-set with your stainless steel thali plate with the little dishes on it, and as soon as you sit down, out comes the parade of guys ladling out dish after dish of food. Since I had never had Maharashtrian food before and there's no menu, a VERY rough guide to what we ate is as follows:
- black-eyed peas, in a thin sauce and served hot
- chopped okra, mostly dry with spices and served room temperature (YUM)
- something like gobi ke sabzi (cauliflower) but more coconutty (DOUBLE YUM)
- a real mystery food, bright yellow gloppy paste that was completely unidentifiable although I kept getting the feeling that it tasted like something familiar
- sambar (rasam?)
- something that seemed to be raita with tomatoes, but it was sweet instead of salty
- rotis w/ghee
- whole wheat chapatis
- curd (plain yogurt)
- mango flavor pudding
- a Maharashtrian dessert that was basically a jaggery-filled chapati with syrup poured over it, served with a dish of hot milk
So, so tasty. I ate so much I almost had to push my auto taxi up the hill to my hotel.
Thanks again to howler for this tip! I'll try to reciprocate if it's at all possible!