Coffee and a cigarette just isn’t going to cut it for a quick breakfast pit-stop anymore, in this age of wellness and unbelievably variable fitness fads. If the new health gurus are to be believed, then everything the old ones were telling us all along was true too—breakfast must never be skipped. And if you can get it to taste unbelievably good, without compromising on its healthfulness you’ve basically struck gold. You call it impossible, we call it South Indian breakfasts.
While we do enjoy the theatrics of maple syrup trickling over stacks of fluffy pancakes, or a large plate filled with bacon and eggs, nothing quite satisfies the way steaming hot idlis, crisp, buttery dosas and all the many condiments from gunpowder masala to delicious masala aloo that come with it, can. We’ll admit our home turf of Mumbai does a bloody good job of satiating these cravings for authentic South Indian fare, we have to concede that nobody does it quite like Bengaluru does. Having already rounded up their best breakfasts recently, we refined the filters to make things more specific. Same meal, different offerings.
Without further ado, here’s a quick round up of of 16 spots in the garden city that really pull their own weight when it comes to South Indian breakfasts. Get started, and don’t forget to wash it all down with some piping hot filter kaapi afterwards.
Know how some restaurants serve great South Indian food, but it’s still restaurant food? Well, Brahmin’s isn’t one of those places. It’s the kind of place that serves honest-to-goodness home-styled food. And that’s why locals love it.
Must-try: Uppitu (upma) and kara bath
II. Central Tiffin Room (CTR), Otherwise Known As Shri Sagar
Bengaluru’s Central Tiffin Room is another old favourite, one of the oldest restaurants around in fact, and it’s nothing short of famous for its masala dosas. For those who are interested, though we don’t personally recommend it, they also serve a slightly healthier avatar of this without butter.
Must-try: Benne masale dose (ask for extra chutney) and Mangalore bajji.
These are tiny eating houses churning out dosas at alarming rates. But in spite of that, each dosa is a masterpiece—perfectly crisp and brown. The dosas are made on earthen tavas that are heated by firewood. While there are many tucked away in pockets of the city, the one in Basaveshwarnagar gets our vote.
Must-try: Butter masala dosa and butter onion dosa
IV. Ganesh Darshan
With no seating and a self-service counter, Ganesh Darshan doesn’t exactly sound tempting as a breakfast place for those who love to be waited on. After all, who wants to stand around waiting for food first thing in the morning? But, there is a reward for patience. And if you have enough patience, Ganesh Darshan will reward you incredibly well.
Must-try: Holige, Banaras dosa, rava dosa.
V. Halli Mane
Not only does Halli Mane serve seriously good Karnatakan fare, it also hosts workshops on organic food. Talk about creating a balance between traditional and modern.
Must-try: Manguluru bajji and thatte Idli.
VI. Hotel Janardhan
Hotel Janardhan is another unpretentious joint. But what it lacks in simplicity, it makes up for in taste. Those who frequent it swear by its kesari bath.
Must-try: The sagu masala dosa and badam halwa
VII. Indian Coffee House
As far as the word ‘iconic’ goes, you can’t do much better than Church Street’s Indian Coffee House. It’s a place that has zero airs about its appearance, which lets it focus on what it’s known for, been known for, and will be known for for years to come--its food.
Must try: Kesari bhath, vada, and masala dosa.
VIII. Iyengar Bakery
Next to Cool Joint, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru | T: +91 9483958571
As far as Bengaluru’s celebrated sweet spots go, this is one of the very best. Iyengar’s has been around since 1981 and has been dishing out delicious treats for the city’s foodies ever since.
Must-try: Potato bun and pineapple butter cream cake
IX. Janatha Hotel
Janatha Hotel is located in Bengaluru’s shopping district and seems to embody the hurried atmosphere of the district. Breakfast here is a no-frills eat-and-dash affair but just because it’s hurried doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.
Must-try: Rava idli, vada sambhar, kali dosa, and kesari bath.
Maiyas Express is a four-floor family-owned restaurant in Jayanagar that is eight decades old. Do we really need to say anything else?
Must-try: Bisibelebath and button rice idli
XI. New Modern Hotel
New Modern Hotel is located on Bengaluru’s eat street: VV Puram. This is one of those places you go to in a big group because there’s a lot you need to sample. One of the things that NMH is particularly loved for is their sambhar. It’s a blend of the Karnataka and Tamilian style and nobody can manage to pull it off quite like them. And the khara bhath and masala dosa are top picks too.
Must-try: The Mysore pak. Once you’re done with the savoury stuff that is.
XII. Puliyogare Point
As the name suggests, everyone flocks to Puliyogare Point for one thing: the puliyogare, or tamarind flavoured rice. Don’t overthink, just order.
Must try: The puliyogare, obviously. Also try the Sakkare Pongal, coconut rice and button idlis.
Though Sri Laxmi Venkateshwara Coffee Bar, or SLV as it’s commonly referred to, has locations all around Bengaluru, locals swear that the Banashankari branch is the best. Local lore even says that their vadas are the crispiest in town.
Must-try: Idlis, and of course, the vadas.
XIV. V. B. Bakery
A household name and one of Bengaluru’s oldest bakeries, V. B. Bakery is the place to be if you like your breakfast sweet rather than savoury.
Must-try: Honey cake, coconut biscuits, KBC (khara bun congress)
XV. Veena Stores
This little street side eatery has been serving up some of the best South Indian breakfast for the last 40 years. It actually started as a condiment store but later evolved into a little joint that serves up idlis, vadas and filter coffee. You know how you keep hearing the phrase ‘if you want to eat good food, go where the locals go’? Well, Veena Stores sort of epitomises that.
Must-try: The vada and filter coffee.
XVI. Vidyarthi Bhavan
This very special eatery has been satiating Bengaluru’s South Indian food needs since before independence—1943, to be precise. It actually started as an eatery for students (hence the name) but later morphed into the culinary juggernaut it is today. We suggest going early because there’s always a queue.
Must-try: The masala dosa. It’s rumoured to be the city’s best.
Research by Sanyukta Shetty
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