At first glance, Bangalore appears to be a city of glitzy malls and commercial complexes. Explore its diverse culinary options, though, and you’ll discover a very different side to the metropolis. Big on history and character, Bangalore’s traditional eateries have been serving up authentic South Indian fare for decades. These four popular spots offer the perfect introduction to the city’s local cuisine.
Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR)
Established in 1924, MTR was one of the first restaurants to put Bangalore on the food map. It is said to have invented the rava idli (semolina cake) during World War II, when rice was scarce, and the dish has since gained popularity across India. Try it with some upma (spiced, dry porridge made from roasted semolina) and traditional filter coffee. The black-and-white photos on the walls and traditional silver tumblers on the tables all add to the heritage experience.
Lalbagh Main Rd; Mavalli Tiffin Rooms website
New Krishna Bhavan
This is one of the few places in the city to serve delicacies native to other areas of Karnataka state. Its house specialties include kotte kadubu (savoury cake steamed in a banana leaf) and jowar dosa (crepe made from fermented sorghum batter). Once you’re satiated, take a stroll through the nearby Malleshwaram Market, where you can purchase flowers, vegetables, clothes, handicrafts and even more local food.
Sampige Rd, opp Mantri Square Mall, Malleshwaram
Many locals in Bangalore hail from the Kundapura district in southern Karnataka; indeed, Hotel Janardhan was set up by a Kundapura native four decades ago. While the hotel’s utilitarian décor may pale in comparison to the surrounding buildings, the real standout here is the food. Its old-school restaurant is legendary for its masala dosa (savoury crepe filled with spicy potatoes) and badam halwa (a dessert made with almonds and flour).
6-1, near Race Course Rd, Highgrounds, Kumarakrupa Rd
True to its name (which translates to “food street” in the local language of Kannada), this narrow street is packed with food stalls and carts selling a range of local delights. Start with bajji (fritters) at the Bajji Shop, before moving on to masala dosa at Vasavi Mane Tindi. Finish your meal with some holige (sweet flatbread made with flour, semolina, chickpeas and jaggery) at Idli Mane. The stalls operate every day, from around 6:30pm to 11pm.
Off Sajjan Rao Circle, VV Puram
This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine.