this year i decided i wanted to do some food-related adventures around bangalore to seek out the best food this city has to offer. the first food on my list was masala dosa, so when i returned in january i set out to find my favourite* masala dosa in all of bangalore.
masala dosa is one of the most famous south indian breakfast dishes, and it is delicious. what could be better than a dosa stuffed with delicious potato and served with coconut chutney? not much, that’s for sure. they come in all shapes and sizes, and different places specialize in different spices and flavours, making no two dosas alike.
while you can get masala dosas at every corner and roadside darshini, there are a few places that have become well-known for the dish. i have eaten countless dosas in my lifetime, but ultimately i wanted to figure out which one i like best.
in the end i tried masala dosa in 5** different places around bangalore, and below are my rankings of the ones i tasted.
number one: ctr
ctr, also known as shri sagar, was the first dosa we tried and was also hands-down the best one from this competition. everything about this dosa experience, from the flavour of the masala to the fluffiness of the dosa, was pretty much perfect. the dosa-to-masala ratio was spot-on, and they got bonus points for spreading the masala evenly throughout the dosa as opposed to just dropping a dollop in the middle. and to top it all off, it was served with not one but two delicious chutneys, which was pretty much heaven for this chutney-loving girl. on a service side, it was fast but friendly — we were in and out in half an hour, but we never felt rushed.
location: 7th cross road, malleshwaram.
number two: mtr
mtr – mavalli tiffin rooms in its full form – was a very close second in our competition. it also boasted a good dosa-masala ratio, but it was not spread as evenly as ctr’s. the biggest advantage at mtr was that they just put a giant pot of chutney in the middle of the table and allow each person to serve themselves as much as they like [as mentioned above, i really like chutney]. mtr’s dosa is also fluffy, which i like, and the little cup of ghee they provide for you to pour over your dosa is a nice touch. there’s always a long wait – ours was extra long because it was sunday morning – but the food and the friendly service are well worth the wait.
location: no 14, lalbagh main road, near urvashi theater.
number three: chalukya.
chalukya – or rather, samrat, the restaurant at chalukya – shows up on our list in third place. theirs was a very big, very filling dosa that was quite fluffy. the thing that set chalukya apart was the extra spice added to the dosa itself, giving it a spicy taste and a unique colour not seen at any of the other establishments. their chutney was very good, but sadly it was not enough for me, and their sambhar was just ok. the masala was really good but also really oily, so i felt very heavy at the end of the meal. and while the food was good, there’s no real ambience, unlike all the other places on the list; it felt very generic inside.
location: no 44, race course road, near basaveshwara circle.
number four: vidyarthi bhavan.
right behind chalukya was vidyarthi bhavan, a favourite of anthony appa’s and another old-school bangalore establishment [it opened the year my mother was born!]. famous for their servers’ unique way of carrying twenty plates of dosas one on top of another, they can also boast of good food. what impressed us the most was the dosa itself, which appears to be made of a different kind of flour, giving it a unique taste you won’t find in other places. theirs is another fluffy dosa, which i am a fan of, but there wasn’t quite enough masala to go around. and while they serve you a high volume of chutney, it wasn’t particularly noteworthy. the real highlight here was the atmosphere and service, and not so much the food.
location: no 32, gandhi bazaar main road, basavangudi.
number five: airlines.
bringing up the rear in our list of five is airlines, a favourite of many sunday morning runners [it’s very close to cubbon park, a popular running spot]. while i love the outdoor setting and all the trees, the food isn’t all that great. the dosa itself is a little too thin and crispy, and the chutney and sambhar are alright but nothing spectacular [and as you can see from the photo, there’s not enough]. the masala is spicy and delicious, but there is not nearly enough of it, so whenever i go i am left with a lot of crispy dosa and no masala to go with it. and in all honesty, the service is rather terrible. in its defense, however, i will say that their idli-vada are pretty good.
location: 4, madras bank road, shantala nagar, ashok nagar.
which of these looks most appealing to you? and which other places do i need to try?
next up: finding my favourite south indian meal!
*please note i am not claiming this is the best masala dosa in bangalore, because that is too subjective. this is simply the one i liked best and recommend highest.
**i capped it at 5 because it was a good round number and because i was ready to move on to my next food challenge. i’ll keep exploring new masala dosa places, however, and if my rankings change i’ll be sure to update this post.