Food. Food. Food. Some of us just travel for trying out food from a different place. Gone are the days when you would carefully take MTR packets on your international sojourns. Or at least that’s what we hope for! Today’s generation craves the local food and cuisine.
Foodstagram has made it possible for us to drool virtually. In our series on local cuisine, we start off with the humble khanavalis. This year, as we close in on 70 years of independence, let us celebrate by looking at our own kitchen and discover those forgotten but still surviving cuisines that are and have been our very own, authentic and cherished creations.
Today, let’s celebrate the khanavalis, quaint eateries also known as Savji Khanavali or Savji Bhojanalaya.
Khanavalis: Where food reigns supreme
As you can break down from the name itself, “khanavalis” are small, inexpensive, family-style restaurants, which serve north-Karnataka style food.
They are mainly run by the Savji community, who are known for their hot and spicy food. The Savji people speak a language called the Khatri Bhasha, which is an amalgamation of Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, and Sindhi.
They are also known for a unique blend of cuisine, which includes some common names like jolada rotti, ennegai, kalu palya, chutney pudis and are known for their tadka and spices. These restaurants are mainly family owned with the most accomplished member looking after the kitchen.
Along with vegetarian items, some khanavalis serve non-vegetarian delicacies like kheema and shakanu chaknu prepared in special Savji spices.
So now that you have been introduced to one of the indigenous Indian cuisines in their full glory, let’s look at what we think are some of the best khanavalis in Karnataka.
Top 5 Khanavalis of Karnataka
- Hubli: Basaveshwar Khanavali
Located on the first floor of a non-discreet building at Kamaripeth, New Hubli (near the Old Bus Stand), this place screams pure, authentic food with their Dharwad and Hubli menu – which includes Jolada Rotti Oota, Jowari Rotti and Shenga Pudi.
If it’s your first time trying out this particular brand of food, then this place is a must visit whenever you’re in the city. With good service and a keen check on cleanliness, it’s light on the wallet too!.
- Dharwad: Basappa Khanavali
Situated opposite the Civil Court in Dharwad, this is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Their awesome Rotti and Chutney pudi are sure to leave you craving for more. Also, you must try the Jowar Rotti with zunka at this place.
Many have claimed that they got to understand what khanavali food truly means after paying this place a visit.
- Bangalore: Sri Venkateshvara North Karnataka Hotel
Located in Gandhi Bazaar, this is one of the most easily accessible khanavalis in Bangalore. Though it has limited seating, once you grab a seat there’s no turning back. Their ennegai and buttermilk are the most recommended along with badnekayi palya and mensinakayi bajji.
With a clean and hygienic environment, this place is a must with its pocket-friendly pricing.
- Bangalore: Sangameshwara Khanavali
Situated at Nagavara, this place boasts of one of the most authentic North Karnataka cuisine.
Dishes like holige, ragi mudde, and sajje rotti are sure to give your palate a tour of the rich and full-of-flavors cuisine that khanavali food is equivalent to.
- Bangalore: Shiva Sai Khanavali
We go a little bit away to Rajarajeshwari Nagar for this little eatery that has gained its own following. With good service, cleanliness, and home-cooked meals, this place has become quite a favorite for those craving for a bite of kharabath, avalakki and paddu.
Other noteworthy contenders:
- Basweshwar Khanavali at Nehru Nagar, Belgaum
- Sri Channabasaveshwara Khanvali at Gandhi Nagar, Bangalore
- Karibasaveshvara Khanavali at Chitradurga
There are several such khanavalis spread across the length and breadth of Karnataka – many of which are not that easily spotted on maps and are not easily accessible either. But that has not dampened their growing demand.
So how about giving those fancy restaurants a miss this time and go for these down-to-earth simple, plain but authentic bhojanalayas and dip your fingers in those rottis and chutney pudis for a gastronomically delightful experience?