Everyone has their favourites when it comes to restaurants. But there are those undisputed kings at the top of their game and Bangalore has her fare share {thank goodness} of restaurants that will take you from the roaring 1920s to present times with the first rava idli, straight-from-America burgers and even authentic Sunday Roast, a legacy courtesy the Brits. Luckily for you, we know of ten of the most iconic. But if you’re a true-blue Bangalorean who knows more, then we’re happy to add on those pieces of history to this list.

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The Only Place

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CTR Shri Sagar


Photo source: MTR - Mavalli Tiffin Rooms

Photo source: MTR – Mavalli Tiffin Rooms

If you haven’t been to MTR {Mavalli Tiffin Rooms} then you are really missing out on being part of history. And of course on the legendary masala dosa. Quaint, double-storeyed, and packed to the point of people queuing on the street, a trip here must also include a Rava Idli {apparently they created it during WWII when rice to make idlis was scarce, so they experimented with semolina} – the best in the world, we say!

The Only Place

You may remember it as a burger kiosk beside Rex theatre, or a dining space in Mota Arcade. Or perhaps you’ve heard of it as currently dominating Museum Road’s diners. But heard of The Only Place you have! Started by the late Haroon Sait to bring a slice of quintessential America to Bangalore {chequered table cloth and all}, the burgers have a stand-off with steaks for most delicious, while the apple pie has been reigning queen since the 60s.

Lake View Milk Bar

Photo source: The Only Place

Photo source: Lakeview Milk Bar

A legacy running successfully since 1930, your grandparents probably had their first date here over the then exotic strawberry ice cream. Owned originally by Englishman James Meadow Charles, it was sold {incidentally, in 1947!} to Indian Vraj Lal. Then came more than just ice cream. Despite a few ups and downs, the loyalists followed it around, ending up at its current addresses in Indiranagar and the original MG Road spot. Pizzas, ‘sand witches’ and milkshakes should be on your priority. For nostalgia if nothing else.


Photo: Atr hugo

Photo source: Atr Hugo via Wikimedia Commons [CC-BY SA]

An absolute Bangalore establishment, Koshy’s technically comprises Jewel Box, Parade Café and Koshy’s Bakery all in the same building. If you lived in times gone by, you may have bumped into Queen Elizabeth II or even Jawarharlal Nehru here. Now though, the artsy sort gather here for filter coffee, Prawn Biryani during the evening. For breakfast, bread-butter-jam with a side order of eggs {made to order}, bacon and sausages is staple. Or head here for an English Sunday lunch of roast chicken, gravy, stuffing and potato. Then lurk around for some coffee. And then some more. Until you need pakodas and a sandwich!

CTR Shri Sagar

Photo: Devika Raman

Photo: Devika Raman

Oh don’t we love our ‘tiffin’ and coffee. Home to writers, artists and poets in the 40s, and hungry townsfolk in current times. Bangaloreans will not think twice to traverse the lengths of the city for a plate of hot bene dosa {bene = butter, copious amounts of butter} and a glass of piping hot unadulterated filter coffee after. Early morning breakfast here means waiting for a bit, but it is all worth it in the end. Old-world charm is maintained at this hotspot. It’s common courtesy to eat and take the coffee outside to make room for others. Word of advice: have a chat with some of the senior citizens while here. They’ll open your eyes to the Bangalore of the past. No really, it is said to be the oldest establishment for brekkie.


Long before the fancy five-stars and their Norwegian salmon, Unicorn was really like a mythical place for seafood lovers! Never mind the slightly worn out sofas and frayed table cloths. Especially when you have Chilli Crab, Prawn Masala, Chicken Ghee Roast and fluffy appams before you. Add to that the fact that it’s only fresh catch {they won’t serve it if it’s been in the freezer for long}, throw-away prices and you’re got yourself Christmas early anytime you go here.



Photo: Parikshit Rao/LBB

Oh how Airlines broke our hearts when they shut shop temporarily. But mercifully they reopened and fans flocked for their fill of ‘Airlines One-By-Two’ coffee, ‘masaldosa’ and then topped it off with hot Jalebis and Kesari Bhath. Then just keep chatting under the trees with the birds for company until someone from service throws your bill on the table, signifying your time out. If you’re smart, like most regulars are, you’ll quickly order sweet lime juice and channa bhatura {fluffy and divine} to buy more time. Or use their drive-in option.

Windsor Pub


Photo source: Windsor Pub

If you haven’t sat with an entire table full of chilli chicken, chilli prawn, appams, stew and bottles of chilled beer at this pub, then shame on you. Unfortunately, it’s moved out of its old venue in Vasanthnagar, but has seamlessly transitioned to 12th Main, Indiranagar. Head here for the same old-school vibes, Veddi Erachi, dried beef, shredded, fried with pearl onions and Crab Meat balls, which we’ve already raved about here.


Set in the Centenary Building on MG Road, this legendary North Indian restaurant is perhaps the pioneer of the cuisine in Bangalore. Paneer, any kind, but especially the tikka is divine, and the kebabs, be it lamb or chicken, are soft, flavourful and succulent. Dal Makhani is what the place is famous for, to be paired with tandoori roti. That said, it hasn’t kept up décor very much, and the pricing does seem a bit high. Still, we’ll go there. Again.

Vidhyarthi Bhavan


Photo: Parikshit Rao/LBB

Bringing you outstanding Masala Dosa, Khara Bhath, Kesari Bhath and filter coffee since 1943, there’s little about Vidhyarthi Bhavan that isn’t typical old Bangalore. Times and things may have changed around it, but this no-frills establishment keeps things as simple as always. Well, the amount of ghee they put might have increased further. But who’s complaining, eh?

Featured photo: Parikshit Rao/LBB