Arya Bhavan in Matunga

Never mind that ‘the south’ actually comprises four states, and that the food of each state is distinct, if you’re looking to go beyond idli-dosa-vada fare, this two-level basic eatery dishes out some decent fare.

Given that the popular Sharda Bhavan is just a stone’s throw away, and the well-known Cafe Madras and Mysore Cafe are in the same neighbourhood, there is bound to be debate on who does the crispier dosa, or the fluffier idli.

Skip the standard ‘udipi’ fare, and instead try the Idiyappam (noodley rice flour cakes) with the thin, but flavourful vegetable stew, or the Coin Idlis that are served with generous amounts of the fiery Molaga Podi, a lentil and chilli powder mix commonly referred to as ‘gun powder’.

Another popular choice is the Rasam Vada. Most dishes are served with a spicy sambhar and two chutneys, including a red-chilli-coconut chutney.¬†Service is quick, which also means that it often borders on brusque. But, as the saying goes: ‘Don’t take it personal. It’s just business.’¬†

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