🤯 Must Try 👇🏽
CTR aka Central Tiffin Room aka Shri Sagar has been around since 1952. If I was on gunpoint and asked to pick one dosa I could eat everyday for the rest of my life, this would be it. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, buttery on every bite, CTR’s Masala Dosa is to die for. But, the best part about CTR is its consistency. You could walk in any day of the year and get exactly the same rich deliciousness all over again.
Masala Dosa is served with two varities of runny chutney—peanut and green. Parts of the dosa are so crunchy you’ll feel like you’re having crackers, but with a southindian twist. This King of Dosas draws crowd not only from different pockets of Bengaluru, but also the floating crowd from other cities. If you randomly stop someone in Bengaluru and ask them what their favorite Dosa joint is, there’s a high probability you’ll hear CTR.
Though there are conflicting views of the origins of this mighty dish, dosa (as dosai) was already in use in the ancient Tamil country around the 1st century AD, as per references in the Tamil Sangam Literature. That said, modern food writers, in their works, mention dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka. But what strengthens the theory that the dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka, is the fact that the recipe for this dish can be found in the 12th century Sanskrit text “Manasollasa”, compiled by the Chalukya ruler Someshvara III who ruled over a part of Karnataka.
Vidyarthi Bhavan began as an eatery to local students in 1943. Yes, you read that right. 78 years ago. I wonder what the British thought of this amazing Dosa before India’s independence.
With a short menu of 7 items, you can imagine the focus, precision and the craft that goes into achieving perfection with every item. About 9 years apart, CTR and Vidyarthi Bhavan can be thought of as cousins; Both make crispy-out-soft-in dosas. But, the taste of these two Dosas is both different and unique, living up to the hype.
The image that comes to mind when you hear “Vidyarthi Bhavan” is a waiter walking out of the kitchen holding a pile of 15-20 plates of Masala Dosas in one hand; He then exactly remembers the orders from every table and serves them with one hand while holding a little Dosa mountain on the other. Reads almost as if it’s straight out of a movie? Then comes the surprise star of the show. Another waiter goes around with a saucepan filled with Chutney. He pours out a generous portion of runny Chutney, filling half your plate, to dunk your crunchy Dosa into. Vidyarthi Bhavan’s chutney has its own fan club.
Most of the crowd at Vidyarthi Bhavan is regular diners who have been visiting the place for decades. In the mornings, you’d run into elderly couples and others getting their breakfast on the way home after a walk. Once, I overheard a story of a grandpa who didn’t want to visit his sons and family in the US because he can’t live without Vidyarthi Bhavan’s Dosa and Filter Coffee. This story is a depiction of how connected this place is to the lives of those that have eating here since forever. At least two generations of chefs and waiters have been tirelessly working for decades, turning this establishment into a legendary culinary institution.
Tamil ‘Dosai’ was soft and thick in size. The thinner and crispier version of ‘Dosa’ was widely made in Karnataka.
Chikkanna Tiffin Room
Often confused with CTR Shri Sagar, this non-assuming quaint joint is tucked away in the narrow streets of Cubbonpete, close to Majestic. As you walk in, the first thing you’d notice is the wall of pictures of Mr. Chikkanna with celebrities—Danish Sait, Javagal Srinath and some politicos. This lil bigger than a hole in the wall joint is run by a family that lives upstairs.
Mini Masala Dosa and Pudi Masala Dosa are the showstoppers here. Though the Dosas are smaller in size compared to other joints, they pack a rather powerful punch. Dosas are light and soft. Pudi and the masala that goes into the dosa are spicy and have a lingering taste. Dosas are served with a solid green chutney.
Although the youngest establishment of the must try joints, Taaza Thindi swiftly earned fame. It’s always buzzing with people, making the people passing by feel like there’s a mini carnival happening.
Expect to wait a few minutes in the queue for Masala Dosas. Every few minutes, Masala Dosas are rushed out of the kitchen to a counter. In less than 3 seconds, the ghee guy there pours over a couple of ghee shots and a fat dose of chutney on each plate.
I know we’re talking about Dosas here. But, I can’t resist to mention the softest idlis on the planet. They’re so good that they’re likely better than anything else on the menu. Oh boy, what did I do? 🤭
Taaza Thindi prides itself on the open cleaning counters, which are assumed to win diners' trust with transperancy. Their custom plates are made to fit in one hand, making it easier for you to eat while standing. Yes, there’s hardly any seating area. The crowd usually oozes out into the streets with people sitting under the trees and the seating at the bus stop right next.
Off late, Taaza Thindi began to expand its footprint not only in Bangalore, but also in other cities such as Hyderabad. I’m a bit worried about the quality suffering with scale. The number of times I’ve seen quality remain consistent with expansion is sadly null. That said, Taaza Thindi wins brownie points for being super affordable and spotlessly clean premises.
Dosa is also popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It’s commonly called Thosai in Singapore and Toshay in Burma.
👍🏽 Honorable Mentions 👇🏽
Malleshwaram Dose Corner
Konark Vegetarian Restaurant
Neighbourhood: Residency Road, Ashok Nagar
Neighbourhood: JP Nagar
Davanagere Benne Dosa Mane
Neighbourhood: JP Nagar, 1st Phase
Davanagere Benne Dosa (The Original)
Neighbourhood: Jayanagar, 9th Block
The longest Dosa measures 16.68 meters - 54ft 8.69inches prepared by Hotel Daspalla in Hyderabad, and is a Guinness Record.
😎 Underrated 👇🏽
Neighbourhood: Wilson Garden
😝 Overrated - Not worth it 👇🏽
Neighbourhood: HSR Layout
Neighbourhood: HSR Layout
Neighbourhood: Wilson Garden
Live Davangere Benne Dosa
Neighbourhood: BTM Layout
SLV (Sri Laxmi Venkateshwara) Coffee Bar
Neighbourhood: Banashankari, 2nd Stage
Neighbourhood: JP Nagar, 2nd Phase
Davangere Benna Dose
Neighbourhood: Jayanagar 4th Block
Am I missing your favorite joint from the list? I can’t wait to try your awesome recommendations. Please leave a comment below or write me!