I’ve often thought that a nomad like me is just not cut out to enjoy a city. Time and again, my two years in Delhi reinforced that belief. But when I decided to pack my bags and make the road my home (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely), something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Bangalore. Even on a summer afternoon, Bangalore was a breath of fresh air. People hung out on the streets, quaint cafes lurked around every corner, breweries served up handcrafted beers, and the cool weather was perfect for pleasant strolls. Here’s my ode to the city, and a lowdown for your next trip to Bangalore:
WHERE TO STAY
- The Elanza Hotel, Richmond Road. I’ve tried several boutique accommodations in Bangalore over different trips, and found Elanza the most delightful – chic yet homely – so much that I’ve gone back and checked in multiple times. The modern rooms are comparable to a five-star hotel, the staff friendly and willing to go far out of their way to make your stay comfortable, the breakfast buffet well worth waking up for, and the location convenient (walking or short auto ride distance to lots of nice cafes and restos in the city centre). I’ve scored it for as low as INR 3,000 per night on Makemytrip, really excellent value for money!
- [Update: I earlier recommend Roerich Grand Hotel, but since their management changed in early 2014, I don’t recommend them anymore. The last time I booked, I was shocked to find the rooms shabby and the staff unconcerned.]
- Au Bon Pain, Brigade Road. Most coffee shops open around 10 am, but if you find yourself walking the streets in the wee hours of the morning, grab a bite at this gourmet bakery (opens at 7 am). The freshly prepared basil pesto and cheese croissant and the mango smoothie are must tries.
- Art of Bicycle Trips. I accepted their invite to cycle along a 25 km stretch on the outskirts of Bangalore, and it changed everything I knew about the city. We pedaled along mango orchards, wine groves, farms and lakes – flat, scenic, tranquil country roads for the most part. They hold weekend bicycle rides often; the meeting point is RT Nagar, the bikes are in great shape with a safety vehicle, the pricing (at INR 3,000 per person) is more than reasonable, and the guides are a fun bunch. I can’t wait to do longer rides with them. Highly recommended!
- Meghana Foods, Residency Road. Literally a stone’s throw away from Roerich Grand Hotel is this busy biryani joint. It serves some of the best vegetarian biryani I’ve ever tasted, complete with curry and raita, on a banana leaf. I loved it so much, I had it twice in two days.
- BonSouth, Koramangala. What a treat! For some 500 rupees, you get an all-you-can-eat buffet, and I loved the vegetarian starters (south Indian flavors, don’t ask me names yet) so much that I barely had space for the main course. The staff was lovely, and came chasing after us when we were leaving – no tipping allowed! Seriously, don’t miss it.
- Starbucks, Church Street. Bangalore’s first Starbucks opened in the heart of the city and I love it. Spacious and varied seating upstairs, fast and free Wifi, lots of charging points, yummy frappuccinos and plenty of opportunities to eavesdrop on interesting conversations.
- Arbor Brewing Company, Magrath Road. If your creativity flows with beer, this microbrewery for you. The food is nothing to write home about, but the beers are refreshing and the ambiance is awesome even during the day.
JUST TO CHILL
- [Update: The quality of food had fallen considerably on my last visit in 2014] Green Theory Cafe, Convent Road. An oasis in the middle of the city, this is your break from city life (not that you’ll need one in Bangalore, atleast in your first 24 hours!). With leafy green surroundings, this vegetarian / vegan cafe serves up delicious nachos and pizzas, cooked using organic ingredients.
- Matteo Coffea, Church Street. With an alfresco sit-out for people watching, Matteo seems to be a favorite among locals. There’s free Wifi too, but don’t expect to get much done with no charging points.
GRAB A BEER
- The Biere Club, Lavelle Road. An after-work hangout of choice, this microbrewery has a chirpy ambiance, complete with funky wall paintings, a rustic bar, and a whole range of in-house brews to sample.
- Toit, 100 Feet Road. Not one I had the chance to try, but it came highly recommended from my Facebook and Twitter networks. Good beers, great ambiance, they say.
- Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR), Lalbagh Road. I didn’t have the time to try it, but they say it has the best South Indian food in town, and possibly all of India!
- The Glass House, Lavelle Road. A classy hideout in the centre of the city yet away from it all. We hung out for hours on the glass deck upstairs, sampling drinks and indulging in the eggplant-pesto starter.
Over to you, how do you recommend exploring and tasting Bangalore?
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Post updated: October 2015. Featured image by Arup Malakar.
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes in the transformative power of travel.
Thanks for the recommendations Shivya!!! I usually go to Bangalore once a year so now I know some places to hangout.
Glad to hear that, Karan! See the comments below too. Lots of good ideas there 🙂
Been to Bangalore a couple of times and I absolutely love the city for its yummy weather. That, and some fabulous cafes and book shops I came across. For the bookworms out there, Blossoms is a lovely place to spend time browsing through books and hunting (filled with hope) for old, rare editions among the second-hand pile of books tucked away in one corner of the first floor. Goobe’s is another quaint bookstore half hidden away in a basement down the road from Blossoms. This one has a really eclectic mix of books and back when I chanced upon it, what drew me to the store was a bright sign saying “Unlimited reading for Rs 250/- per month!” which sounded blissful. 🙂
And MTR is as stupendous as they say it is! My boyfriend is absolutely crazy about the place, to the extent that we almost missed a flight this one time because he literally could not stop eating in order for us to leave for the airport!
Blossoms sounds awesome, as does Goobe’s. I’ll definitely check them out next time! And hope to make it to MTR too this time. Must be really something if it’s worth missing a flight for 😉
Bookmarked this – it’s going to be very useful the next time I go to Bangalore! Also thanks for the hotel recommendation – I was looking for a budget place that’s safe enough for a girl to stay in alone – will try Roerich then 🙂
Glad to hear that, Madhu! Yes, Roerich was great; try booking it through a travel site like Yatra / Travelguru for better rates though.
Forgot to add – I had the MTR lunch once, and it was one of the best meals of my life!
Can;t wait to go back and try it myself 🙂
Brilliant take on Bangalore – Made me miss it terribly
Thanks 🙂 Made me miss it while writing this too!
Bangalore is definitely a cool city with its many hangout joints. I use to love the morning breakfast at Pecos.
Going to try it next time!
For people like me who would like to go once a year to bangalore this is a great guide!.. could you do one for delhi and mumbai as well?!
Thanks Dhawal! Yeah, that’s ze plan 🙂
Awesome, handy guide. Some mouthwatering enticing foods as well:)
Thanks 🙂 I’m avoiding re-reading this post for that reason!
Sounds like you had a fun time in Bangalore! 🙂
Having lived in Bangalore for over 4 years now, I can safely say that there is a lot more to this city. Here are a few personal favourites:
1. Walking along the market roads in Malleshwaram or Basavanagudi – it is such a colourful scene, great for photography. Puts you in a very festive mood if visited just before a festival.
2. Book shopping at Blossoms Book House, Church Street
3. Shopping for magazines and watching the cats at Magazines, Church Street
4. Filter coffee at Shanti Sagar
5. Sitting by the artificial lake in Orion Mall
6. Jana Pada Loka and South Indian food at the next-door Kamath Lokaruchi
7. Yummylicious barbecued food at Barbeque Nation
8. Mexican food at Taco Bell
9. Bisi bele bhaat at Adigas or at Nisarga Garden, Infantry Road. Vada sambar and obattu at Nisarga are great, too.
10. Desserts at Dolci, A Spoonful of Sugar or Cafe Noir
11. Visiting and photographing the many beautiful temples and churches around the city
12. Pastries from Sweet Chariot
13. Masala bread at Iyengar Bakery
14. Ice creams at Naturals and Corner House
What an awesome list! Thanks for sharing it 🙂 Will take me a few more trips to sample all of it.
Great to read your thoughts on Bangalore. I have spent 15 years there and still miss it.
Hope you are having a great time ! 🙂
Wow, that’s a long time, Pallavi! I’m sure it has changed much since though. Would be interesting to hear how, when you visit next 🙂
Being a resident Bangalorean, I absolutely love the city I grew up in. A lot of things have changed and the city is on its way to the Metropolitan clique, much to the dismay of many old timers and younger generations who had a taste of the old city like myself. So one of my favourite things to suggest is to get up relatively early and enjoy the quiet, weather and the nature by taking a walk through areas that still have their green cover or cubbon park. There is something to do for people of all interests and certainly have it’s fair share of restaurants and pubs (true to the Bangalore lore). So the best would be to get a great mix of the local hole in the wall places that offer quality South Indian food as well as the brews and dips in fancier environs. Same can be said of things to do depending on varied interests, as people have suggested! Next time you are here, do send word so more suggestions can be made 🙂 The city has a way of drawing people in and charming people, especially given the weather.
I understand where you’re coming from, Janani! I’ve heard much about how it’s changed too, but still continues to be an inviting city. Shall certainly ping you the next time there, or feel free to leave your suggestions here too, so everyone can read them 🙂
aww- good suggestions Shivya! so glad that you liked Bangalore 🙂 🙂
Besides these, some other favourites are: Koshys (good for breakfasts), Yoga House (organic food and nice ambience), The Only Place (amazing steaks), Bangalore walks (awesome walks in Lalbaug followed by a breakfast at MTR and history walk at MG road followed by a breakfast at a sexy location), Malleshwaram- CTR for yummy Dosas and Veena house for the softest idlis
Besides the breweries, Bangalore also has a good theatre scene – must try is Ranga Shankara at Jayanagar!!
All in all- Im just 9 months old in this city and I lovvvvvvveee it 🙂
Oh wow, thanks for all these ideas. Reading all the comments here, I certainly have so many more reasons to go back! Soon I hope 🙂 And hope to catch up with you this time too!
Shivya, you managed to pack in quite a few corners of the city in 24 hours!
MTR is a must of course. There is also Daddy’s Deli and Red Fork. Two restaurants on the same property in Indiranagar owned by a father-son duo. Daddy’s deli serves up great Parsi food and Red Fork has fantastic ‘continental’ for lack of a better word. As a fellow vegetarian, their zucchini and corn pancakes are fabulous, among other things on the menu. Like their desserts!
Another must-try if you are staying longer is Grasshopper. You need to reserve in advance. No walk-ins. Its a little bit of a trek from the city but its certainly worth it! They grow their own organic veggies and normally do 6-7 course meals. You have to be hungry.
And lastly Nagarjuna for palak dal rice with tons of ghee and gun powder. And for a good nights sleep. 🙂
Picnic-ing in Lalbaugh or Cubbon Park is pretty fun as well.
Having moved here 8 months ago, I do LOVE it. The weather makes it all better!
Jealous of all you people who’re spending so much longer in the city. Woes of having such itchy feet 😉 Hope to come back and try all your suggestions soon.
And I did these over 2.5 days, but picked my favorites for 24 hours!
Its the lazy garden city! Glad you took your time. 🙂 Come visit soon…
Cannot wait to try these places out in October. Especially the craft beer stuff
You’re going to love em! Especially the Biere Club and Arbor Brewing Company. Tell me when you’re there, I’ll pop by if I’m somewhere around.
Great..I am a frequent visitor to Bangalore but never heard of these place. Thanks for sharing..
Good afternoon sir , travel regularly Bangalore booking bus tickets http://www.bestbus.in
we get discount offers festival AND normal days
than Q sir
Have seen Bangalore this time with a different eye. Great! 🙂
You are still to explore a lot in that awesome city 🙂
Nice info ….next time u visit blr do try Egg factory for breakfast and I could also recommend Cafe pasuchi for free wifi and Sky bar lounge in UB city for drinks,food and awesome music 🙂
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Coffee on Canvas, Koramangala is a good place with free wifi. The food’s good too and so is the ambience. 🙂
Pecos is one place i’d recommend (on brigade road) . Nothing great about the food and the beer. But it’s a time capsule for people who love listening to Floyd and Doors. 🙂
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The old Bangalore food tour is a must. Begin with crispy vadas at Sri Raghvendra Store, the best crunchy dosas dipping in butter at CTR and the unpretentious Varriar bakery..also try out the numerous darshinis (standing restaurants) around bangalore
i wish i could live your life 🙂
Simple yet powerful post!
I comfortably called myself a Bangalorean after 8 years of being here! I came from New Delhi after studying there for 4 years and as you can already imagine, I fell in love on day 1. The weather, the food the greenery and the city itself will call you back!
Glad I am here! 🙂
next time in bangalore do check out masala dosa of ctr malleshwaram
Amazing site and forward vision…, Thanks for the info I am travelling to Bangalore for the first time starting 13th March to 17th March all alone, Need to Eat the best of South Indian food and visit some good places to wind up the day and then back in action, am used to bar hoping as we did at Koh Tao Thailand, Its a special Island only for certified divers, Any tips/ suggestions are welcome
PS: I really like spicy food and CRISP draft beer
I was in Bangalore last month, and had gone to this quaint little cafe in Indiranagar – Leaping Windows. You can grab a cup of coffee and read through some vintage comic books too. I’m sure you’d love the place!
Hy its always great to read you’r blog. I have lived in Bangalore for almost 6 and half years and i have been to almost all the places you have mentioned ad they are great. Apart from this there are few restaurants and cafe i suggest anyone travelling to Bangalore should try
1. Nando’s at church street offers some of the great Portuguese,African cuisine.
2.Cafe Pascucci at J P Nagar 2nd phase is a great place to hang out.
3. Matteo Coffea at church street serves great coffee and has the best ambience.
4. Sunny’s at lavelle road is one of the most preferred restaurant for some European cuisine.
5. Ganesh Darshan at Jayanagar 3rd block serves best South Indian filter Coffee.
6. Tangra at 4th block is great for some Pan-Asian delicacies and lastly the Death by Chocolate Ice cream by Corner House is a must try.
For shopping, there is nothing better than Commercial Street.
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Love that pic of cycling, which place was that?
Living in Bangalore these names are very familiar though I dont hang around, interesting post.
Loved the fact that you loved Namma Bengaluru! 🙂 Little ashamed of myself for not having looked at Bangalore this way in a while (the traffic gets on the nerves, man!). You reminded me of the core Bangalore 🙂 Great post! You have explored the city very well, Shivya.
Even though I’d like to see travelers try traditional stuff, eat traditional food in Bangalore, I like this list too because this is what I do in Bangalore. Most travel bloggers suggest what lot of traditional Bangaloreans do, this is honest. There should be balance. Nice post.
The Glass house s beautiful. Too bad they have closed it down now 🙁 Next time try Koshys. It is a ol school cafe on Church street. Their Black tea is a delight 🙂
You have covered every best thing about Bangalore. I miss eating Masala dose in Bangalore and its beautiful weather!