Known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India,’ Bengaluru, or Bangalore, is a thriving cosmopolitan city. Due to its global importance as an IT hub, it’s a popular destination for business travellers, but if you’re visiting Bangalore for work, make sure you take time out to explore this fascinating place.
As one of the many expats currently living in Bangalore, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite places to eat, drink, shop and visit. I’ve also found this handy guide to the city if you’d like more information .
A Global Feast
The numerous restaurants in Bangalore cater to an increasingly international population. Pan-Asian food is particularly popular in the city. Mamagoto, in the Indiranagar neighbourhood, provides a contemporary twist on Asian classics.
One of my favourite restaurants is Toast and Tonic, around Richmond Road area. This is an upmarket establishment with a diverse, international menu. They serve the best pho I’ve tried in Bengaluru.
Indian food has a huge amount of regional variation and in Bangalore, you can try dishes from all around the country. Fort Kochi, with three outlets across the city, serves Keralan dishes and is renowned for its fresh seafood.
Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (or MTR), established in 1924, is an institution in Bangalore, with a few outlets across the city. Here you can try local dishes, such as masala dosa, which is a crispy rice pancake stuffed with spiced potato and served with coconut chutney.
If you want a taste of local life as well as local flavour, make sure you visit V. V Puram, or Food Street, in Central Bangalore. This bustling street is lined with food stalls that make delicious vegetarian snacks fresh to order.
Places to Drink
Bangalore is renowned for its huge amount of pubs and bars. Microbreweries and craft beer have taken off in a big way in recent years. The Biere Club, on Lavelle Road, is well known for its excellent tasting home-brewed beers. The Arbor Brewing Company, on Brigade Road, is also a microbrewery worth visiting.
I highly recommend the Permit Room on Magrath Road. It has a fantastic South Indian menu and a large range of very reasonably priced cocktails.
Enoteca Wine Boutique, on Sarjapur Main Road, sells over 600 varieties of wine. It refers to itself as a ‘wine library’, as it also teaches courses and conducts tasting sessions. Every Wednesday evening, they have a two-hour wine appreciation workshop.
Once known as the ‘Garden City’, Bangalore still has plenty of green spaces, despite its rapidly expanding population. Lalbagh Botanical Garden was built by Tipu Sultan and his father, the rulers of Mysore Kingdom, in the 18th century. It is famed for its intricate glass house and for having over a thousand species of flora. What’s more, it’s an excellent place for people watching.
Bangalore Palace, deliberately designed in the style of Windsor Castle, is also worth a visit. This opulent, luxurious building was built for the 23rd Maharaja of Mysore.
Shop until you drop
Bangalore is great for shopping, as it offers everything from local markets through to chic handicrafts and glitzy shopping malls.
UB city is arguably Bengaluru’s most upmarket mall. This opulent, air-conditioned building houses many designer brands, such as Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton and its chic open-air restaurant area is a popular haunt for the city’s expat population. 1MG Road Mall is another popular luxury mall – I particularly recommend visiting Fab India, for some excellent handmade clothes, ceramics and soft furnishings.
Locals flock to Commercial Street to buy clothes, jewellery and handicrafts. Make sure you check out the lanes, leading off the main road too – there are all sorts of treasures to be found there.