On a Thali Trail in the Historic City of Mysuru

From niche Madhva Brahmin cuisine to a rustic farmer’s meal of jowar rotis and brinjal curry.

Arathi Menon

The restaurant scene in Mysore is certainly changing to catering to a bustling younger crowd that’s moving into the city. The crowd puller, however, continues to be the good old South Indian vegetarian eateries that serve authentic food from this part of the world. Anybody could argue that there’s hardly anything that can beat the delight that a plate of hot idli-vadas or dosas can offer in the south. Equally popular at these places are the thalis that let you get the real taste of the place. So here are four thalis you must try when in Mysore.


South Indian lunch thali at Dasaprakash/Hotel Paradise, Yadavgiri


One of the oldest hotels in Mysore, Dasaprakash has a good reputation when it comes to food served at their restaurant, Vishala. The lunch thali particularly is a good sample for what gets prepared at South Indian homes during meal times. There’s sambar, rasam, curd, palya (dry subzi) with any vegetable, one flavoured rice (that changes every day) from the region, puris or chapatis and a curry to go with it and a sweet to complete the fare. It’s quintessentially South Indian; the “North Indian” curry to go with the puris being the only aberration. But we can cut them some slack because without the puris and the curry, the thali simply would be incomplete.


What we loved: The flavoured rice. You’re lucky if it’s Bisi Bele Bath. BBB that translates to hot-dal-rice is Karnataka’s own particular rice and dal preparation with masalas which is served bisi, bisi.


Price: Rs 144


Sunday special meals at Anima Madhava Bhavan, V V Mohalla


Anima serves the Madhva Brahman food from Dakshina Kannada. They say the food has no onion and no garlic and no kind of preservatives or synthetic flavourings go into the preparation. It’s prepared fresh and you know it when you eat it. On Sundays and special occasions like festivals, they serve a special meal that should not be missed. Apart from the usual suspects like rice, sambar, rasam, palya, majjige (buttermilk) and curd, this meal also has chapathis and a curry, pulav, kosambari (raw salad with moong dal), saasam (a dish made with pineapple or manogoes) and a sweet dish or payasa. On special occasions and Sundays though, they give you a snack, mostly a chilli bajji and a holige (sweet stuffed chapathi) in addition to all these. The highlight is the holige or obbatu (akin to the puran poli in Maharashtra) prepared with steamed and crushed chanal dal and jaggery with oodles of ghee. What more, this meal is unlimited, except for theholige. 

What we loved: Holige, holige, holige. And yea the kosambari and saasam.


Price: Rs 170 on Sundays/ Rs 110 on weekdays


Jolada Roti Thali at Nalpak Restaurants, multiple locations


Let’s take a turn from the course and go to Nalpak restaurants to have an Uttara Kannada or North Karnataka jowar roti meal. A chain of restaurants spread across the city, Nalpak is Mysore’s own eatery. These jowar rotis are super soft and fluffy served with ‘yennegai’ a Dharwad-style eggplant preparation where egg plants are stuffed with masalas, fried and come dipped in a flavourful curry. This pairing alone is pure bliss. No points for guessing that there is sambar, rasam and majjige with this meal as well. They also serve a palya (vegetable side dish) with beans, either black eyed peas or hyacinth beans if it’s in season. This meal also comes with various kinds of spicy pickles and powders and sabudana papador friesthat taste splendid. To feed the sweet tooth, there is a banana and an icecream at the end of the meal.


What we loved: Jowar roti and yennegai


Price: Rs 100


Mini tiffin combo at A2B Restaurants near Mysore Railway Station


In many parts of South India, breakfast is terms tiffin. A tiffin could be anything from dosas and idlis to vadasor upma. The mini breakfast combo at A2B restaurant gives a sample of how an elaborate South Indian breakfast feels like. The combo provides a small masala dosa, a mini idli and a vada and small portions of khara bath (upma) or pongal and kesari bath which is a sweet dish made with semolina, ghee and sugar. The best part however are the chutneys; there are three of them in three different colours—white, red and green. A cup of coffee or tea also comes as part of the thali.


What we loved: Mouthwatering chutneys. Pongal is a must try too.  


Price: Rs 90

Image Courtesy: Priyamvada Kowshik


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