Karnataka’s Karavali coast is an epicurean adventure where sattvik Udupi cuisine lies sandwiched between the two extremes of South Canara/Dakshina Kannada and North Canara/Uttara Kannada. The route from Bengaluru to Mangalore and up the scenic coastal highway to Goa is every foodie’s dream run–from Kalladka tea to Kundapur chicken and Bhatkali biryani and godi halwa to the flavours of Karwar. Be prepared to OD on seafood as we help you navigate your way to the best chicken sukka and ghee roast on the coast.
This is the third in the three-part series on the best highway food stops in Karnataka. Check the list for North Karnataka here and South Karnataka here.)
Bangalore-Mangalore Road (NH-75)
Kichhana Halli Mane, Kunigal, for ragi/multi-grain dosa
A giant cut-out of Kannada actor Kichha Sudeep peeps between the trees. Halli Mane, literally ‘village home’ is styled like a large courtyard home with light pouring in from a central skylight. A black and white photograph of the actor supervises the action. The ragi and multi-grain dosas are a refreshing change from the usual.
Location: 87km from Bengaluru on NH-75 midway to Hassan, before Koppa/Yadiyur on the Mangalore highway
Tip: Right across is another popular stop Swathi Delicacy (with play area for kids and car delivery if crowded); 20km ahead Hotel Mayura at Bellur Cross has a garden restaurant with ample parking.
Pillai Mess, Hassan, for Gowda-style naati mutton biryani
It’s cramped, has limited parking/seating (max 20) and not ideal for families. Yet Pillai Mess in Hassan’s Ganigara Beedhi is worth a detour for Gowdru naati style mutton biryani. Owner Appaji is hospitable but the eatery has a finicky schedule–open only in the afternoon for a few hours, closed on Monday/Saturday and serves biryani only on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday! If the biryani is over, try khushka (biryani rice) with chicken fry or ragi mudde with mutton.
Location: Sahyadri Theatre, Near Hosaline Road, Penshan Mohalla
Ph: 9036469064 Timings: 1pm-3:30pm (Sat & Mon holiday)
Tip: The biryani costs Rs.170 and comes with 4-5 small pieces but there’s unlimited white rice and thili saaru (tomato rasam) as a chaser.
Lakshmi Nivas/KT Hotel, for Kalladka tea and Rimjhim coffee
The highway to Mangalore was once a treacherous route known for frequent accidents on the ghats. Lakshmi Nivas Hotel at Kalladka, a small highway town on Bangalore-Mangalore Road, created a strong chai as the perfect antidote for travellers and truckers struggling to stay awake on the road. After a trip to Madras, founder Lakshminarayan Holla hit upon the idea of serving it in a tiered fashion! It became famous as Kalladka Tea (or KT for short) and the hotel gained fame as KT Hotel. Grab a quick bite of local snacks like uppit-shira, sajjige bajjil, kadle usli and Mangalore buns.
Location: 30km from Mangalore on NH-75 between Upinangady and Bantwal
Ph: 08255-275359, 9448545203
Tip: Besides the chai, the signature ‘Rimjhim coffee’ too is artistically poured in layers–milk at the bottom, decoction midway and foam on top.
NH-66 (Kochi-Panvel Highway)
Hotel Pallavi, Padubidri for the ghee roast biryani
Stop for Mangalorean staples like fish curry-rice, prawn tava fry, anjal fry, crab ghee roast and the awesome chicken/prawn ghee roast biryani. Has a bar attached!
Location: Midway between Udupi and Surathkal on NH-66, 32km north of Mangalore just before Karkala-Padubidri Road junction.
Shetty Lunch Home, Kundapura, for the Kundapur chicken and ghee roast
In 1956, K Tejappa Shetty launched this iconic eatery with his wife Prabhavati’s recipes. It is legendary for chicken sukka, prawn/chicken ghee roast with neer dosa, kane tawa fry, anjal masala fry, bangda curry with white rice and the eponymous Kundapura Chicken, which was created here. The perfect stopover on a drive up the coast from Mangalore towards Goa!
Location: Just 1km down Kundapur Main Road from Shastri Park Circle on NH-66, 100km north of Mangalore.
Tip: Orders take time (Chicken ghee roast needs an hour, one can pre-order) so grab a cold beer!
Hotel Kwality/Chillies, Bhatkal for the Bhatkali biryani and godi halwa
Once a flourishing port under the Vijayanagar Empire, Bhatkal is home to the Muslim Navayath community that trace their origins to Arabia. The coastal town is known for its delectable Bhatkali biryani and glutinous godi halwa, made from wheat extract. Hotel Kwality, located on a sharp curve of the Mangalore-Karwar coastal highway, serves Bhatkal biryani (only chicken). A few kilometers ahead, Chillies, serves a diverse array of seafood like crab ghee roast, pomfret tawa fry besides Bhatkali mutton dum biryani.
Location: 142km north of Mangalore on NH-66, midway between Baindur (19km) and Murudeshwar (16km).
Tip: Take a detour into town to pick up a box of Bhatkal Super Halwa.
Hotel Amrut/Shwetha Lunch Home, Karwar, for the seafood
While passing through Karwar, don’t miss two seafood eateries in town barely a minute off the Panvel-Kochi highway. Shwetha Lunch Home at Ananda Arcade on Green Street whips out some outstanding tisra (clam), kalva (oyster) and crab sukka, sungad (prawn) masala and Bangda Mastani (mackerel in red masala steamed in banana leaves). Run by the Basarur family, their hotel food is so good, they don’t have a kitchen at home! Hotel Amrut, one lane away beside Syndicate Bank, is swankier and comes with a bar–try their delicious butter garlic prawns and other Konkani delicacies.
Location: Opposite Karwar’s Tagore Beach in Kodlibag off NH-66
Timings: 12noon-3pm; 7pm-11pm
Shwetha Lunch Home—Ph: 99866 75726, 95918 41334
Hotel Amrut—Ph: 08382-226609/645562; www.hotelamrut.com