Address: 37 Mahatma Gandhi Road
This polished restaurant in the Taj Coromandel is single-handedly trying to move Chennai's conservative eaters toward lusty Italian cuisine, starting with footwear: When making a reservation, diners are informed that sandals and shortsubiquitous in this steamy cityare not allowed. There are no pizzas on the menu; instead, you'll find homemade pastas and imported salami and cheeses, herbed lamb chops, and outrageously priced French foie gras ($80). Chef Giovanna Marson has worked in Japan and has a light touch, especially in vegetarian dishes such as a frothy duo of porcini and asparagus and a spicy layered aubergine. The wine cellar is one of the finest in India. Skip the tiramisu for the excellent pistachio soufflé or the chilled bitter chocolate mousse (entrées, $1580).