Though Manipal looks like a quaint, idyllic and sleepy little town, the truth is far from it. Home to most campuses and institutions of the Manipal University, this little town is sprawling with life and energy. Most newcomers come thinking that they won’t find much of interest in this little town, but are blown away by the opportunities that this place provides. After a little while, you will see the same folk, proudly proclaiming themselves to be ‘Manipalites’, a tag people here use to identify themselves and bond over. Though the town is very small, the entire radius of its existence not crossing three-kilometer, Manipal is the biggest example of how sometimes, big things come in small packages. The town is jam packed with stores, hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs and everything a teenager and college goer would find useful and fascinating.
Here’s a look at the best places to eat in Manipal.
1. Country Inn
Source- The 3 Hungry Men
Let’s start with one of the poshest places in town. This incredibly luxurious hotel and its accompanying cafes, pubs and restaurants is a must visit, if you have the cash to spare. Though they aren’t easy on the pocket, they sure give you the facilities and ambience and end up making you feel like you’re someone really important. The service is phenomenal, the ambience is breathtaking and also the place provides any and every cuisine you would want to try out. Their desserts and breakfast options are some of the best around and is sure to help you start your day in a good mood. Though the hotel is located close to the famous, End Point, which is every jogger’s paradise, you might want to clean up before visiting this posh place that will leave your wallet lighter and gut heavier.
2. Eye of the Tiger
Eye of the Tiger, fondly referred to as EOT by students of Manipal, is a pub cum restaurant that serves some of the best Continental dishes in town. Though it is a tad bit expensive, the succulent chicken, expansive menu, great ambience and good soundtrack ensures that this place stays one of the most visited restaurants in Manipal. Rest assured that though you might pay quite a bit, the food is definitely worth the price. The chefs here sure love their chilly, and hence EOT is famous for its spicy food eating challenge that lets participants have a go at their famous Ghost Wings- chicken wings that will surely set your tongue on fire.
3. HADIQA (AKA The Egg Factory)
Being the closest to campus makes this is the most hip, popular and happening joint out of the rest. It helps that the service here is great, the ambience even greater and also that the chefs here sure do know how to make their pasta. As the place is extremely convenient to reach, don’t be surprised if you walk in at 7:30 pm to a completely full restaurant. So if you are going here, make sure you go well in advance of the dinner rush to get yourself a table. The place has a huge selection of thin crust pizzas and pasta and also serves certain Iranian dishes. Most meals here end on a sweet note, as Payohima, the best ice-cream joint in Manipal, is just a few feet away from here. German Chocolate and the Chocolate Mousse cake are to die for and must be had by anyone and everyone who possesses a sweet tooth.
4. Basil Café
Basil Café is famous because it serves the best Mexican food in Manipal. The business has grown over the years and the owner has now started another branch in Mangalore. The waiters are extremely friendly, the menu is conveniently budget friendly and the food tastes amazing. There are daily specials which offer you a chance to experiment with Thai or Malay cuisine and the Burrito Bowl here is every gym-freaks answer to a healthy meal. Also, if you are visiting make sure you try their mouth-watering Irish Coffee.
5. Coast Asia
If you want to try out some good, old-fashioned, homely food with a modern twist, then Coast Asia is the place for you. Being so close to both KMC and MIT helps this restaurant draw in a considerable amount of customers. The Thai and Malay cuisine is exceptionally good here and their paneer dishes are sought out by quite a few people. Though the place is slightly pricey, it makes up for it in quantity and quality.
Manipal, grew to become one of the first student hubs or University towns in India. With the Manipal Institute of Technology being founded in the 50’s and Kasturba Medical College being the first private medical college in India, the town has a lot of history. It has also seen millions of students pass through its hands. It has witnessed growth, change and evolution and aged gracefully.
Food is an emotion to most people and how could any University town be complete without its own share of restaurants and bistros? Due to the fact that there is a huge influx of students from all over the country here, the place is sprawling with restaurants that specialize in different cuisines; whether it be North Indian, South Indian, Hyderabadi or even Udupi food. Since KMC and MIT, also house a considerable number of foreign exchange students, one should not be surprised with the amount of multi-specialty hotels here. Whether it be Chinese, Malay, Mexican, Thai, Italian or Continental that you crave for, more often than not, you’ll find just what you are looking for in Manipal. Also, since the place is basically an education hub, you can rest assured that you will find places that are easy on the pocket, as most students end up with close to nothing by the time it’s the end of the month. The small area also ensures that all these hotels are located nearby and hence one does not need to walk around much to find a decent restaurant.
By Athulya Mohandas