In the year 2017 and 2018 in our long bike trip from Bangalore, we have spent most of the days in Kumbakonam. Here are my suggestions for Kumbakonam Famous food items, and the restaurants we preferred eating all the time.
What is Kumbakonam Famous For and What are the Kumbakonam Famous Food items:
“Where to eat?” is the first thought comes to our mind when we are travelling to new places.
And it is hard to decide with fake ratings and reviews for restaurants these days.
Me and my hubby have spent the majority of our vacation in Kumbakonam in our 11 days motorbike trip in 2017 and 2018. So we have explored all the major eateries – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants in Kumbakonam.
Kumbakonam is famous for –
- UNESCO Temples, Numerous Ancient temples and Navagraha temples across the town. Every year lacs of devotees visit Kumbakonam Mahamaham tank during Mahamaham festival and during the Margazhi festival season. Navagraha tour and 108 Divya Desam tour is popular tourist attraction here.
- Kumbakonam degree coffee
- Temple Brass items – The only destination in South India Kumbakonam to shop all kinds of pooja items for temple use and home use. The mass quantity of brass and copper items are exported all over the world from this humble town Kumbakonam.
(A very detailed article is given at the last on where to buy Kumbakonam famous brass items, temple pooja items, handloom sarees etc.,)
- Murari Sweets – For ginger pakodas, Ajmeer cake and dry jamuns
- Famous for ginger tea and flavoured milk.
There are no specific Kumbakonam famous food items, except for the above mentioned list, but you can eat in the following restaurants for the best experience.
I am suggesting the following places to eat in Kumbakonam based on the quality of food, ambiance, fast service and value for money.
Famous food items (with images) in Kumbakonam with best places to eat is detailed below.
Try Tomato Uthappam With Degree Coffee in Sri Mangalambika Vilas
The one famous Vegetarian Restaurant serving authentic south Indian food items in Kumbakonam since 1914 is “Sri Mangalambika Villas”.
It is all time crowded, very famous veg restaurant in Kumbakonam with many food choices for breakfast and dinner.
Their specialty is Tomato Uthappam and ghee pongal with vada. While you are there also try onion uthappam and many other dosa choices. All the dishes are too good and maximum price for the food items here is 65/-, even for lunch meals.
Note – Swiggy service is available for this restaurnat.
I enjoyed going there for dinner because my choice for breakfast is “Ayya Kadai”, read below to know more.
Small Shop Serving Quality Veg Food and Snacks all the time – Ayya Kadai
“Ayya Kadai” is a small tea shop cum eatery with table for 12, serving limited choice food items for breakfast and lunch. And they are closed for the day after 3pm.
What You get for Breakfast – Brinjal Bajji, Banana Bajji, Udin Vada, Plain dosa, Uthappam, Poori masala, Pongal, Idly – all with 2 chutney and sambar. Anytime tea and coffee. Timing: 7.30 am onwards.
What You get for Lunch – 3 Variety rice choices like Tomato rice, Tamarind rice, Lemon rice, Curd rice and parotta (see the pic). Timing: 12 noon onwards. Also must try their masala vada during lunch time.
How we found this eatery:
We have been to Kumbakonam twice in the year 2017. In our last short stay in Kumbakonam, that was around March for Mahamaham festival in the same year 2017, we had stayed in Poppy’s Hotel for 3 days.
Rajesh wanted to have something chill quenching for the summer heat, we went to nearby “Arun ice cream parlour” 2 mins walk from Poppys Hotel towards Mahamaham Tank. That’s when we came to know “Ayya kadai” opposite to the ice cream parlor and the same evening we went to the shop for snacks and tea.
Initially, we thought of it as a tea stall, because hardly 15 people can sit inside the shop. Later we came to know they serve food all 3 times a day including snacks with coffee and tea.
Famous Snacks List in Ayya Kadai: Methu vada (Urad dhal vada), Paruppu Vada (Channa dal vada), Valalikkai Bajji (Banana Besan Fry) are must try here. They are available in the morning and noon timings, different dishes at different times throughout the day.
Maximum price for the food items here is 40/-, starting from 6 rupees for idly and vada choices.
Ayya Kadai – is the best choice in Kumbakonam town for anyone looking to eat light (and healthy) without hurting the pocket. Also, it is a must try place for an evening snack – masala vada and other oil fried snacks with coffee or tea.
The Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Kumbakonam -“Only Coffee”
I am an early riser, and a Coffee lover (And this is how I make Best black coffee at home and office).
In our stay in 2017, Almost everyday we used to travel 10 km from center Kumbakonam town to “Only Coffee” restaurant for a steaming cup of coffee. If we had no long travel plans to any temples, we used to hangout there until we finish our breakfast. Sometimes we roam around near by agri field, chill out, take some pics and come back to the same restaurant for Lunch.
Even Though they have another branch in center town, a restaurant facing Holy Mahamaham tank, we always loved going to this place for the scenic ride and friendly staffs.
The name says “Only Coffee” so obviously anyone would think of it as a coffee shop.
We did too.
When we stayed in Aditya Resorts for 2 days where we had no option for dining, we came out of the resort in a mindset to ride to the nearby coffee shop.
We found “Only Coffee” in the immediate neighborhood, with the display of clay toys and some interesting books.
The friendly hotel staff asked us whether we wanted to have some snacks to go with coffee, we said yes, and we chose “kolukattai” from the choice of salad and sandwich.
This is the best restaurant that serves snacks, healthy options suited for all the ages.
Famous Snacks in Only Coffee restaurant: They had “today’s special” green salads, sandwiches, South Indian special pidi kolukattai, kuli paniyaram, etc.,
Since then, our entire two days stay in Aditya Resort, we never had to roam searching for food and snacks in Kumbakonam. Even after we moved to different accommodation in the city, we came back almost everyday, sometimes twice in a day for their dosa varieties and coffee.
They serve all kinds of typical Tamil Nadu breakfast items.
They also serve unlimited and limited meals for lunch, the only time rice item was available, we chose limited meals because we preferred light food for lunch.
Not only their food is healthy (they use only less oil for food items, so they don’t serve any deep fried snacks) but also they have a variety of healthy snacks and pickles for sale. They also sell wood pressed cooking oil (Marachekku oil), some children books and wooden play toys. According to me, this place is the best vegetarian restaurant in Kumbakonam.
We absolutely enjoyed eating every time in “Only Coffee”.
Its definitely a best place for healthy, vegetarian food choices to eat with family and friends.
Only coffee Restaurant – The best hangout place for all kinds of Tamil Nadu food and snacks 3x a day.
You will absolutely love its peaceful ambiance with the healthy variety of vegetarian tiffin and meals, packed organic snack, pickles, evening salads and Sandwiches served all time with hot coffee/tea/milk.
Update Dec 2018: “Only coffee” Restaurant is operating only at center town Kumbakonam, opposite to holy Mahamaham tank. Call up and check for “Only Coffee” Thiruvidaimaruthur branch, as it was closed for renovation when we visited last time in Dec 2018.
Update Dec 2019: All the branches are permanently closed.
Try Muttai Lappa and Idiyappam in Pandian Hotel:
The one and only best non-veg restaurant in Kumbakonam is The Pandian hotel, known for good taste, cleanliness and ambiance.
I love to eat Non-Veg for dinner, if not daily at least twice in a week is a must for me. Rajesh does not like non-veg as much as I like it, but he too loves to indulge in it, if it catches his eye.
After asking few people in the busy street, we were guided to a hotel across “Sarangapani temple”. We very much liked the variety of food they had in the menu, in fact, we had a hard time picking orders from the menu.
Food was served in Banana leaf, calm place to enjoy the feast. We had enjoyed two varieties of parottas, Kothu parotta, chicken masala and prawn masala with butter milk.
No Chinese items were available.
We loved going back for the crispy Kothu Parotta and the Idiyappam. (Note: You need to be little early in the evening for idiyappam, since there is huge demand).
Must try – Chicken and Mutton Briyani (one of the best), Idiyappam (best compared to the Mangalaambika restaurant mentioned above), Natti Chicken fry, Fish gravy, Mutton sukka and Kothu parotta. Mutton gravy, Chicken gravy and Fish gravy are too good and are complimentary as side dish for any items you order.
We were also suggested to go Hotel Shanmuga, which is also a famous non-veg serving restaurant. The other day we tried some chinese there, but we didn’t enjoy it as much as we did in all other restaurants in Kumbakonam I have listed in this article, because of noisy ambiance and poor quality food.
Also, worst expereince in Hotel Annapoorna – a famous brand failed in Kumbakonam. Restaurant is always empty, all food items are either cold or bland, and needless to say the poor service.
Famous Tea Shop for Snacks and Ginger Tea in Center Town Kumbakonam:
Speaking of tea, all I would suggest is to go to this shop opposite to clock tower in center town Kumbakonam to try ginger tea.
You can also enjoy coffee or flavoured milk, all of them are good here.
If you want to have some fast food before having tea, then you need to walk 2 mins from the above tea shop, cross the famous temple in Kumbakonam – “Abhi Mukeshwar” facing the holy Mahamaham tank, where you will find a “snacks junction”.
Here you will get crispy egg bondas, mushroom chaat masala, soup varieties and other chaat items. This snack shop is the best hangout place with the view of the Mahamaham tank. If you like street food, then this place is for you.
Come back and finish your tea in Balaji tea shop before heading to your destination.
In this Balaji tea shop you can also buy freshly baked buns and coconut buns for a takeaway.
We are not a foodie, so we did not attempt to eat in all the restaurants Kumbakonam, instead, we went and explored which was convenient for us.
In general, Kumbakonam famous food items are usual south Indian dishes like idly, dosa, idiyappam, parotta and paya, Egg kothu parotta etc.,
Murari Sweet Shop for Dry Gulab Jamun, Ginger Pakodas, Ajmeer cakes:
The very famous Murari sweet shop is located in Sarangapani Kovil Keela veethi in Kumbakonam, with branches in the nearby town Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvarur.
Find the their website link for more information.
This sweet shop is famous for unique items like –
- Brown coloured dry gulab jamuns (can kept for a week at room temperature)
- Ajmeer cake – made of date pulp and dried fruits
- Ginger Pakodas – a crispy crunchy ginger pakodas for evening snack, can be kept at room temperature for 2 days
It is the quality that matters wherever we are spending money and it is absolutely worth spending every penny on the sweets here.
So, Pack some jamuns and ajmeer cake from the Kumbakonam special sweet shop on the way back to your home town.
Note – Swiggy service available.
The Best Veg Thali in Indeco Hotels Near Swamimalai:
We happen to enjoy of the best veg thali in Indeco Hotels near Swamimalai in Dec 2019. The unlimited veg meals costs you 350 plus tax per person and its worth it. Try their pure ghee to go with daal fry. We loved all the items in the thali and it was a pleasant experience altogether in Indeco Hotels.
Kumbakonam Is not just famous for temples, you can also buy best class brass idols, copper items, hand-loom silk sarees, pottery items etc.,
Click on the following link to find the best place to shop for good quality pooja items in Kumbakonam.