Tag Archives: india

Adiga’s (Bangalore, India)


In Malleswaram there are a large number of sagar shops where you can get quick, delicious south Indian fare. One of our favorites is Adiga’s, located just around the corner from Sean and Archana’s place.

The main floor is typical of a sagar shop (or “hotel”), if a bit larger than most. You order near the entrance from the cashier, pay, and receive a number of receipts. Each receipt needs to be taken to the appropriate station (e.g. dosa, meals, idly, roti), where a worker will  magically turn your receipt into the dishes listed. At both stages, it’s important to know how to deal with an IndiaQueue. Once you’ve obtained your meal, you grab a section of long, shared countertops and dig in while standing.

On this trip, Archana introduced us to the upstairs “restaurant” part of Adiga’s, which I didn’t even know existed. The upstairs experience is less busy – you are seated at your own table, given a menu, and served by a waiter. The choices are similar, though some smaller items such as roti curry are replaced with larger variations such as dal fry. Prices are higher since portions are bigger and you are getting table service, but it’s a nicer environment to linger in. I enjoyed the experience, though my favorite part of Adiga’s is still the ground floor with its communal feel.

Overall, Adiga’s is a great stop for a quick meal of south Indian favorites. In particular, their roti curry, rava idly, and special dosai are my favorites. I also like stealing a few bites of Sean’s ever-present channa batura.

Happy to be at Adigas
Enjoying an assortment of goodies for lunch

Sean with his channa batura Lauren and her roti curry
Sean with channa batura and south Indian coffee, Lauren with roti curry

Palak Dosa
Palak dosa

Rava idly
Rava idly

Sampige Road at 15th Cross (+ other branches in the Bangalore area)
Bangalore, India 560003
+91 80 4153 5991

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Veena Stores (Bangalore, India)


A block from Sean and Archana’s place is a little South Indian food stall, Veena Idly.  Sean took us there on our first morning in Bangalore. I remember enjoying it, but my memories of that breakfast were quite hazy due to our exhausting travel day.

For some reason, we didn’t make it back to Veena until yesterday. I’m not sure why, as we talked about going a bunch. Maybe it’s the same reason that Floridians never use the pool in their backyard. One day while driving to work, we even ad-libbed a jingle for Veena. I think it went something like this (it changed a bit every time):

Veena Idly, for all your idly needs
Veena Idly, hooray for you and me
Veena Idly, for all your idly needs
I want some Veena Idly! (and vada too!)

However, we did have our final two Bangalore breakfasts at Veena, and they were fantastic. The menu is similar to many other south Indian breakfast stalls, but the execution was far above the competition. Someone said they have a special high-end idly steamer. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that I love it.

Idly/vada, the classic south Indian breakfast served with amazing coconut chutney

Chow chow bath. There are two sections, sweet and a savory. You are supposed to get a little of each part in each bite.

Veena Idly Archana and her idly vada


Veena Idly
No. 183, 15th Cross, Margosa Road
Malleshwaram, Bangalore, India 560 055
+91 23344838

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch

Kaati Zone Express (Bangalore, India)


The full service Indian airlines (Jet, Kingfisher, Air India) have amazing food on all of their flights, no matter what the length. However, on the way back from Goa we flew on IndiGo (a budget carrier), where the food options are anemic.

We left Mandrem sated from a great breakfast, but after 2 hours from Mandrem to GOI, a lack of decent food options at GOI, and an hour flight to Bangalore we were famished. Since BLR is about an hour outside of town, we grabbed a “jumbo” chicken tikka roll outside of the terminal. It was surprisingly good! The chicken was decently spicy, the roti was fresh off the grill, and prices weren’t heavily airport-inflated.

I don’t know if I would choose Kaati Zone Express if I was in the city and had other options available to me, but If you arrive hungry to Bangalore airport, it’s a solid choice.


Kaati Zone Express
Bangalore International Airport
Devanahalli, Bangalore, India

La Plage (Aswem, India)


Before we left Bangalore, our friend Josh gave us a few Goa recommendations. He said:

Go to Mandrem. Stay at the Dunes. Have dinner next to the Dunes at a place called Well Garden that makes awesome wood-fired pizzas. Aswem, the next beach south, has a fancy European restaurant called La Plage. You can walk there or take a short cab ride.

OK, you could say that he planned most of our Goa trip for us. The first day on the beach, we tried to find La Plage for lunch. We walked down the beach for about a half-hour, fording a knee-high river formed by the tides and scrambling over rocks along the way. We asked a few people we passed, both tourists and touts, none of whom had heard of La Plage. Ultimately we turned back and had lunch in Mandrem. Our hosts at the Dunes told us that we had gone the right way, just not far enough. They said we would be able to see it from the beach and to just keep going.

The following day we left around 11AM for our lunchtime adventure. We passed the river, the rocks, and a long stretch of beautiful beach with nothing but sea creatures and waves to keep us company. Finally we spied a line of red beach chairs under the waving palm trees, and a little bit beyond them was an enormous sky-blue sign signaling that we had arrived at La Plage.

The food at La Plage is about 3 times the price of your average restaurant in Mandem (which puts the dishes at $4-$7), but it has the nicest atmosphere in town and delicious food. The two vegetarian dishes we had for lunch were fantastic. The chilled avocado soup would have made the grade in a top California restaurant, and their tomato tart was flaky, buttery goodness. The “grilled spicy chicken” just reminded me that I should stick to vegetables and seafood in this part of the world (though the accompanying green papaya and peanut salad was yummy).

The next day we went back for more, and discovered our two favorite dishes. The first was gnocchi with porcini mushrooms. The gnocchi were homemade, deliciously chewy, and topped with real parmesan cheese and a porcini mushroom sauce that was rich without being heavy-handed. The second was the “La Grande Salade de La Plage", which we had spied earlier on another table. It’s a collection of dips, cheese, and vegetables served with fresh baked bread.

We had a few more lunches there, and dinner with Sean and Freeman last night. Dinner was a bit of an adventure. Lauren and I again walked along the beach, but there were a few differences. It was dark, which we had planned for with our headlamps. However, when we got partway through the river crossing, we realized that the tides were much higher in the evening! Fortunately it was still warm enough out for our shorts to dry on the other half of our walk, and we joined Sean and Freeman for a dry cab ride home.

The other dinner hiccup was the food coursing. All of our dishes, from appetizers to main courses, arrived simultaneously. This meant that there was not enough room on the table for everything, and that much of the food got cold before it was eaten. The staff let us linger over cards for hours afterwards, but it was a shame to have such a rushed eating experience.

Overall the food at La Plage is delicious, especially the vegetarian dishes, and the lounge-y beach setting is paradise. If you’re in north Goa, it’s worth the journey (by cab or river crossing) to check it out!

Arriving at La Plage
The big blue sign beckons you from the beachfront to this oasis

Chilled avocado and apple soup
Chilled avocado and apple soup with lime leaves and pomegranate

Gnocci with porcini mushrooms
Gnocci in porcini mushroom sauce

La Grande Salade de La Plage
The famous Grande Salade de La Plage

Tomato tart
Tomato tart with basil and arugula

La Plage
Aswem, Goa, India
+91 982-212-1712

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Surguru (Pondicherry, India)


On our last afternoon in Pondy, we took the local Heritage Walk tour. During the walk around the French quarter, we started discussing food and drink with the tour guide. He told us that Pondicherry was not very good at classic French food (in line with our observations), but had good continental food and amazing South Indian food. We asked what his favorite South Indian restaurant was, and he unhesitatingly recommended Surguru. He takes his family there when they want to go out for South Indian food. So how could we resist? Off we went for our final dinner in Pondy.

Surguru is set back from the busy Mission Street, in a converted Health Department office. The building reminded me a little of a bingo hall or a community center, with a bunch of larger tables, a cashier behind small bars, and a recessed upstairs loft.

Unfortunately our camera was stolen with the pictures from this meal still on the SD card. So text will have to suffice for this one (if anyone makes it here, send me pictures of the Tandoori Idly). 

The menu at Surguru is enormous, with South Indian, North Indian, and South/North fusion dishes. We had a feast so that we could try even a small fraction of what looked intriguing:

  • Tandoori Idly – None of the Indians I’ve talked to have heard of this, but it was delicious. 3 Idlies cooked in the Tandoor with a tandoori masala sauce. The idlies were still nice and soft on the inside, with the addition of a unique smokiness and heft to the outside. I’m very sad to have lost my pictures of this special treat.
  • Channa Batura – We didn’t know what this was, but we like channa (chickpeas) and gave it a try. Turns out that a batura is a large, puffy fry bread (think poori but larger and with a thicker skin). Baturas are a bit too greasy for my taste, but it made for an impressive picture (oops), and the channa preparation was great. Spicy, complex, and perfectly cooked channa.
  • Mangalore Set Dosa with Vada Curry – Surguru has an entire section of their menu dedicated to dosai, and we asked the waiter for his recommendation. A Mangalore dosa is solely made of rice, which makes it lighter and lacier than your standard dosa. The “set” part of the dosa meant that it was cooked on one side and served in a set of two. It came out more like a medium-sized pancake than the paper-thin dosai I’ve had in the past. As advertised it was served with a vada curry, which was thick, brown, spicy and went well with the dosa.
  • 3 Taste Uttapam – I’d seen uttapam on a bunch of menus and didn’t know what they were. The “3 Taste Uttapam” seemed like a good way to try them out. The uttapam was pancake-ish (like the set dosa but cooked on both sides) with vegetables mixed in. The 3 tastes were onion, tomato, and parsley. The parsley was my favorite, the herbs mixed into the uttapam went very well with the assortment of chutneys. The onion and tomato were fine, but less exciting.

Overall, the food was fantastic and very cheap. Staff were friendly, and the ambience was entertaining. It was fun watching the food stream out of the kitchen. We’ll definitely be back next time we’re in the area, and I highly recommend checking out Surguru if you’re in Pondicherry.

99 Mission Street (+ 2 other locations)
Pondicherry, India
+91 4308082

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Cre’art (Pondicherry, India)


Lauren and I spent some time shopping this afternoon. By 16:30 I needed a break for a snack. Conveniently enough, we were at a shop with an attached cafe. Lunch #2 consisted of a thali with  your choice of 6 salads, bread, a drink, tea or coffee, and a sweet.

The French proprietor makes her own hibiscus and mint syrups, so we had a hibiscus soda to start:


For our thali, we  chose the tomato salad, ratatouille, shredded beets + garlic, shredded carrot salad, cucumbers and curd, and pomegranate seeds.


To conclude, we had a very nice mint tea served with a mini cashew brittle. Tasty, light, and total cost of 150 Rs (about $3). What’s not to like?

53 Suffren Street
Pondicherry, India
+91 413-4200258

Kasha Ki Aasha (Pondicherry, India)


Pondicherry is renowned for their food scene, which takes its French colonial history, current new age influences, and mixes it up Tamil-style.

Kasha Ki Aasha has a shop on the ground flood that sources from local artisans and promotes a “fair trade” system. Upstairs is a rooftop cafe/lounge with a nice breeze, soft cushions, and a myriad of magazines from the past decade.

The food is European/Indian fusion, with a focus on whole grains and fresh vegetables. We started with some refreshing beverages – fresh pineapple juice and iced tea. The iced tea was unsweetened with sugar on the side, a welcome change.


I ordered the Indian Enchilada, a mix of dal, onions, and salsa wrapped in a chapati with cheese and salsa on top, curd on the side.


Lauren got the Black Bean Burger – two large patties with a carrot salad. No bun.


All of the excitement from this vegetarian fare made my wife a little sleepy (I’m sure it had nothing to do with our overnight bus ride):


Overall we had a lovely time relaxing at Kasha Ki Aasha. I’m eyeing the pancakes for my next visit!

Update (10/24/09): We used a free pass to Uptown Fitness Studio this morning that we had received from lunch. We were wondering if there was an association (maybe a family member owned the gym). Turns out that Kasha recently took over management of the gym. She was managing the desk this morning, and is an American from upstate New York. 

Kasha Ki Aasha
23 Rue Surcouf
Pondicherry, India
+91 413 2222963

Mon – Sat: 8:00AM – 9:00 (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Khan Chacha (Delhi, India)


For dinner on our first night in Delhi, Meera recommended that we try out Khan Chacha, a hole in the wall that serves grilled meats either straight up or as roomali rolls. A roomali roll is meat with onions and yogurt sauce wrapped in a large roomali roti.


There are basically three choices at Khan Chacha – Seekh Kebab (ground mutton), Chicken Tikka, or Paneer Tikka. Normally 1-2 rolls make a meal. Given that this was my last meal before Yom Kippur (and I didn’t really have a proper lunch), I ordered one of each roomali roll. Lauren had the chicken and paneer tikka rolls.

They were absolutely delicious! The Seekh Kebab was the spiciest and got me sweating a bit. The chicken was charred, very flavorful, and medium spiciness. The paneer offered a softer texture variation along with very mild spices.

So far this is my favorite “fast food” in the region, and we’ll be sure to come back on our return trip through Delhi!

The Salim brothers at work making kebabs

Happiness is double fisting Seekh Kebab and Chicken Tikka rolls

Khan Chacha
New Delhi, India