It all began with one simple question on a foodie group on Facebook – where does one get the best Andhra meal in the city? It is brilliant how most visitors to Bengaluru crave for one as soon as they step in. Andhra food in Karnataka – yes, it can sound funny, but truth be told, it is not surprising. The city gives you that many options to choose from, really!
If you are willing to roll up your sleeves and dig into a heartfelt meal that you are not likely to forget easily, an Andhra meal is the way to go. And here are five of the favourites in Bengaluru.
Bheema’s - Located on Church Street, if you have not eaten here, you must, even if it is to shed tears from the sheer volume of chillies that are added to their food. A typical vegetarian lunch meal (which you cannot share, mind you) comes with a host of vegetables, rasam, dal, raita, papad – a fairly predictable fare. Do not forget the gunpowder with ghee though. Most people order a side of chilli chicken or a mutton fry to go with it. Even the chicken biryani is a good choice, if you do not want to eat a full meal.
Nagarjuna - Go on a weekend, and you will know how much people love this restaurant. This restaurant has five outlets in the city; the ones in Indiranagar and on Residency Road are two of the more popular ones. Apart from their lunch meal, which is quite similar to the one served at Bheema’s – at least as far as the spread is concerned – the chicken pepper, mutton fry, and the biryanis (both mutton and chicken) are popular orders.
Shreedevi - This one is in Indiranagar, and while there is no ‘ambience’ to speak of, the food is a must-try. In fact, it is probably one of the best places to grab a typical Andhra meal. You can order a Carrier Meal that has all the usual accompaniments with a lot of white rice, and, along with it, get a side of the korameenu or gongura chicken or even the spicy prawns. If you are a small eater, order the limited meal.
Rayalseema Ruchulu - A slightly upmarket restaurant, this one focuses on the food from the Rayalseema region of Andhra Pradesh. If you order a vegetarian thali, what you get is ragi sangati, two vegetable preparations, dal, sambar, rasam, curd, and rice. For non-vegetarians, chicken fry and mutton pulusu is added on. The food here is quite high on the spice factor, so be ready to weep a little. Some of the other recommendations here would be the Andhra kodi kura, Nellore chepala pulusu, or the kheema pulao. This restaurant is in Indiranagar, with an outlet in Whitefield opening soon.
Coringa - The À la carte menu at Coringa (in Yelahanka) has won rave reviews from Bangaloreans (and yes, some criticism too). Some of the recommendations here would be grilled royyalu (shrimps served with three different kinds of chutneys), gongura mutton (a delightful semi-dry preparation that has a lovely, tangy flavour thanks to the gongura), and the mutton chops. Appetizers such as the chilli bajji and arbi fry are two of the must-eat dishes here. If they have crabs in the house, try the crabmeat biryani as well. This would also be a good place to try some interesting desserts; try the mamidi tandra, which is basically thin sheets of dried mango jelly served with thickened milk.
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.