We didn’t start off as one but Bangalore has sure become one of the best food destinations in the country. And it has not been easy earning this rather hefty title! Restaurants have come and gone, food empires have been raised and razed — all so that the city does not go to bed hungry, craving for a great meal. Of course, our laurels have come because of a handful of restaurants that dared to stand apart from the crowd. This New Year, LBB celebrates the restaurants that put Bangalore on the map.
How Many Of These Iconic Restaurants In Bangalore Have You Visited?
The original Udupi darshini spawned thousands of copycats, none of which came close to replicating MTR’s success. Now, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms still reigns supreme. Started in 1924, MTR (as it is fondly known) is on every local’s and visitor’s must-visit list. Their cult status is all thanks to their crisp Masala Dosas, tumblers of frothy coffee, and their invention — Rava Idli (apparently during World War II it was made to overcome the dearth of rice). The humble South Indian staples from this joint has everyone from chief ministers to movie stars and the common man queuing up.
Want a glimpse of what Bangalore was like in the days of Raj? Make your way past the elegant wood and glass doors of Koshy’s. Reigning supreme since 1940, the chequered tablecloths, the antique ceiling fans and the shuttered windows haven’t changed at all. But since Queen Elizabeth, Jawaharlal Nehru and even Nikita Khrushchev have all made it their business to dine here, there’s no wonder why it’s an iconic establishment. And now, of course, Koshy’s has come to be known as the favourite haunt of the city’s intelligentsia. As you tuck into their Prawn Biryani or their Sunday special — appams and stew — don’t forget to eavesdrop on the hot debate at the next table.
The country’s first Vietnamese restaurant — Blue Ginger — is perfect for a posh meal. And with that tag of “first”, comes great responsibility. Luckily, the outdoor setting does its bit to add to the charm (especially if you are here on a breezy night), and the delicately-prepared food includes the best ingredients from Vietnamese cuisine. Do try their signatures such as the Pho (available in various vegetarian and meat versions), Vietnamese Soft Noodles and their Spicy Mushroom & Bamboo Shoot Lemon Grass Soup. We highly recommend their tasting menus that give you the best of what they have to offer.
Karavalli showcases all that is good and pure about South India’s many culinary traditions. All the ingredients used here are actually sourced from the native regions — in this case, the coast. So expect smoked Kachampuli from Kerala, toddy vinegar from Goa and Kundapur coconuts for their firm white flesh. Order up plates of their Neer Dosa or Idiyappams (string hoppers) and pair it with their Kori Gassi or their Allapuzha Meen Curry. For the best of Coorg, order Koli Barthad — chef’s mother’s own recipe! If you prefer not to take such tough decisions, sign up for their thalis that feature the best they have.
If the never-ending crowds at Toit don’t convince you of its awesomeness, nothing will. While it wasn’t the first microbrewery in town, it certainly made the concept cooler — the trendsetters, if you will! Among their ales, the Dark Knight and the Tintin Toit stand out. For maximum happiness, try their thin crust pizza and work your way down their list of appetisers — Beer Battered Prawns and Chilli Cheese Bhajji to Pork Ribs and Haleem Samosa.
Arbor Brewing Company
Forget the German beer, this chic, industrial-looking microbrewery comes to your straight from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Blending brewery, sports bar and restaurant, these guys changed the game — they blurred lines. Don’t think about ordering anything else first, apart from the Bangalore Bliss. Then Phatt Abbot Tripel and The Raging Elephant. Pair it with bestsellers such as Onion Rings, Smothered Bacon Chilli Fries and their Steak Tenderloin With Pink Peppercorns and you’ve got an unforgettable party.
Bangalore may now have a gazillion European cuisine destinations to pick from. But twenty years ago, all we had was Sunny’s. Starting off as a small eatery across three floors on Lavelle Road, thankfully Sunny’s has stood the test of time. Named after the owner, Arjun Sajnani’s dog, the best part of this chic restaurant is that you can take your pooch along! You can even reserve a spot for your furry BFF!