While oldies like Tandoor and Ceaser’s still stand, today’s culinary savvy Bangaloreans have plenty to choose from (at least three new restaurants open in Bangalore every week), thanks to the influx of expats and well travelled immigrants from neighbouring states.
Pizzerias started ditching Amul cheese for gouda and stone fired ovens, while restaurants began to offer more authentic food and even specialising in subsets within food genres.
Now you can take your spoon out and eat Japanese and Brazilian, Lebanese and African and even French food, cooked by a French chef. So, destroy every giant list of Bangalore restaurants that clutter your heart and head and keep this. Featuring just one (best) restaurant for each international cuisine in the city, we like to think of it as a definitive list of intercontinental feasting. Grab your passport; we’re going on tour.
Note: Guiding your palate, are the marker dishes for each cuisine, that should rightly give you an indication of authenticity.
You know you’re in for a symmetrical assembly line that evenly balances flavour and texture when you’re out for a Japanese meal. Rice forms the base of a hearty meal with fresh, seasonal ingredients and while Sushi is their most popular export it’s the ability to lend delicacy to fish that makes the food shine.
The Marker Dish: A soupy bowl of ramen, with half boiled egg.
Recommendation: Sakae is Bangalore’s best kept Japanese secret. Incongruously located on Double Road opposite the Shanti Nagar bus stand, this is not where you’d expect to bump into the city’s small Japanese community. Here the prices are low but the food is authentic. Be sure to try the Hoikoro, a dish of double cooked pork slices with miso paste and the pork ramen too. We accept your Arigato in advance.
Sakae – #90, Double Road, Shanthi Nagar, call 49653424. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 1,600. Full bar available.
Bonus Recommendation: Matsuri, The Chancery Hotel, Lavelle Road and Harima, Residency Road.
Quite like Indian food, Brazilian cuisine has its heart in spices. Typically, these family style meals are heavy on meat and full of attitude. While meals vary by region, the cuisine in general has European and African influences. Root vegetables, polenta, palm oil, tapioca, spicy pork sausages, rice, beans and mangos can be spotted at the meal table. Pao de queijo (or cheesy bread) is our favourite, paired of course, with that famously sexy Brazilian coffee.
The Marker Dish: pork sausages.
Recommendation: Churrascaria Brazil is Bangalore’s only Brazilian restaurant run by a couple who have recently moved to the city. With fixed menus and BBQ options, the decision making is easy here. You’ll also find a small portion of stews and the famous cheese bread included in the menu. The names of the dishes may be tongue twisters, but your palate will be pleased with the smokey pork sausages and the saucy beef sides.
Churrascaria Brazil – 218, Sunshine Complex, Kamanahalli, call 9741423836. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 1300. No bar available.
The boot shaped nation can turn even the simplest of ingredients into an extravagance. Every region has a distinct flavour and the produce is celebrated and elevated with refined simplicity. While our parents had Casa Piccola, we have… well, a whole lot more. No more desi-style overcooked pasta, thank you very much. (We do miss the killer profiterole though).
Recommendation: Chianti brings a bit of Italy to the very chaotic 12th main in Indiranagar. Walk in and shut out the sounds of city in this little café and be sure to try more than just the pizza. We recommend a fluffy gnocchi in butter sauce and the spinach ravioli. But if you really want to indulge, take yourself straight to Capri with Chianti’s seafood platter.
Chianti – #960, 12th main, Indiranagar, call 4126400. A meal for two with a glass of wine each is Rs 2,000.
Bonus Recommendation: Toscano in UB City.
Is there anyone who doesn’t have more than the occasional craving for Chinese food? Whichever version of it you like best (no one can deny the power of greasy Indian Chinese food), this Asian cuisine is the picture of comfort food. The dishes are aromatic, colourful and versatile, with steaming bowls of soup, yarn balls of noodles, plates of stir fried greens and tons of pork for prosperity. Who needs a fortune cookie?
Marker Dish: Steamed Dim Sum
Recommendation: It’s difficult to pick one recommendation for great Chinese food in Bangalore when nearly every fifth restaurant has a Chinese spread and every second cart peddles fried rice. But at Memories of China you can be sure to travel through the region with flair. The food is well balanced and delicious and the room almost always demands a celebration.
Memories of China – #41.3 Vivanta by Taj, Trinity Junction, MG Road, call 66604444. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 3,000 without alcohol.
Bonus Recommendation: Mainland China, Church Street.
Lamb, chickpeas, fruits, chicken , bread, pickled vegetables: sounds like the kind of staple diet we can live on. We haven’t found Lebanese arak (star anise flavoured liquour) in Bangalore yet, but the hunt is on.
Marker Dish: Chicken Shawarma
Recommendations: Al Amanah Café is where the Arab students head after a day of English classes for cheap (but delicious) shawarma and rolls. It’s packed at all hours. Nearby, at Hadramawat Restaurant, the owner once said to us: “You won’t like the food here. It’s authentic and made for them,” while pointing at the Arab students who were getting their fill of Mandi Chicken and Zrbian Rice.
Al Amana Café – 20, 5th Avenue, 5th Main Road, Kammanahalli, call 9900029506, Rs 65 for a chicken roll; 189/2, Kammanahali Road, Ramaiah Layout, Kacharakanahalli, Rs 150 onwards.
Bonus Recommendation: Majlis, Kalyan Nagar
There’s much glamour (and butter) associated with French food what with their many Michelin star restaurants and cakes you want to Instagram all day long. But even their basic spread of bread, wine and cheese can keep you happy for weeks. The French enjoy escargot or snails cooked in butter, liver pate and rabbit. And the many boulangeries show you exactly how baking should be done, vending all types of bread, quiches and pastries.
Recommendations: Le Casse Croute, a food truck run by two French nationals, is the only place in Bangalore where you can get your hands on an authentic French croquette. Also hitch a ride for their other experiments with cheese and béchamel.
Le Casse Croute – Follow them on their Facebook page for location updates.
Bonus Recommendation: Café Noir, UB City
Vietnamese cuisine is an homage to fragrance, texture and colour. A typical meal includes rice, vegetables, steamed fish and a dipping sauce. Wilted greens also form a large part of the diet, adding just the right amount of crunch.
Marker Dish: Pho
Recommendations: Phobidden Fruit finds its way on top of the list of Bangalore’s favourite Asian food restaurants. The star of the menu is usually their tangy and spicy fried rice and noodle dishes. Be sure to order a double of the spring rolls and tamarind prawn fry.
Phobidden Fruit – 965, 12th main, Indiranagar, call 41107745. A meal for two costs Rs 1,600. Full bar available.
Bonus recommendation: Hannoi, Koramangala
So go travel, and remember that in this scenario, there’s no shame in bringing back doggy bags. You can just pass them off as souvenirs.
Korean food hits the right note of balance in flavour and health. A perfect meal involves vegetables, a pickled salad, protein and rice. Perhaps the earthiest of Asian cuisines, Korean food is still finding its way to the Indian palate.
Marker Dish: Pork Bulgogi
Recommendations: Thran in Kalyan Nagar is a small family run café with minimum frills and maximum authenticity. Come in for an extravagant stone pot meal and stay for an Ojenjio Deobpap with squid. Thran may not have any dessert, but be sure to end your meal with a calming cinnamon tea. Also see Kammanahalli’s Korean Bakery and Café for chef Jee Jun Goo’s delicious bakes that include red and green bean Korean buns, fluffy pound cake and cinnamon and mocha bread (11, Fernandes Complex)
Thran – 507, 4th cross, 2nd block, CMR Road, Kalyan Nagar, call 42050685. A meal for two costs Rs 1600. Limited Bar menu available.
Bonus Recommendation: Hae Kum Gang, Wood Street.
This story was contributed by the team at brownpaperbag.in, a culture and lifestyle portal in Mumbai, Delhi & Bangalore.