Restaurant Reviews – India


Cafe Del Mar, Varkala

Food Adequate. Attitude Terrible
We had a couple of meals in this restaurant over a two week period – food was ok and the service was acceptable. On our third visit we attempted to order a cheese omelette for our evening meal only to be told that they were too busy, they only serve omelettes for breakfast and that the menu states this (it didn’t).

Perhaps their evening chef cannot cook an omelette – if so I suggest you avoid this restaurant as all he probably doing is heating up precooked food! Or perhaps an omelette doesn’t attract the same profit as some of the other items on their menu although it is priced the same as many other dinner items on their menu.

This restaurant is probably best avoided until they improve their attitude to customers. Any of the restaurants on either side of this one will willingly serve you what is on their menu.


The Juice Shack, Varkala

The most extensive list of juices ever and the few that I tried were excellent.

If you are after a snack then try their hummus (probably one of the best I’ve ever tasted and all home made) or if you need something more substantial then try one of their veg. curries – the few I tried were very well spiced (not hot just well spiced).

This little restaurant is well worth a try.

Highly recommended.


Coffee Temple, Varkala

Easily the best coffee in Varkala and their banoffee pie is well worth a try although one between two may be enough for most as they are quite rich.

They also do an adequate Masala Dosa and a very good omelette for breakfast.


The New Karela Cafe, Varkala

Excellent Indian food, fish dishes and pizza.

Especially liked their seafood pizza. Cooked in the tandoor – very tasty and well worth a try.

If you sit outside at the front you get to watch their excellent tandoor chef in action.


Sree Sabarees, Madurai

Very good food, cheap and fast
Probably the busiest restaurant I have eaten in. Food excellent and very cheap. Service is lightning fast.

The only downside is you have to eat very quickly as new customers tend to stand quite close to you willing you to eat faster so that can have your seat.

I did on one occasion spot a large cockroach wander out of the kitchen and then wander back in again. BUT there is so much food being served that it must all be freshly cooked and hot (mustn’t it?) and after several visits I didn’t have any stomach problems (perhaps I was just lucky) AND how many cockroaches didn’t I see in the posh three star restaurants I have also eaten in?

Highly recommended.


Lonely Planet, Kovalam

Best Vegetarian Food in India!
OK so perhaps I exaggerate, but after almost 6 weeks travelling the Lonely Planet was a breath of fresh air. Its dishes were a cut above what we had tasted so far and used some imagination rather than just pumping out the same old Indian curries that a lot of the Kovalam restaurants appear to do.

Especially worthy of note are their stuffed peppers, ginger garlic paneer and either their bean or cabbage thoran. They will sometimes ask if you like your food spicy or not – if they don’t then don’t hesitate to ask.

If busy you may have to wait a while for your food – it took 30 minutes once for our food to arrive!

Note: The tables are located next to a very nice fish pond – I have spent many an hour just watching the snakes*, fish and the kingfishers and egrets fishing. But if eating in the evening make sure you are covered and/or protected against mosquitoes as the pond is home to many of them. It is unfair to blame the Lonely Planet for this problem as any restaurant away from the beach front will be very near to similar ponds many of which are nowhere near as clean. The Lonely Planet does burn mosquito coils

* Yup. Kovalam has snakes and probably the dangerous sort. So if walking in the narrow lanes behind the beach be aware, don’t panic, don’t touch, just let them slither off into the undergrowth.


Malabar Cafe, Kovalam

Average food very poor service.

Ordered a very simple curry for two with naan bread and waited. Several other customers arrived just after, sat down and ordered. The place was very nearly full.

After 30 minutes we chased the order, their answer was ‘its coming’. We asked again several times within the next 30 minutes only to be given the same answer. After waiting for over an hour we asked one final time at which point they came and set the table and told us ‘food coming’ – at this point we gave up and walked out.

The restaurant’s problem is it spends more effort on filling seats than it does serving the customers it has – most of the waiters spend most of their time on the path in front of the restaurant trying to persuade passersby to eat there.

It may also be that when busy the kitchen prioritizes orders depending on value. The customers that arrived just after us got served relatively quickly and some finished and paid before we even had the table set. But on the three tables we could see where this happened they had ordered fish – a much higher value meal than a simple curry.

I suggest you avoid this restaurant when nearly full or if you see most of the waiting staff on the path outside the restaurant giving it the hard sell.

I had eaten here a couple of times before – the food is ok but nothing to shout about.