We are not great 'foodies' (if one looks at the quantity we consume!), but we like experimenting. As vegetarians, our options are limited to the vegetarian restaurants in the city, for the sake of variety, more than anything else. For two years we 'adaki vaasichufied' (chaste tamil for staying quiet!), because of the kid, and now that he insists on a separate plate for himself, we have begun 'restaurmenting' (experimenting with restaurants that is!) again.As and when we try a new restaurant, I shall post my experience.
The tried and tested
Saravana Bhavan: Food quality is as good as ever. However, with new, good, food joints springing up every now and then, Saravana Bhavan seems obnoxiously expensive and their service is not good. Kid-friendly to the extent that they provide high chairs, otherwise they still follow the policy of asking diners to be seated on the same side of the table if possible, to accommodate others!
Murugan Idli Kadai: Another 'functional' eat-out. One gets bored after a few times, since there is no variety in the menu. Quality of food is very good though. One warning: It is better to start with either Idli or a vadai. We once ordered, idlis, vadais, dosas and kuzhi paniyaram, and everything tasted sour. It was summer and guess the batter had gone bad! Expensive, considering what is offered, but good.
Cream center: We visited this place (RA Puram) only a few weeks back and understood why everyone was drooling when they mentioned the place. Lovely food. Absolutely kid-friendly. But highly priced (Channa Patura Rs. 120?? Hard to 'digest', the price that is!) and lackadaisical service. But one can go again and again for the food. To get a good value for your money, I would suggest one tries their 'Thali'.
Eden: A perennial favorite only and only because of the food. Much had been written about their service and space! The Anna Nagar restaurant is spacious though, and also offers more on the menu. I hav n't tried their place at 'Harrisons'.
Mast Kalandar: (Above Shastri Nagar SBI Branch) A few months old. Good food. Interesting combos. Reasonably priced. Again very functional. They blare 1990s hindi songs and is a bit hard on the ear! Reminded me of the 'Ohri" restaurants in Hyderabad. It is better to go with the combos. If individually ordered, it would appear pricey. We prefer ordering from home and they deliver on time.
Rasam: We dined at their Mylapore outlet. Good food, different fare. But expensive (considering the quantity) and service, lethargic.
There are some more but I don't remember them now!
The New Places
Dosa Calling: Not new, as their Kilpauk outlet is already many months old, but their Indira nagar outlet is just a few weeks into business. Food is good. A lot of variety in their menu and they don't stick to Dosas alone. They also offer, Rice, pastas and Wraps. Reasonably priced (cheaper than Murugabn Idli Kadai) and good quality. But the place is very small. They too follow the "sit on the same side of the table" principle. In fact there is no proper waiting area and one has to wait (almost) on the road. Service was slow. They have to do something about the space. Here, the tamil songs blare, and give the effect fit for a 'tea kadai'. I understand that they offer Dosas...but still???
Annalakshmi: This is a new outlet at 'Planet Yumm' on Eliot's Beach. First and foremost, they are (thankfully!) situated outside the common dining place, similar to Saravana Bhavan in Spencer's Plaza. It appears spacious. The food is good and price almost reasonable. They have more variety, and I say this because they may pose a stiff competition to Murugan Idli across the road. They open at ^:00 AM and close at 10:PM. It is clear, however, that they are still in the initial stages and that should explain the slow service. One refreshing change from other eating joints (according to H) is that the plates are yellow and not white! Not too bright but different!!
P.S: The above are based on my experiences at the restaurants that I found 'reasonably good' and not general views as heard from friends and relatives! Also, since I (or we) care more about hygiene, quality and taste, ambiance may or may not feature here!