Stepping out of a streetcar at Gerrard and Coxwell makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the colourful streets of Mumbai, minus having to dodge stray cows, walls of people and the blistering heat. Little India in Toronto is a special place. Shop for 24-karat gold, haggle for silks and saris or just dive into the vast assortment of cuisines. One of my favourite places to visit is Udupi Palace (1460 Gerrard St. East) known for its authentic South Indian food. The restaurant may look like a basement banquet hall complete with fluorescent lighting and stackable chairs, but no one goes for the ambiance. The staff is extremely friendly and the vibe exudes casual eating at its finest and most importantly, cheapest.
Udupi offers 15 varieties of dosas, ranging from $5 to $10. What’s a dosa you ask? Well, it’s a crepe made from either fermented rice or lentil paste. Attention gluten sufferers—this place is calling your name. The batter is ladled onto a greased pan and once cooked, is stuffed with vegetables or meat and rolled up into an impressively large crispy cylindrical or cone shape. Dosas are served with numerous side dishes including sambhar (peppery lentil stew), chunteys (mostly coconut) and Indian pickles to name a few.
While at Udupi, be sure to save room and order the Chana Batura. The spicy chickpeas have a masala kick and the deep fried rotis, also known as pooris, are guaranteed to be fresh and fluffy. It’s like eating a cloud for the price of pennies. Heavenly!