If somebody ever tells you that Bangalore is not impressive in terms of food, do not believe them. I had heard that from a few people before visiting this city and set my expectations accordingly. Instead, when I started researching the local food scene myself I was pleasantly surprised.
After following recommendations from the locals for dosas, biryanis and other things delicious or simply wandering along the streets of the city and stumbling across places not mentioned in any guidebooks I made a list of the best Bangalore food places that deserve to be pinned on every foodie’s map.
You might hear different stories where to find the best dosa in Bangalore. If you have time you might do what I did: go and try a few places just to compare them and see for yourself, otherwise save your time and head straight to Shri Sagar. Most likely you’ll find this place packed during evening hours, but don’t get turned away. As soon as you score a seat at a tiny shared table (although it might take a bit of a wait), receive your butter masala dosa and sink your teeth into it, you will realise why you are here. With crunchy outer shell and a soft inner layer it is a perfection of a creation and not many dosas out there can really compare to it. A couple of different coconut chutneys served to it are also lip smacking good.
This legendary place better known as MTR among the locals has been operating since 1924. Popular Southern Indian dishes such as Idlis, Dosas, Kesari Bath and the like are served throughout the week, but if you visit it on the weekend, you can have a lavish Thali lunch, consisting of no less than 14 components. Waiters are regularly cruising around and topping up everybody’s plates with different dishes, so you really have to keep up the eating pace in order to make room on your plate for other things to come. Kosambri (raw carrot and daal salad), Palya (cabbage stir fry), Puri bread with Sambar, Payasam (sweet milky porridge made of rice and broken wheat), Bisibelebath (spicy lentil and rice stew), Obbattu (sweet flatbread stuffed with coconut) are the dishes you can expect just to name a few. Sweet Beeda – betel leave parcel with rose jam and spices – a popular digestive to chew on in India – is served at the end of the lunch for a reason. Make sure you come here really hungry as this food feast will leave satiated even big eaters.
If you tried Vadas made as dry deep fried patties elsewhere and they didn’t grow on you, come to Brahmins Cafe to give them another chance. You might get surprised about the texture and taste of those soft doughnut-like snacks here. Vadas are served in a pond of coconut-coriander chutney and if you run out of it, chutney walla (master) sitting with two pots of this goodness in the corner will happily top it up. There is no seating in the cafe, so take your plate, blend into the crowd outside and munch your Vada while standing. Finish off with a glass of sweet milky coffee that is known as one of the best coffees in town.
Located in a small back street of Richmond town this small establishment lives up to the name ‘Food Paradise’. Don’t think too much and order beef biryani – their signature dish known among local biryani aficionados. Prepared in Hyderabadi style, when meat and rice are cooked separately and combined only at the last stage of cooking, it is full of flavours and aromas of spices – cinnamon, cardamom and cloves among others. Biryani is served with a mild Baingan ka Salan – tomato based eggplant curry and onions marinated in chilly and coriander raita. Don’t be shy and ask for the top up of the condiments if you run out of them as they add an extra layer of flavour to this dish. Even though Khazana is famous for beef biryani, mutton biryani is equally good here so you won’t go wrong choosing that option either. If you decide to go there, take a word of warning: this place can get highly addictive and you might find yourself daydreaming of Khazana’s biryani way too often.
If ice cream is your thing, this is definitely the place to put on your Bangalore itinerary. Bowring Kulfi is a small frozen dessert shop located on a busy road, where you can find a variety of Kulfi on a stick: saffron, pistachio, cardamom, litchi, coconut, mango – how can you ever choose one flavour from that list? Big chance is that you won’t go wrong with whatever your choice ends up being, but they say that Kesar Badam (saffron and almond) kulfi is their customer all time favourite. If you can’t stop after one serving, Elaichi (cardamom) Kulfi would be a good continuation of the theme of local flavours.
Located minutes away from Shri Sagar restaurant, Asha Sweet Center is a destination for a treat after you have dinner or lunch. Right at the front of the store you’ll see a man pouring yellow coloured drink into glasses and handing them in to people. Even though you can find Badam Kesar (saffron and almond) milk at chai shops and restaurants around the town, you might experience enlightement with the first sip of Asha version of this delicious concoction. Loaded with fragrant saffron and topped up with generous amount of almond and pistachio flakes it is guaranteed to take you to the moon and back. And if this treat is not enough, dive in to the second room of the shop and go crazy sampling a mind boggling variety of traditional Indian sweets.