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8 Best Places in Bengaluru for Unforgettable Ramzan Food

Where to start when looking for the perfect 'Iftari' spread in Bengaluru this Ramadan? Here's a list of eight most iconic places known for their taste and heritage.

8 Best Places in Bengaluru for Unforgettable Ramzan Food

Cover pic credits: Left pic: Instagram: Rajarshi Ghosh, Right pic: Twitter: Shivani Kava

If you’ve lived in India long enough, you aren’t a stranger to the khau gallis (streets lined with food stalls). But as familiar as you might be with these, they take on a completely new avatar during the holy month of Ramadan. 

A slew of stalls pop up in addition to the pre-existing ones to cater to the burgeoning demand. And as their clientele testifies, their meaty affairs are fit for kings. With every stall claiming to be the best and serving truly delicious meals, the overall effect is quite chaotic, exuberant and thrilling.

This Ramadan as you take a walk with The Better India through the khau gallis of Bengaluru, take a moment to absorb it all in. Be prepared for the aromas of nalli nihari (a mutton stew cooked with spices), the sizzling sounds of kebabs (meat roasted on skewers) hitting the oil and the gentle bubbling of shirkurma (a Mughlai dessert made with vermicelli, milk and nuts) to meet your senses as you walk down the Frazer Town. 

Pushing aside the notion that iftar (the meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan to break the day-long fast) is a meat-heavy feast, these stalls are also focusing on their lentil-based fares, fruit desserts and south Indian snacks. There is something for everyone. 

1. Albert Bakery

The chicken quiches at Albert Bakery are a hit item along with the mutton bheja puffs
The chicken quiches at Albert Bakery are a hit item along with the mutton bheja puffs, Picture source: Instagram: Chowder Singh

The cocktail samosas, hot cross buns and mutton bheja puffs (a savoury, flaky pastry with sheep brain stuffing) at this iconic bakery do not need an occasion to make an appearance. Started by a man named Mohammad Suleman in 1902, the bakery was set up in a godown in Sangam Lane off Kamaraj Road. And, for over a century, it has been serving its customers snacks that are said to be “too good to be true”. But what is now acclaimed for its meat-heavy menu was once a go-to spot for biscuits and bread that found customers in the British in the Cantonment area. That being said, no trip to the bakery is complete without trying out the mutton keema samosa (a snack made with minced mutton), chicken malai cutlet and chicken roll.

2. Karama Restaurant 

Any guest who stops by the famous Karama Restaurant — which is known for its mutton dishes — is roped in to try the ‘Mohabbat ka Sharbat’. The iconic drink is prepared by mixing milk with watermelon chunks, sugar and rose syrup and the result is a gastronomic delight. An interesting story prequels the invention of this drink. Unable to get the woman of his dreams to say yes to marrying him, a heartbroken Nawab Qureshi moved from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi. Looking for a way to express this unrequited love, he came up with the pink drink as a symbol. At Karama, not only will you find this drink but also a host of Kashmiri, Arabic and Mughlai cuisines to choose between.  The must-haves on the menu are tandoori chicken, kalmi kebabs (chicken drumsticks) and teetar fry (fried quail). 

3. Makkah Cafe 

They say the best way to find your way to this place is by trying to spot the crowds. More often than not, that serves as the marker of the popular Makkah Cafe where everyone — from businessmen to college-goers to couples and retired folk — comes for their piping hot cup of Sulaimani tea (spiced black tea without milk). While you are here, at least one person is sure to treat you to the tale of how the Johnson Market (where the cafe is located) was once a group of stables before the British took over in the 1920s and transformed the place. Years later in 1984, the Makkah Cafe — originally called ‘Makkah Stores’ — was started by a man named Farooq Khan, who popularised the one rupee chai and 60 paisa samosa breakfast. While the prices have dramatically changed today, the old-world charm remains.  

4. Charminar Kabab Paradise 

Plating up flavours that are both traditional and fusion is the Charminar Kabab Paradise. But through the decades that the place has remained relevant, one signature dish has been the ‘Charminar Special Mutton Anda Keema Roti’. Try it out! And we recommend if you still have space in your tummy, you can sample the barbeque chicken tikka, the chicken seekh roll, the patther ghosht (a lamb dish cooked with spices), chicken cutlets, and camel meat kebabs. A meal at this spot panders to both the palate as well as the eyes as you watch juicy marinated pieces of meat transforming into the most delicious snacks right in front of your eyes. 

5. Rahhams Families International 

Mutton seekh kebabs are a delicacy during the holy month of Ramadan and a popular item at the khau gallis
Mutton seekh kebabs are a delicacy during the holy month of Ramadan and a popular item at the khau gallis, Picture source: Wikipedia

The story of this eatery starts in 1988 when a man named Abdul Rashid began selling home-cooked biryani from his kitchen. Today, the business has expanded and is helmed by Rashid’s son, Muddasir, who still follows the same recipe set by his dad. For anyone who is looking for recommendations to try here, we hear that the ghee rice, the tawa fried Noorani mutton chops, the mutton seekh kebabs (minced mutton cooked on skewers), the chicken sholay kebas (boneless chicken that is deep-fried) and the deep fried teetar (quail) are hits. 

6. Chichaba’s Taj

Our story begins one afternoon in the summer of 1934 when a young spice trader, Abdul Rahman, was having a heated conversation with a customer. The customer wanted to return the stock of spices he had just purchased claiming that they were not good. But Rahman’s stance was firm. He only sold the best spices. So, to prove his point he cooked a meal of biryani using the same batch of spices and invited the customer to taste it. Needless to say, the customer loved it. This was the inception of Rahman’s biryani outlet that started in 1935. Founded in a small hut that he rented for Rs 20 a month on Jumma Masjid Road, Rahman was fondly called chichaba (respected uncle) and eventually, the eatery came to be known as Chichaba’s Taj. Owing to the reputation Rahman built for himself, the third generation of the family continues seeing the result of his labour of love. In fact, the eatery is a favourite of 2019 MasterChef Australia contestant, Sandeep Pandit. 

7. Hotel Fanoos 

Hotel Fanoos’ modus operandi is rooted in regional tradition and heritage recipes. From a humble kebab kiosk opened in 1975 by the late Ajaz Husain to the famous outlet it now is, the restaurant has come a long way. However, catering to the city’s trademark gastronomy isn’t the only reason behind its success. Sheer hard work is also to credit. As Shahid, Ajaz’s son recalls in an interview with The New Indian Express, “This place started small. My father was the son of an influential man. But he wanted to make a name for himself. So he started selling kebabs in a handcart.” He added that the magic lay in the masalas his father ground. Following Ajaz’s death, Shahid found the secret recipes written down on sheets of paper in his father’s wardrobe. And that’s how the legacy continues. 

8. Sharief Bhai 

Expect to see some phenomenal trademark gastronomy at this eatery located in Bengaluru. The spice quotient is kept intact and so are the traditional flavours that are characteristic of a Ramadan feast. It is hearsay that the eatery’s patthar gosht (lamb marinated in pepper and spices), the gosht shami kabab (a mutton patty stuffed with a boiled egg), the nalli nihari (lamb leg served in a spicy curry), the gosht cutt kufte ande (brown gravy made with horse gram, meatballs and boiled eggs), and the phirni (a thick creamy pudding made from ground rice) are truly delicious. 

Edited by Padmashree Pande.

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