While Bangalore has many attractive residential areas, there are some that suit expatriates more in terms of what they offer, whether it is proximity to business districts, or the convenience and a more cosmopolitan lifestyle in general. Since Bangalore often has several smallish residential neighbourhoods clustered together in one area, the residential districts below have been divided by geographic location (North/South/East/West) to provide a more comprehensive view of the city’s neighborhoods.
Some of the most popular residential areas for expatriates are:
Bangalore North (Palace Orchards / Sadashivnagar / Sankey Road)
Located north of the city centre, this is the most upmarket residential area in Bangalore. It is popular among politicians, movie stars, and most of the city’s millionaires. This area also offers easy access to the new international airport and the Peenya industrial area.
Homes in this neighborhood tend to be very large villas and a handful of upscale apartments. Living here isolates you from the bustle of Bangalore, although none of the city’s more active spots is very far away. Although the arterial roads around this neighborhood can be crowded, especially at peak traffic times, it is nevertheless green and expansive. What it lacks in the cosy neighborhood feel, it makes up for by being central yet secluded. You will need a car to get around here, as roads are wide and long, making neighborhood walks a little difficult. Obviously, the prices of rentals in this area are very high, which is its only drawback.
Restaurants: A good number of restaurants in this area are in the many five star hotels that dot it. The Sheraton Windsor Manor http://www.itcwelcomgroup.in/Hotels/itcwindsor.aspx has several restaurants and a bar within it, as do the Le Meridien http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1833 and The Ashok http://www.thelalit.com/. On the younger, trendier side are Opus http://www.myopus.in/ (a well-known tapas/dinner and music venue), and Pebbles (Ramana Maharishi Road), which is one of the best dancing spots in Bangalore with an ever-changing list of DJ’s.
Sports Facilities: Bangalore Golf Club, Fitness One Gym http://fitnessone.in/ or the health clubs and pools at the hotels mentioned above.
Bangalore Central (M.G. Road / Brigade Road / Frazer Town / Richmond Road)
Centred around Bangalore’s main business district, this is a trendy neighborhood and home to Bangalore’s wealthy business people. Living in this area puts you in the middle of the action, and you are a short walk away from the best shopping, pubs and restaurants. Although it offers a wide range of housing options, from villas to modern apartments, this is nevertheless an expensive area. While most of this neighborhood is fairly busy, there are still many pockets that offer quiet havens, especially around Langford Town, Lavelle Road, and Frazer Town, and the green expanse of Cubbon Park is close at hand.
Public transport and autorickshaws are readily available in this area, and you might want to use them rather than take a car around since parking is especially hard to find. Most of your needs will be a short walk away though. The only downside as a resident of this area is parking and the fact that it is inundated with shoppers, tourists and young people out of the town, especially on the weekend.
International Schools: None in the neighbourhood. Nearest: Bangalore International School http://www.bangaloreinternationalschool.com/
Restaurants: There is a slew of restaurants in this area, and you will be spoilt for choice. One of the finest restaurants in Bangalore (Sunny’s http://www.sunnysbangalore.in) serves up Italian and Mediterranean delights. Harima (Residency Road) is a popular Japanese place and UB City mall on Vittal Mallya Road has several options (Japanese – Shiro, Italian – Toscano, Mediterranean – Fava, North Indian – Rajdhani). On the top of Barton Centre on MG Road is Ebony (Indian, Continental), and its two sister establishments, the 13th Floor (lounge bar) and On the Edge (Thai/Med restaurant), all of which are very popular with ex-pats. For a simple setting and great Indian food, there’s Queen’s on Church Street, and Koshy’s Cafe and Restaraunt (an old Bangalore institution) on St. Mark’s Road. A cluster of pubs and bars can also be found in this area, including the Hard Rock Cafe on St. Mark’s Road.
Cinemas: Rex, Brigade Road, Symphony MG Road, INOX (Magrath Road)http://www.inoxmovies.com
Sports Facilities: Zela Gym http://www.zelalife.com, Fitness First Gym http://www.fitnessfirst.net.in, Bangalore Club (Tennis, Swimming, Squash) http://www.bangaloreclub.com/, Kanteerava stadium (Archery, Climbing Wall, Track and Field)
Bangalore East (Indira Nagar / Old Airport Road)
Although slightly away from the city centre, this eastern part of Bangalore, which was once a quiet residential neighborhood, has now become something of a centre of its own. Full of gracious homes (mostly large villas), and main streets packed with upmarket shops and an ever-widening choice of restaurants, Indira Nagar offers ex-pats the perfect combination of living comfort and active street life. A good number of the ex-pats who work in the central business district, or on the Old Madras Road, choose this as their neighborhood.
Its extension – the Old Airport Road area, is somewhat busier but shares the same restaurants and shopping areas. On this stretch though, there are no villas, just high-rise apartments, for those who prefer the convenience of apartment living.
With everything you could possibly want from a neighborhood, from eating out to shopping, relative peace, plenty of greenery and parks, clubs, golfing, schools and hospitals, living here is highly recommended.
Restaurants: The main shopping and eating area is 100 Feet Road, and there is a wide choice of eateries along and off this stretch. Little Italy (Italian) 100 Ft (Continental), 6 Ballygunge Place (Indian-Bengali), Barbeque Nation (steaks and barbeques), Mainland China (Chinese/Thai) http://www.mainlandchinaindia.com/ are all highly recommended. Also on 100 Feet Road is the B Flat bar and High Note restaurant which often have live music gigs and good food besides. Herbs and Spice on 80 Feet Road http://herbsandspice.in/ does wonderful quiche, lasagna and has a patisserie attached and Annachi (3rd Main Road) does spicy and delicious Chettinad (South Indian) cuisine.
Bangalore South East (Koramangala / HSR Layout / Sarjapur Road)
Similar to Indira Nagar in that it offers gracious homes and plenty of restaurants and entertainment options, Koramangala is southeast of the city centre, and positioned at city end of Bangalore’s IT strip. One stretch of major IT development is on the Hosur Road, reaching up to Electronics City, and the other is along the Sarjapur Road, both of which are easily accessible from Koramangala.
In spite of being located between two of the city’s busiest highways, Kormanagala still retains a leafy, residential feel, with a wide choice of houses from villas to high-end apartments, and is one of the most desirable addresses in Bangalore. There is no dearth of restaurants, stores and shopping malls here, and it has become very popular with expats and wealthy Indians who work in IT. Its adjoining neighbourhoods of HSR Layout and Sarjapur Road are newer areas and offer mostly trendy high-rise apartments and gated communities, but still benefit from the restaurants and shopping of Koramangala, making this whole area a self-sustained neighborhood.
International Schools: Indus International School http://www.indusschool.com/
Restaurants: There are many dining options, and Kormangala caters to all tastes – the Aspasia hotel has two restaurants, Babettes (Continental) and Fujiyama (Japanese). For Mangalore and Goan seafood there is Kubay http://www.kubay.in , for Rajasthani and Gujarati food, go to Rajdhani http://rajdhani.co.in/, authentic Chinese cuisine can be had at China Pearl http://www.chinapearlindia.com/, and for a more European touch, there is the Italian restaurant and lounge bar, Via Milano http://www.viamilano.co.in/. There are also several restaurants and pubs located within the Forum Mall http://www.theforumexperience.com
Cinemas: PVR in the Forum Mall http://www.pvrcinemas.com/home
Bangalore South (BTM Layout / JP Nagar)
Lying at the southernmost tip of the city, just off the Hosur Road that leads to Electronics City, are the twin neighbourhoods of BTM Layout and JP Nagar. This neighbourhood is quite far removed from the action of downtown Bangalore, so living here is most convenient for people working along the Hosur Road or in Electronics City. What started as a leafy residential area with large villas has now grown to accommodate several high-rise apartments that are in the medium budget range. This area is often seen as an economical version of Koramangala, its busier and more upmarket neighbour to the east, and offers large comfortable spaces at a significantly lower cost.
It may not be quite as cosmopolitan as some of the other neighbourhoods described above, but it still has many facilities and options to eat out and is within striking distance of the old Bangalore neighbourhoods of Jayanagar and Banashankari, both of which have a quintessentially local flavour. One downside of this area is that is low-lying and prone to flooding in the monsoons. Other than that, it is expat-friendly, and abounds in IT professionals.
International Schools: Deccan International School http://www.disblr.in
Restaurants: There are several eating options in BTM Layout and JP Nagar, and the majority of the good ones serve predominantly North Indian cuisine. Mast Kalandar is one such, with a contemporary twist to North Indian staples http://www.mastkalandar.com. 36 Chowringee Lane on BTM Layout 100 Feet Road serves authentic Bengali cuisine, and Chowpatty (3rd Cross, 2nd Stage) does Mumbai street food in a restaurant ambience. Woody’s in 2nd Phase JP Nagar is an old South Indian food bastion. For more continental taste buds, there are few good options apart from Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza, which have more than one outlet, and Barbeque Nation http://www.barbeque-nation.com which is a great place to satisfy a craving for a steak. For more variety, it is best to head up to Koramangala, a short drive away and choose from the many options there.
Cinemas: PVR in the Forum Mall http://www.pvrcinemas.com/home
Sports Facilities: Hicon Fitness Centre (BTM Layout), Talwalkars Gym, Yoga, massage centre and spa (JP Nagar) http://talwalkars.net, Cuts and Curves (JP Nagar)
Whitefield is an eastern suburb of Bangalore that was, until ten years ago, an area full of farms and small villages. As part of Bangalore’s development, it was earmarked as a tech zone, in order to attract large IT companies. It is now home to the International Tech Park, Bangalore (ITPB), which houses a large number of IT majors, and Dell, SAP, Oracle, GE and several other large players have their offices in the Whitefield area. The housing scenario in Whitefield grew hand in hand with this development, and there are now several mega apartment complexes, gated communities and villas in Whitefield.
There is certainly an air of newness to Whitefield, and it does not have the feel of an old, lived-in neighborhood. Most housing is in large complexes, and there are no older shops, restaurants and establishments along the streets. Getting to downtown Bangalore can take an hour or more, but Whitefield does have all conveniences, is very expat-friendly, and offers people working in the area everything that a resident might need.
Supermarkets: Nilgiris (Brookefield Rd) http://www.nilgiris1905.com Reliance Fresh (Whitefield Main Road)
Restaurants: There is a range of restaurants in Whitefield, from basic Pizza joints (Domino’s and Pizza Hut) to the upmarket Latitude restaurant at the Taj Vivanta (which also has a Deli and a lounge bar). Other notables are Herbs ‘n’ Spices http://www.herbsnspices.in, located in an old colonial bungalow, and Little Italy, which has branches in Bangalore city and focuses on Italian fare. Most of the better restaurants in Whitefield are to be found in the hotels in the area, and apart from the Taj, the Zuri and Mark Boulevard both have more than one restaurant for fine dining options.
Cinemas: Fame Cinema (Forum Mall) http://famecinemas.com/, Innovative Multiplex (Marathalli)
Sports Facilities: Oasis Club, Gym and Spa, Fitness One (Brookfield)http://fitnessone.in/, Health Club at the Taj Vivanta