Mysuru, popularly known as ‘Aramane Nagari’ is a land of tourists looking to get an eyeful. It is the land of an unexpected amount of green where pieces of history pop up in the most unusual places giving a tag ‘The Cultural City Of Karnataka’. It has much more to offer to the world of tasty cuisines since long. Vegetarian still rules and coffee taste better with every sip. Many of the old places still exist, going strong and celebrated every day. Make no mistake, there are pizzas, burgers, pasta, Subway sandwiches, but I am sure your craving for such fast food would take a bow to the true taste of Mysore savored at the age-old food institutions.
These which have given dishes their iconic status, so much so that they come with the name of the city firmly affixed before them. Be it the deliciously aromatic Mysore Pak, the sizzle of the Mysore masala dosa, the fragrance of Mysore mallige idli. And must admit, thinking of all this is just like stepping into those Malgudi days or a world of RK Narayan.
Let’s look at some real age-old authentic eateries of Mysore
Mysore Masala Dosey at Vinayaka Mylari Hotel
There are dosas and then the version served at Vinayaka Mylari hotel. It’s been a simple place that’s been popping up its little corner for over 80 years. And, here it’s not a typical dose that you would be sitting down to because Mylari has become the differentiator from the normal eateries by making you experience something like a fluffy breakfast. Pancake meeting a terrific dosey is thick, toothsome, flossy and drowning in butter with fabulous fresh coconut chutney on the side and a mildly-spiced curry and a plethora of vegetables. The restaurant itself is nondescript with an old world charm and a simple set up taking us way back to the good old days. To be fair, the eatery does have a menu, but it is the dose that people come here for.
Mysore Bonda at Hotel Dasprakash
One of the oldest hotels in Mysore built way back in 1943. Seven odd decades behind these golden brown bondas explicitly do not miss on rendering you a bonafide, out of the world acquaintance of the masala flavors with every bite of the puffy doughy Mysore masala bondas. They are pulp, deep fried, studded with spices, tasty, aromatic, with an incredible crust. To add on you have the Kharabhat which is a seriously satisfying, perfectly kicky plate of Semolina. And if you are a sweet lover, then not to forget the absolute velvety Badam Halwa and the Halbai which is prepared from coconut milk is a total dainty, a feast in itself.
Guru Sweet Mart
The most popular story about the origin of the Mysore Pak goes back to the reign of Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV whose royal cook Kakasur Madappa rustled up a sweet from gram flour, sugar and ghee for a royal event. Asked by the king, he then accidentally named it ‘Mysore Pak’. This Guru Sweet Mart on Sayyaji Road is owned by none but the great-great-grandchildren of Kakasura Madappa, the creator himself.
The Mysore Pak that they serve here is undoubtedly exquisite from the kind you get elsewhere. Instead of a thick slab that is fairly solid, they dish up a simply aromatic, melting soft, crumbly, and a drowning in ghee Pak which, with just one bite dissimilates into sugar sweetness and happiness and leaves you yearning for more. Not just the Pak, Guru Sweet has a lot else on offers like the excellent Motichur laddu, the sugar-dusted piece of peda and the silky pumpkin halwa. However, the prime focus is claimed by the Mysore Pak!.
Other than the dosa’s and idli’s, Mysore has its fair share of the delicacy Biryani. By far the most popular place is RRR in Gandhi Square. The biryani here is strong, it is meaty, it is rich, it is greasy, it is spicy and certainly appetizing. However, owing to the significant presence of Mohammedans in Mysore, there are many little eateries and restaurants that specialize in the delicate and aromatic Muslim version of the biryani. Many of these can be found in the Nazarbad area. Some other places to sample biryani include Biryani Paradise and Hyderabad Biryani House, both on Sayyaji Road, and Mughal Durbar near Bannimantap.
The Green Hotel
Nothing symbolizes the southern Indian spirit or the fictional town of Malgudi other than a delightful strong filter coffee. The Mysore coffee is rich, robust, piping hot and smells phenomenal. So when it calls for great relaxation or to a real old world feel to coffee time, the place to be is the Green Hotel, also called the Malgudi Coffee Shop which is a building that is over a century old and it was formally a palace too. History explains that it was Chittaranjan’s palace which was built for the sisters of Maharaja of Mysore and that they lived here for long. As all said and done, the Green Hotel is a palace itself has an exclusive decor, furniture, and ambiance that takes us back into an era of RK Narayan’s creations and empowers us to palpate an extensive blend of the old and the new Mysore.
Gayatri Tiffin Room
Like the dosa, Mysore has to have its own version of idli as well which are called the ‘Mysore Mallige Idlis’. The Tiffin Room’s Mallige idlis are soft and fluffy, varying in sizes and served with a variety of chutneys and sambhar. The explicit specialty here is all about the texture of the idlis, which gives you a unique experience and are rather distinct white and very soft. It probably has to do with the fact that a local variety of rice and beaten rice are used in the batter, which results in soft and fluffy idlis. The best accompaniment to these idlis is coconut chutney, while sambhar is an afterthought.
Firstly breakfast for pulào is not everybody’s cup of tea, but that’s only till you have tasted the iconic pulao at Hanumanthu Mess in Mandi Mohalla, one of Mysore’s endearing neighborhoods. The never-ending crowd right from 8 in the morning proves it all. It is simply mouthwatering and incredibly delicious, leaving you with a real treat to the senses. It has a refreshing ambiance and a history going back three generations. It does dish up a range of other items, mostly mutton such as mutton chops and liver fry, as well as naati (free range) chicken dishes, such as fry and chicken pulao.
Brahmin Soda Factory
For ice creams or fruit salads or any kind of refreshments after heavy lunch or for an evening drink with no second thought, you could always head to the Brahmin Soda Factory. It is a small place which gets cramped with people seated facing each other like in a train coach. The Sarsaparilla juice which is an extract of the roots of a plant by the same name and also believed to have health benefits is the one in demand.
Three generations old, the place has a laid back air and an ambiance and furniture giving you a soothing atmosphere. And the strangely interesting fact is that all the ice creams at the Soda house are homemade. And surely not to miss on sipping some really popular versions of masala ginger soda’s as well.
Vada at Nalpak, Vani Vilas
To drop by at the bright airy dine -in at Nalpak restaurant with its large windows, spacious interiors, and stylish seats, makes you feel instantly comfortable. It has a captivating menu from South Indian to North Indian or Chinese treats but the center of attraction has always been the crispy tasty Vada’s. Vada here is served with spicy lentil soup (sambar) and coconut chutney. The idli-vada combination (with one idli and one vada) is very popular for breakfast or for tea-time snacks. And the veg lovers, whether it is soft rotis, sweet-and-sour Chinese or spicy, aromatic rice you are craving for, look no further than the Nalpak restaurant.
Bisibelebath at Mahesh Prasad, Chamrajpura
Mahesh Prasad is nothing but house turned into a restaurant near Ballal Circle. It gives us a clear idea on the growth of the eatery and its take away in the terrain of South Indian delicacy. It is one of the famous old vegetarian restaurants in the town. South Indian cuisines like poori sagu, Khara bhat, lemon rice, masala dosa are amazing. But what Mahesh Prasad house actually calls for is the hot yummy Bisibelebath, the lentil rice served with boondi, chutney, salad, or potato chips only gives you craving for more. So to all the veg lovers who do not want to miss on Mysuru’s exemplary breakfast eats and for a true savour of Bisibelebath, Mahesh Prasad is a must visit.
These were some of the iconic old eateries in Mysore for you to drop by. Do visit these place when you are in Mysuru.
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