Rao’s Udupi – Vegetarian South Indian Food in Kolkata


Durga Puja 2021 countdown has already started in Kolkata and many are making travel plans. A vintage gem from breakfast places in Kolkata is Rao’s Udipi Café that has been around since 1969.  Udupi Cafe can easily be listed among the Best South Indian restaurants in Kolkata. This post goes out to all our vegetarian friends.

Breakfast places in Kolkata

We are breakfast people and take the morning grub seriously. Whenever we are at a new place, Bedabrata is trying to study “breakfast places near me” as bedtime reading! During the course of our visit to the City of Joy, we have explored breakfast places in Kolkata. Territi Bazaar Chinese breakfast is a legend and we have a variety of posts on that. But this time we go a little south…and a little pure.

It all started when our Jain friend back in Delhi was visiting Kolkata. It was his first time and he wanted recommendations for veg breakfast in Kolkata. Contrary to popular notion, a huge population in Bengal is strict vegetarian. Consequently there is a rich heritage of Bengali vegetarian dishes. But last Sunday, we had some solid South Indian breakfast in Kolkata at Rao’s Udipi Home, commonly known as Udupi restaurant Kolkata. This place ranks high among South Kolkata restaurants.

If you are scouring restaurants for South Indian food in Kolkata, any online search throws up many options. If you are a local, you would surely have your favourites. But if you are a visitor, then Rao’s Udipi is a place we recommend for vegetarian South Indian food. Rao’s Udipi Home menu has a wide variety of dosas, including rawa and Mysore dosa variety, uttapams, idlis, sambar vadas, so on and so forth. Pongal and Upma are their breakfast specials. They also serve South Indian thalis or platters at very reasonable prices. The thalis comprise sambhar, rice, idli, a vegetable dish, papaduum, pickle etc.

Our favourites here are dosas and vadas. The vadas or fried dumplings are freshly made and somehow not very oily. All the dishes are served with coconut chutney, a separate garlic chutney and sambar. But our absolute must-have at Udipi Home is their filter coffee. Smooth and not too strong, a cup of coffee is must to complete the experience.

Rao’s Udipi Home ambience

Kolkata still oozes oodles of old world charm. Udipi Café is no exception. The café was apparently established in the year 1969 and is more than 50 years old. It is a fuss free set up along the corridor of an old Bengali mansion. Tables and chairs are placed in columns and we love the early morning sunlight pouring in from the lattice walls.

The food is still served in steel utensils and not plastic thankfully. In fact, the filter coffee is served in the small steel glass and tumbler set that adds a lot to the drinking pleasure.  They also have some chairs in the open on the footpath outside and you can sit alfresco very early in the morning, or during winter months.

Rao’s Udipi Home timing

Udipi café has a hugely dedicated set of patrons some of who are coming to this place for generations. This is a hot spot for early morning catching up, or what is called adda in Kolkata. The place therefore starts early to cater to the breakfast crowd of the region. Their timings are 7.30 am to 9 pm.

Rao’s Udipi Home – How to reach

Udipi Home is in southern part of Kolkata on Jatin Das Road, near Deshapriya Park. All the aforesaid names are famous landmarks. The first metro rail in India was started in Kolkata and it is a very popular mode of transport in the city. The nearest metro to Udipi Café is Kalighat and it is a 10 minutes’ walk-through Lake Road. In addition, you can take a radio taxi to this place or go all Kolkata and take the iconic yellow taxi of the city.

Last but not least, you can take the glorious tram car and drop at Deshapriya Park. The café is very close to this spot and anybody, including online maps, would guide you there.

They also have a modern branch near Vivekananda Park, but we prefer the original restaurant.

Other’s attractions near Udipi Home

Udipi Café is conveniently located in the southern part of the city. The Rabindra Sarovar Lake is in the vicinity and you can take a leisurely stroll down this piece of haven in the city. The Gariahat Market, where you get all things and crafts Bengali, is also in the walking distance. Last but not the least, the 2 leading ladies of Kolkata, Goddess Kali and the current Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, live in Kalighat. This area, that houses the famous Kalighat Temple, is also not far from the café.

Pro-tips

  • Rao’s Udipi Café is one of those places where the food is never disappointing. If you are in confusion, you can safely come here.
  • The place is very busy round the year, and waiters are just running around. It may take some time for your order to get delivered.
  • The café is not overtly crowded during Durga Puja as well.
  • The café is conveniently located and you can do a full day South Calcutta tour dropping in for a meal here.

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