In Manipal’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, we celebrate our diversity and differences of opinion. However, if there’s one thing we Manipalites will unanimously take immense pride in, it’s our eateries. There’s something for everyone, and once you find what suits your taste buds, Manipal shall be ingrained in your food-loving heart for days to come.
Few university campuses can boast of nearly as rich a tapestry when it comes to diners and cafes. With students coming in from all factions of the country and beyond, Manipal is required to cater to a variety of cuisines. From Thai to Malaysian to even- believe it or not- quality North-Indian, we’ve got it all.
Sure, the Food Court is perfectly suited for a monotonous, healthy diet and it keeps the wallet happy. But it’s only once you step out of that stale curry-infused chamber that you discover the multiple avenues that beckon. Let’s set off on a culinary adventure, shall we?
The strongest misconception most newcomers have had is, ‘South hai, achha chicken thodi milega?’. Manipal boasts of an extensive chain of non-vegetarian cuisine that’s bound to make you think differently.
The essential student hub, Egg Factory has extensive preparations of -surprise, surprise- eggs. Beyond the fajitas and omelets (as part of their continental breakfast menu), they serve authentic Italian as well. It stands out for its innovative style and décor, and you’ll find its bright tropical vibe to be very inviting. Given its ambiance and the delightful food it serves, it is easily one of the favourite date spots in the town.
Location: It is located near the SBI Office, and is a 7-minute walk down the road leading to SOC, from the KC Gate.
Price: Usually it so happens, that no restaurant manages to fulfill more than two from the “Taste, Budget, Quantity” triad. Egg Factory is slightly taxing on the pocket, with a dinner costing around 400 for two, while breakfast can be wrapped up in 150.
MTTN Recommends: We shall go with the crowd favourite, and well tested Penne Pasta with Cilantro Pesto. It’s their signature pasta cooked to perfection, and drenched with green cilantro pesto. For dessert, if you can spare the cash, try their Chocolate Mud Pie.
If you’re at Egg Factory, be sure to make a quick stop-over at Payohima if you’re in the mood for desert. You won’t be disappointed- here you cone receive a creamy, textured Belgian chocolate icecream for all of forty rupees. They’ve got oodles of variety and flavour in that blast-chiller of a room, so the only thing melting is your heart.
Location: Take a few steps back from the Egg Factory into a little store by the corner.
Price: The rates here are nearly half of what you’ll get at a Naturals or Baskin Robbins, while maintaining a similar premium standard.
MTTN Recommends: They serve a delicious Madagascar Chocolate Icecream. Blueberry is brilliant as well.
This is the quintessential dining spot when the parents of students are in town. Dollops has been standing strong for the last 20 years, with minimal change in their exceptionally humble prices. Right from the decor, to the quality of service, the hygiene, or the food, Dollops has hardly ever placed a wrong foot. On certain days, you have crowds lining up outside to get themselves a spot.
Location: Next to SBI ATM, Tiger Circle.
Price: Again, it is as reasonably priced as any family restaurant, with a dinner for two being manageable between 220-280. Though you can always find cheaper alternatives for the dishes they serve, if not a tastier one.
MTTN Recommends: Chicken Lollypop with Gravy, Crispy Chicken Sukka with Butter Naan.
It’s one of the new kiosks that have come up in recent times around here. Though they boast of an extensive menu, they hardly deliver when it comes to taste or the price. It’s a great place to order food late at night, although they may take a while to deliver.
Location: It’s right next to the Food Court, on the Temple Run side.
Price: One can’t get the best value for money here.
MTTN Recommends: The Chicken Salad Shawarma is one of the more popular dishes on their menu. Their momos are appetizing too if you can handle the spice.
This is every student’s unwavering midnight saviour. It stays open till 1 am, and the food is almost always served fresh, hot and spicy. Every chicken dish is especially filling.
Location: On campus itself, next to the 19th block.
Price: The chicken dishes are priced between 120 and 200, so it’s fairly cost-effective. How your budget fares, depends primarily on how hungry you are.
MTTN Recommends: Their specialties are varied, but the Paneer Butter Masala, Oreo Shake, Chicken Tikka Masala and Sheekh Kebab really stand out.
The student crowd typically finds itself here when they’re particularly done with what FC has to offer. While they can’t boast of a novel change in taste and standard, you do get a more inclusive menu and better service. What’s more, they also serve parcel meals.
Location: On campus, opposite to the New Ladies’ Block (NLB).
Price: A full meal would amount to about 180 per head.
MTTN Recommends: Paneer Makhani with Naan. You also get a sort of ‘special sherbert’ available in mango, green apple, black current, guava and kala khatta flavours, all of which are surreal. If you’re facing an insatiable desire for meat, their fish and mutton curries are fairly succulent.
Counseling tends to get a bit hectic and Manipal’s humidity doesn’t customarily fare well with visitors. If you’re looking to alleviate your day with a quick snack, here are a few joints worth checking out:
No matter what time of day, you’ll always find a crowd of students jostling around in this slightly cramped shack, of which at least one will unfailingly be relishing one of those sublime Jack Shacks. This is the perfect stop for refreshments, offering chilled rejuvenating drinks, savoury potato snacks and chicken nuggets, amongst other fillers.
Location: Is it Right around the corner from Kamath Circle.
Price: For the quality of food it serves, the prices do tend ever-so-slightly onto the heavier side. It’s worth a visit when your pocket is a bit more accommodating.
MTTN Recommends: Be sure to try the Jack Shack, DBC (Death by Chocolate). Potato Lovers, you’ll find a dish dedicated especially to you. Bon Appotato!
M.F.C.(Manipal Fried Chicken):
It’s hard not to notice this place, with all the crowd it seems to perennially keep inviting with heavenly smells of fried chicken. Be it rain or shine, MFC will always welcome you with its chicken rice bowls, krushers, and zingers.
Location: Very conveniently located, it’s directly facing the MIT entry gate.
Price: Keeping in mind that Manipal is essentially a student hub sprinkled with nearly broke individuals, they’ve been reasonably considerate with their prices. It’s a much cheaper alternative to the American fast food chain it derives its name from.
MTTN Recommends: Wings on Fire, Chicken Golden Delight, Watermelon Krusher.
There are choices aplenty for the vegetarians as well, from scrumptious paneer rolls to uber-crispy dosas:
This is every student’s fundamental retreat during the short breaks, owing to how close it is to the administration blocks. You can get a filling meal at a nominal price. No matter how adventurous you feel, think twice before you head towards the chaat counter. Their puris are almost always soggy and the pani is a thin insipid broth of nothingness, much like your budget if you eat out on a daily basis.
Location: It stands almost like an external component of AB1. With a dual entry arrangement, it has one end adjacent to Higginbothams and the other facing the Faculty of Architecture.
Price: One of the most cost-effective joints you’ll find on campus. Where else will you get a full-sized dosa for the price of thirty rupees? It gets better- they’re pretty generous with the potato fillings too.
MTTN Recommends: The Cheese Masala Dosa and Oreo Shake are student favourites. There’s great ‘Egg Maggi’ if you couldn’t bother to make it yourself.
Cafe 7 Bees:
Another fast food chain that’s vegetarian-friendly, with great combo options and speedy service. For a full meal, you’re allowed to be basic and order a sandwich with coke and fries.
Location: It’s a brief walk down from the MIT Entry gate, opposite the MIT Bus Stop. Search for a sign board saying ‘Hotel Green Park’.
Price: Fairly reasonable rates for the combo meals. You’ll get a burger, coke and fries for INR 100. MTTN Recommends: They have some nice, filling milkshakes to wash down the well-sized burgers and sandwiches. Protip: Order extra mayonnaise and garlic dip.
If you’re all about carpe diem, you could partake in an ideal Sunday brunch at Country Inn or a relaxing night out at Eye of the Tiger, albeit at the risk of burning a hole in your wallet. Besides these, most restaurants in Manipal are extremely cost-effective and student-oriented. Here’s to awakening your inner food critic, and embarking upon your own culinary saga. Bon Appetit!
P.S. Do let your parents know you’re eating well.
Photographers: Jassil Jalamuddin, Paritosh Kulkarni, Agnihotra Bhattacharya