The Italian Restaurant
Chef Ritu Dalmia’s Italian restaurant, DIVA, is elegant, warm and welcoming with an indoor, terrace and outdoor seating by the pool. The restaurant uses authentic ingredients, often flown in directly from Italy and offers an extensive collection of wines.
There’s nothing in her lineage to explain why Ritu Dalmia is the brilliant chef and restaurateur that she is. And yet, there she stands, in her mid-40s, as one of India’s most celebrated chefs, co-owner of seven restaurants in India, a catering division worldwide and a restaurant in Italy, with another one on the way.
The story might well have gone some other way. Born in then-Calcutta to a Marwari business family, Dalmia joined the family stone business when she was just 16. Her work kept taking her to Italy, where she developed a liking for the local cuisine and learnt how to cook it proficiently. In 1993, at age 21, she set up Mezza Luna, an Italian restaurant, in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village. The food was excellent, Mezza Luna’s fortunes weren’t. An undeterred Dalmia moved to London, where she opened Vama, an Indian fine dining restaurant. The restaurant was a big success and won rave reviews.
But Delhi beckoned, and in 2000, she came home to open her first DIVA. The fine dining restaurant was an immediate hit with food that Delhi had never encountered and a Wine Cellar that had no parallel. Dalmia never looked back, going on to open one winning restaurant after another and managing a staff of 200. With Cittamani, her new eatery in Milan, Dalmia has come full circle. She started her restaurateur life trying to introduce India to genuine Italian food; now she’s getting Italians to taste and enjoy the flavours of the Indian subcontinent.
Dalmia’s entrepreneurial spirit and contribution to the hospitality industry has been recognized by many institutions, including Forbes which put her on its W Power Trailblazers List in March 2017 and the Indian Federation for Culinary Association, which in 2016 recognized her as one of India’s 25 biggest Chefs. In September 2017, she was awarded the Ordine della Stella d’Italia, the highest civilian honour of Italy. Dalmia has hosted Italian Khana and Travelling DIVA on NDTV Good Times and authored three cookbooks, Italian Khaana, Travelling DIVA and DIVA Green: A Vegetarian Cookbook.
DIVA has an outdoor pizzeria with a wood-fired oven. From handmade dough to handpicked herbs, every ingredient is chosen by the chef herself, making every dish special. The menu changes seasonally, as it does in Italy. For a truly authentic and unforgettable dining experience, come to DIVA!