At the other end of the price spectrum is Jamavar at the Leela Palace Hotel (theleela.com). The flagship restaurant of the Leela hotel group is opulently designed with chandeliers and exquisite Jamavar shawls. The focus is on North Indian and tandoori items, and thankfully most dishes follow traditional recipes, without any fusion deviations. Kebabs and koftas are beautifully done, the spiced lobster neerulli (that is, made with onions) is a specialty, and the biriyanis are outstanding.
When in Bangalore you have to try a dosa or an idli, the breakfast staples of southern Indians. Dosas are thin crepes made with a rice-and-lentil batter. The same batter is used to make steamed white dumplings called idlis. Both are served with coconut chutney and spicy sambhar (lentil gruel). Most of the restaurants specializing in these dishes are spartan but clean, and a really satisfying meal can be had for a song. The standouts include the Mavalli Tiffin Room, tel: (91 80) 2222 0022, a Bangalore institution, and Dosa Stop, tel: (91 80) 2526 6467. The latter's specialty is a mighty "Family Dosa" that takes up the entire table. The brainchild of a couple who quit their IT jobs for the restaurant business, Dosa Stop is a bright and breezy eatery modeled after American fast-food chains—and in its combination of ultramodern décor and traditional Indian cooking, there is something quintessentially Bangalore. For a taste of modern India, start here.