If you want an authentic gelato in Chennai, it has to be Les Amis. There’s an ingredient-driven savoury menu too.
If you’d asked me to recommend the best spot for gelatos in Chennai in 2020, I would have struggled to pick even one gelateria. That was before Les Amis debuted. It began as a lockdown project of sorts; a tiny home gelateria in the residential neighbourhood of Anna Nagar. Praveen Rajagopal had just returned from Europe with an idea and had learned a valuable lesson in Milan that continues to shape the Les Amis philosophy — ingredients are the key to a good gelato.
Les Amis is a product of an Instagram generation. Praveen and his partner Abhinav Dega took their customers along even as they made a small beginning. Their Insta followers watched them source fresh ingredients of the season and then watched these ingredients play out in Les Amis’ signature gelatos. Through much of 2020 Les Amis was a cloud outlet, that changed soon as their gelatos took the city by storm.
Les Amis moved from a home delivery outlet to a 7000 sq ft dining destination on Chamiers Road, close to the city’s premier Boat Club neighbourhood. Spread over three levels, it has quickly become one of Chennai’s premier after-meal, dessert destinations. It’s more than just gelatos though. Les Amis drafted Cheruba Nelson as Head Chef, Pastry and Confectionery. She brings a wealth of experience in desserts and bakery products. The ‘no-compromise’ policy on ingredients now cuts across all their offerings. Level one is the busiest; this is where customers pick from a wide choice of gelatos — their flavour bank has more than 400 gelatos with a slant on fresh and seasonal ingredients. There’s even a Tirupati ladoo gelato on their long list.
From Korean expats to college students hyper active on Instagram, Les Amis’ diverse customer profile doesn’t just keep coming back for their gelatos. Level 2 combines a coffee corner with a patisserie that dishes out freshly baked savouries and desserts. The Focaccia, the European-style Babka and the Chicken Bechamel Puff are among their bestsellers. You can smell the coffee and butter in the air. The open kitchen adds to the immersive experience. Customers can watch gelatos being crafted through the day and also get behind the counter to make their own chocobars with sprinkles on top.
The atmospheric rooftop functions as a dinner space. Praveen likes to call it an open sky sartorial terrace with a Scandinavian theme. Diners can pre-book ‘The Whole Shebang”, a seven-course European-inspired menu with one of the city’s best cheese platters. But ultimately Les Amis is a dessertarian’s paradise and one of India’s finest destinations for Italian-style gelatos.
Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)
Drinks (where applicable): 8
One dish we loved: The musk melon sorbet
One dish that didn’t work for us: Salted caramel gelato
Les Amis is at 83 Chamiers Road, Chennai 18 / Instagram / Phone: +91 98405 53635 / Open from 10.30 am to midnight / Meal for two: Rs 1,500.