Named after the owner’s hometown on India’s south-west coast, Udupi Palace has been serving-up authentic, regional, affordable South Indian and Vegetarian cuisine since 2001. The undisputed king of eats in the Gerrard Indian Bazaar , Udupi Palace takes the Toronto Food Blog’s prestigious double-crown for both the best Indian food and best Vegetarian food in the city. Truth be told, most of the menu is also Vegan and Gluten free.
Meals typically start with something off the Chaat menu (all dishes $5.25). Chaat is a term used to describe savory snacks, and I tend to gravitate towards the Panipuri. Here we have hollow, crispy Puri shells filled with potato, onion and chickpeas (served with pickle). If we’re with a group, it’s hard not to also get an order of Sevpuri, which sees the same Panipuri finished with a drizzle of tamarind, chili and garlic chutneys. Very savory snacks indeed.
As for the mains, Dosas are really the name of the game at Udupi Palace… so much so that they host a Dosa eating content every summer during the Festival of South Asia. $100 to the winner and $50 to the runner-up! There are at least a dozen renditions on the menu, my favourite being the Paper Masala Dosa ($8.55). It’s an absolutely enormous (yet thin) rice crêpe that comes marbled with the Masala. The inside is stuffed with a rich, spicy curry of onion and potato. Served with pickle, the crispy Dosa works as the perfect utensil.
Another favourite is the South Indian Thali ($9.65). This gorgeous, compartmentalized presentation offers 2 different kinds of curried veggies, dal, rasam, sambhar, yogurt and pickle… all served with the typical regional starches: rice, chapati and a papadum. It even comes with a dessert (think rice pudding). This is one heck of a meal and is great for sharing.
Udupi Palace has also recently partnered with Tiffinday, working together to co-create a line of fine Indian curries to take home. I first stumbled upon these beauties at the Old’s Cool General Store, and they have been in our regular dining rotation ever since. All of the curries ($10 per jar) are cooked right in the Udupi Palace kitchen, and the ingredients are sourced from local Ontario farms. My daughter crushes the Channa Masala, and my wife and I will alternate between the Lentil Spinach or the Mixed Vegetable Curry. We love taking these jars up to the cottage, as they make a great accompaniment to BBQ and Salad.