Darshinis of Bengaluru: A Food Culture by Themselves

The concept of Darshinis started when food outlets run by the model of ‘pay first, eat later’ were set up in B’luru.

3 min read

If you are taking a stroll down the streets of Bengaluru, it is common to spot people gorging on crispy dosas, soft idlies, some spicy upma, and piping hot filter coffee. The best of these food dishes are served at Darshinis.

The concept of Darshinis started back in 1980s, when small food outlets characterised by the model of ‘pay first, eat later’ were set up in the city.

R Prabhakar set up Café Darshini in south Bengaluru, which was known to be the first-of-its-kind. The outlet became so popular that others followed suit. Most of the eateries which sprung up after that included ‘Darshini’ in their names.

<i>Darshinis </i>have become an intrinsic part of the food culture of Bengaluru.&nbsp;
Darshinis have become an intrinsic part of the food culture of Bengaluru. 
(Photo: Roshni Balaji/The Quint)

Over the years, the number of such outlets have multiplied. Today, Darshinis have become an intrinsic part of the food culture of Bengaluru, so much so that there is one on every corner of every street. Considered an ideal hangout spot by many, Darshinis are as popular among college-goers as is among senior citizens – whether it is people rushing in early in the morning to grab breakfast or folks spending a relaxed evening devouring on ghee-enhanced treats like vadas, bhajjis and bondas.

<i>Darshinis </i>are known for their distinct varieties of dosas.
Darshinis are known for their distinct varieties of dosas.
(Photo: Roshni Balaji/The Quint)

These food outlets have a standard vegetarian menu. All you have to do once you enter is decide what dish you want to eat, pay for it at the counter, receive the token, pick up the dish, and relish!

Their predictable taste, operational efficiency, affordable pricing and quick service leaves people wanting for more. Besides this, a lot of regular customers get the food packed. Roti Ghar, situated at Gandhi Bazaar in south Bengaluru, is a great example.

“As far as the numbers go, we sell around 500 plates per item, like dosas and idlis. We conduct business based on volume, and that is how we make a profit,” said Ditz Jacob, manager of Roti Ghar.

  • Roti Ghar at Gandhi Bazaar in south Bengaluru is one of the first <i>darshinis to be </i>established<i>.</i>
  • Kavali in Bengaluru’s Banashankari is popular for their wide variety of dosas.
  • Though the idea of <i>darshinis </i>sprung up in the southern part of the city, it is now prominent across Bengaluru.
Over the years, for most Bengalurians, Darshinis have turned synonymous with regular home-cooked meals, since they hold the trademark of bringing lip-smacking yet simple food to the table.

(The Quint, in association with BitGiving, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an 8-month-old who was raped in Delhi on 28 January 2018. The baby girl, who we will refer to as 'Chhutki', was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin when her parents were away. She has been discharged from AIIMS hospital after undergoing three surgeries, but needs more medical treatment in order to heal completely. Her parents hail from a low-income group and have stopped going to work so that they can take care of the baby. You can help cover Chhutki's medical expenses and secure her future. Every little bit counts. Click here to donate)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!