Wheres and Whats – A Shopping and Eating Guide to Manipal
Manipal, in the first go may seem like a quaint, quiet, and rather boring town to most of the newbies to Manipal University. Although a very small town of about a three kilometer radius, it is no less than a mini-metropolis with a pretty decent share of restaurants, places to shop, and places to, well, simply hang out with your squad once in a while! Contrary to common perception, this student-friendly town offers a paradise to food lovers and shopaholics alike.
Starting off with food joints – there are far more places to eat here than one could expects. Name the cuisine and you have it, be it Mexican, Italian, Thai, or even a variety of Indian cuisines—South Indian, Rajasthani, Punjabi—you name it, and it’s there. The best part of Manipal, though, has got to be the distances. Being such a tiny town, every place here is close by, and one could use auto-rickshaws or even simply walk to most places in town. Another upside of being a student town is that few places here end up leaving a hole in your pocket. Some of the more popular places in town are:
EYE OF THE TIGER
One of the best places to eat continental cuisine. EOT is a non-vegetarian’s delight, with classic meat and chicken dishes as well as an array of fresh seafood. Though a little pricier than other restaurants, the food here is definitely worth the money you spend on it. It is also famous for one of its most forbidding dishes—the Ghost Wings—the spiciest set of wings one would’ve ever come across, a ghost pepper smeared challenge for even the most hardcore spice lovers. If you manage to sweep the plate clean, you are rewarded with free food and beverages.
A rather cute little restaurant next to Tiger Circle, Dollops is an extremely pocket friendly eatery which is ideal for a gathering of upto ten people. It’s best known for its Chinese cuisine, the American chopsuey and wontons being all time favourites.
Rather obscurely located, this place offers the best Mexican food in town. Basil Cafe is also known to serve pastas, and an occasional Malaysian “day’s special” dish. This place is extremely economical and has some of the friendliest staff in town.
A little lesser known a restaurant serving very reasonably priced Chinese and Indian food, Hangout has a very cozy ambience featuring a creative and unique style of lighting. Apart from the regular dishes one might expect to find on the menu, they also serve chicken(or paneer) on a banana leaf, which is a specialty at Hangout.
Despite being a little away from the town, Attill has manages to attract a considerable number of regulars who swear by its seafood dishes – some of the best Manipal has to offer. It is a little heavy on the pocket, but the food is definitely worth the price.
A very differently themed restaurant, it is the only one in Manipal that specializes in sizzlers. Though a little expensive for the average student, the serving sizes are very generous and the menu offers a variety of options unparalleled in Manipal. The Sizzler Brownie is one interesting offering of the restaurant and deserves a taste.
This is one of the most luxe hotels in town, and is capable of wrecking havoc on your budget with just a single meal. Nevertheless, it serves some of the best dishes in town. One of the things that sets Country Inn apart from the other places in town would be their breakfasts – pancakes being a dish that appears almost exclusively on the breakfast menu here.
One of the most happening hangout places, Egg Factory is situated right next to the college campus, making it very convenient to reach. The place is usually full given the low pricing of dishes. As the name suggests, most dishes here can be had containing egg. Pastas are a staple here, with diners often ending their meals with chocolate mousse for dessert. Within the Egg Factory compound is the ice cream parlour, Payohima, which serves some of the best ice cream in Manipal.
This place, right opposite to the Syndicate Bank Head Office, as the name suggests, is known for its rolls. Being well priced, they make for good evening snacks or even an economical dinner. To wash it down, try the milkshakes at Cad M Cad B, a popular milkshake outlet right next to Rolls Mania.
The all-natural ice cream parlour that has been making ripples all over India for its authentic fruity flavours has made its way to Manipal, with a crisp brown waffle cone full of reasonably priced ice cream. Located at quite a distance from Kamath Circle, it has nonetheless become an air-conditioned haven for busy, sun-wary students from all over Manipal.
Complete with board games, bold decor, and bright lighting, Desi Firangi succeeds in activating all your senses. Its brave, modern take on Indian street food manages to draw hordes of students despite its distant location on End Point Road.
For all the chaat lovers who feel deprived of it in Manipal, Tiwari Chat is an inconspicuous little shack that serves up the best chaat in town. Most of the chaat here is delicious but the Sookha Poori stands apart as one of the most popular chaats at Tiwari. The shop has three outlets —two near the MIT campus and one near the KMC campus.
The campus itself also offers a variety of food options. Ranging from the late night saviours – the night canteens, to the numerous outlets that dot the campus, there’s a lot to eat in MIT.
Located on the perimeter of Kamat Circle, Snack Point is a much loved fast food junction, that is too small to be a restaurant yet too large to be a kiosk. A subsidiary of the Snack Shack (near Tiger Circle), Snack Point is the place to go to for a quick greasy burger. The Jack Shack burger, the Chutney Mary burger, and Potato Lovers are some of Snack Point’s most well known offerings.
Campus Grill is a multi-cuisine food joint that caters mostly to the residents of 18th, 19th, and 20th Blocks. It is also one of the few places that has permission to deliver anywhere within the campus, and is thus the perfect answer to midnight food cravings.
HOSTEL NIGHT CANTEENS
Situated in nearly every block, these vary vastly in their quality and selection. Chef on Wheels( the group that operates the Food Court) operates the majority of canteens and sells packets of chips, biscuits, and puffs, along with beverages like coffee and iced tea. Independent operators also run some of the canteens, and sell a variety of food – burgers, noodles, rotis, and more. These offer the convenience of proximity, with some even delivering to the hostel rooms for a nominal charge.
Having gotten an idea of the variety of culinary options available in town, it also serves one well to have an idea of the retail options available, which happen to be just as surprisingly numerous as the restaurants.
This departmental store tops the list for variety, selling brands from not just all over the country, but the world as well. Everything, from exotic Pringles flavours to Guacamole in a jar, is available here.
Right opposite the thirteenth block and enroute to the academic blocks, this store couldn’t have been more conveniently placed. It caters to the needs of budding architects and the eternally hungry alike. It also has a photocopy and printing facility. However, the management has been known to be rude at times.
Apart from the stores mentioned, several other small outlets on campus sell fruits, stationery, food, and moving in essentials like buckets, containers, umbrellas, doormats, laundry bags, and pillows.
KAMATH BOOK DEPOT
Kamath Book Depot and Shiva Book Depot offer all the textbooks prescribed in the syllabi at MIT. Allowing students the option of buying second hand books, these stores also offer to buy back the books from students for half the price, should the book no longer be useful.
THE ROAD TO UDUPI
The final place that mustn’t go unmentioned doesn’t really have a name. All one has to do is hail an auto to any of the numerous outlets that line the road to get there. Reminiscent of Mall Road, it has some standard chain restaurants like Domino’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and quite a few local ones like Mexican Burrito, ‘Zza Bar, and Hideout. Frequented by local shopaholics, the road offers a variety of stores – FBB, Fab India, Reliance Trends, and a lot of other smaller shops.
This article covers a lot of the best Manipal has to offer in terms of food and retail but scarcely covers plethora of options that’ll welcome the incoming batch to this wonderful little town. There’s a lot to be explored between classes; happy spending!
Cover Image: Ujjwal Kumar