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Restaurants in India

Eating out in South India is a vivid experience that’ll make your mouth water just thinking about it. Restaurants here are of two types – the ones on every street corner are ‘tea shops’ that offer breakfast snacks and beverages, and the ‘hotels’ that offer full meals and other dishes. Street food is basically the same breakfast items you find in the tea shops and hotels, but a lot cheaper.

As for what’s on the menu, the one thing you just can’t escape from is rice. Breakfast and dinner is idli, dosa, pongal or any number of other delicious rice items, with a couple of chutneys and a curry like sambar to go with it, all washed down with filter coffee. The hotels usually serve lunch on a banana leaf, and the spread will blow your mind with variety and taste – a huge helping of rice is surrounded by two or more vegetables, a couple of curries and your choice of chutneys, buttermilk, pickles, and a sweet dessert to finish it off.

If you eat at home with your new South Indian friends, it won’t be so elaborate. The rice is still there, but it’s on a plate and you may get one vegetable with sambar and maybe another curry, with buttermilk at the end of the meal. You’ll notice there’s no mention here of meat or fish or roti, and that’s because you find that in separate non-veg hotels where they serve biryani rice, chicken curry, tandoori and all the famous Indian foods you may have heard of.

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Top 10 Must-Visit Restaurants for Foodies in South India

  • Ramanayak Udipi - One of the top Udipi hotels in Mumbai for idli, dosa, wada and other South Indian foods and full rice plates (thali meals). Located at Shri Krishna Boarding on Lakhamsi Nappu Rd, near Matunga East Station.
  • Murugan Idli Shop (breakfast food). Address:- Chain with 10 locations in Chennai and three in Madurai.
  • Kayees Rahamthulla Hotel (biryani). Address:- Mattancherry - New Road, Kochi, Kerala Ernakulam – near Durbar Hall Ground, Kochi, Kerala
  • The Rice Boat (seafood). Address:- Taj Malabar, Willingdon Island, Kochi, Kerala
  • Mani’s Lunch Home - People come here from all over Mumbai for the excellent South Indian food. Located near the Matunga Post Office at Telang Rd, Brhmanwada, Matunga.
  • Brahmins Coffee Bar (breakfast food). Address:- Shankarapuram, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Hallimane (authentic Kannada cuisine). Address:- 3rd Cross, Sampige Road, Malleswaram, Bengaluru, Karnataka
  • Paradise Hotel (biryani). Address:- Paradise Circle, Sardar Patel Road, Hyderabad, Telengana.
  • Bawarchi (biryani). Address:- Opposite Sandhya Theater, RTC Cross Road, Chikkadpally, Hyderabad, Telengana
  • Delhi Darbar - Another famous North Indian restaurant in Mumbai which claims to offer Mumbai’s best biryani. Located on Shaheed Bhagat Singh Rd in Colaba

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Top dishes to try in India

  • Idli – It’s a soft and round puffy thing, made of rice batter that’s been through a grinder and then boiled. Nothing fried or unhealthy in it. Idli is one of the most commonly found breakfast foods in India.
  • Dosa – This is a twin to Idli, with the rice batter spread thin in a large circle on a pan. It’s a bit tastier than Idli, but that’s probably because of the spoonfuls of oil used.
  • Masala Dosa – This is a stuffed dosa which has delicious mashed boiled potatoes cooked into a spicy vegetable dish that is used as a stuffing.
  • Chicken Manchurian - Now this may sound Chinese, and that’s what they call it in the restaurants. But it’s somehow more Indian and a Mumbai special dish. It doesn’t taste like Chinese food - more like thick Indian curry and meat balls.
  • Sambar Rice – This is basically a lunch item that’s traditionally part of a meal. But it’s so insanely tasty and popular that it’s now available as a stand-alone dish everywhere in India.
  • Payasam – A heavenly sweet dessert served in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.