If there is one thing that stands out and defines the eating culture in Bengaluru, it is the ‘Darshini Culture.’ While Delhi has its parathewali galli, Kolkata its rolls, Mumbai its cafes and vadapavs, Bengaluru has its darshinis!
Dotting most street corners, these darshinis are famous for their crispy vadas, soft idlis, steaming strong filter coffees, and of course,the buttery, rich and crunchy dosas! From the uber rich to the middle-class to the aam junta, everyone in Bengaluru throngs to the darshinis. There are different darshinis for different kinds of foods… For foodies looking for one to treat their taste buds, here is a list of some of the top darshinis in Bengaluru, in no particular order.
A symbol and landmark of South Bengaluru, Vidyarthi Bhavan and its pasty, green walls with sketches of the literary and cultural stalwarts of Bengaluru, is probably one of the oldest darshinis of the city. Over 70 years up and still going strong, Vidyarthi Bhavan today has become a cultural hub. Artists, writers, film-stars, college-goers, businessmen… make a beeline for it for their irresistible masala dosa, sagu dosa, and the crunchy rava vadas. And of course the coffee! On any given Sunday, you can see over hundreds of people patiently waiting for their turn to grab a dosa and a steaming cup of good ole filter coffee.
Location - Gandhibaazar, Basavanagudi.
Must Try - Masala dosa and ravavada.
Brahmin’s Coffee Bar
Rumour has it that the delicious, flavoursome coconut chutney served with the soft steaming idlis and crunchy vadas is made from a secret recipe. One can hardly push this away as hearsay! One taste of this chutney and you will be craving for more! Practically a hole in the wall, Brahmin’s Coffee Bar’s reputation, ensures a mile-long queue every morning of people waiting to get their hands on the idlis and vadas with the renowned coconut chutney, kharabath, and the amazing filter coffee.
Location - Shankarmath, Shankarpuram, Basavanagudi.
Must Try -Idilis and vadas with chutney, kharabath, and coffee
Davangere Benne Dose
Davangerebenne dose actually is a very popular variety of dosa, known for its rich buttery (hence benne) flavour. However, this Davangere Benne Dose refers to the famous joint at Natkalappa Circle. This joint literally redefines the meaning of the word - ‘hole in the wall’. In the evenings, the joint is sometimes not even visible thanks to the number of people crowding around to place their orders! Finding people standing on the street and enjoying their bites of buttery, oily dosas, is a regular feature. There is a variety of savouries that can fill your gut. Common favourites being: crunchy benne dosa, served with a dollop of butter, open dosa with pudi, and if you are feeling a little adventurous, try the spicy girmitt(puffed rice mixed in a spicy onion masala).
Location – Nakalappa Circle.
Must Try -Benne dose and open dosa.
MTR - Mavalli Tiffin Room
No mention of Bengaluru’s food culture can be complete without the mention of MTR or Mavalli Tiffin Room. Today, a brand in itself and well-known for its packaged foods, MTR began as a humble eatery way back in 1924. At any time, on any day, MTR is crowded. And if happens to be a holiday or a Sunday… well you will just have to wait longer to try out their famous masala dosa or massive lunch meals. Rumour has it that a chief minister too waited in queue to get a bite of the masala dosa served here!
MTR is believed to be the inventor of the rava idlis, which were invented during World War II. Water and juice served in silver tumblers, a clean ambience, and polite staff adds to the restaurant’s charm.
Location - JC Road, Near Urvashi Theatre.
Must Try -Masala dosa, rava idli, and poorisagu.
If you happen to be in Jayanagar, 4th block, looking to grab a bite then simply head to Sri Ganesh Darshan or popularly known as Dosa Camp. It is known for its different styles and varieties of dosas, which are roasted to perfection with amazing masalas and to-die-for chutney. Apart from the ever-famous masala dosa, do try out crispy akkiroti, onion dose, and Benarasdose –for those with a sweet tooth. If you are looking for something other than dosas, then go for the mini idlis.
Location –Jayanagar,4th block
Must Try -All dosa varieties and mini idlis.
Another popular darshini in the city, Adigas is believed to be an off-shoot of Brahmin’s Coffee Bar.Adigaswas started by the famous Adiga family that possibly owns most of the popular darshinisin the city. A multi-cuisine hotspot, Adigas is practically open 24/7 serving you South Indian snacks, North Indians snacks, chaatsa, and juices. There is a little something for everyone here.While there are several chains across the city, the most popular one is the Jayanagar 4th block outlet.
Location –Jayanagar, 4th block
Must Try –Kaalidosa
If rumour is to be believed, SLV is said to have been started by ex-employees of MTR. While there are several outlets of SLV across the city, the one on 9th block Jayanagar is the one to vouch for. Following the norm of all darshinis in the city, SLV is located at the corner of the street and is right along the footpath. You can however spot the location with the number of people standing on the footpath holding plates and coffee tumblers. The masala dosa here is a hit, however while at SLV, make sure that you try chandrahara, a sweet-dish made of milk, which literally melts in your mouth, and the absolutely heavenly karabath.
Location –Jayanagar, 9th block.
Must Try -Kara bath and chandrahara.
An off-shoot of the MTR family, when Maiyyas first opened for business inJayanagar 4th block, the residents were pleased to have the MTR menu closer home. Spread over four floors, Maiyyas offers meals, snacks, even pastries, and the famous MTR packed foods. They even have the silver tumblers to serve coffee and juice. However, Maiyyas is modernised and the distinctive taste of the onion dosas and bonda soups helps it stand apart from MTR.
Location –Jayanagar, 4th Block.
Must Try -Onion dosaand bondasoup.