Every one agrees that the breakfast is the most important meal. It is the fuel that keeps you going for the rest of the day. But what if you have only Rs 50 to spare? Not to worry. There are still places in the city where you can eat well and wisely for that amount

Sri Sai Café

Avanashi Road

“Pongal over! Khichdi over!”, declares Pradeep, to the customers waiting in line in front of him. It is only half-past- ten in the morning and many items are already sold out. “Nine to ten is the busiest time,” says Pradeep. Sri Sai Cafe mills with busy professionals, auto drivers and students. It is run by three college friends Bala Kartheesh, S. Chandra Mohan and A.R. Senthilnathan. “Our main aim is to provide people with cheap and good quality food,” says Kathereesh, who is the proprietor of the cafe. Tawas hiss loudly with dosa batter. There is masala roast and podi roasts (Rs.25), onion roast (Rs.30) and fluffy idlis (Rs.6).

Pooris, sambar vada and dahi vada are the other stars of the menu. Each day they serve a different sevai (Rs 20). Vazhakkai bajjis, banana fries and karam bondas do brisk business from eight in the morning. Next to him, stands Thulasi who greets you with, “Coffee or tea?” My breakfast on this busy working day comes to a refreshing close with frothy filter coffee.

Address: 6, North Huzur Road

Time: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Telephone: 94422-35508


Lakshmi Sankar Mess

Thadagam Road

Would you be happy with eating a dosa, a chappati and an idly for breakfast and still have some money left over? Then Lakshmi Shankar mess on Thadagam Road is the place to go. The dosa (Rs 18), chappati (Rs 18) and idly (Rs 9 per piece) apart the other options are Sevai (Rs 25) and a set of Idyappam (Rs 20).

The mess prides itself on healthy food and so instead of tea or coffee, you can choose from many traditional, healthy options here. There is no coffee or tea, but instead, you can have a nourishing Shukku Coffee (Rs 10), Pana kalkandu paal (Rs 18) or a masala paal (Rs25 as it has dry fruits in it).

Address: 1440, Thadagam Road, (GCT College Stop)


Telephone: 94891-90327


Geetha Café

Near Railway Station

Breakfast starts at six at Geetha Café, opposite the Railway Station. Just in time for passengers of the Chennai Intercity to tuck into two idlis (Rs.18), vadai (Rs.15) and sambar and wash it down with hot filter coffee (Rs.19). At 6.30 a.m, the kitchen sends out pongal (Rs. 30), saada dosai (Rs. 24) and roast (Rs 30) that tastes like it was made at home. If you have a sweet tooth, you can choose from laddoo, jamun and kesari, for just Rs. 13 a serving. For nearly 80 years, this has been a trusted breakfast place. Because they don’t use palm oil or soda, says manager Chandrasekaran Iyer. Also, they don’t use onion on ammavasai and pradosham, in keeping with the sentiments of their regular customers.

Address: 7/52, Geetha Hall Road

Time: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Telephone: 0422 – 2302749 and 93450-73292


Ravi Mess and Tea Stall


Better known as ‘Nair kadai’ by it’s patrons, this mess has attracted hungry people for the last 25 years. A small stall, it has been very popular among lovers of a traditional South Indian breakfast.

“Dosas, idlis and pooris are the staple draw here. People come in from the outskirts of the city to savour them along with a hot cup of tea or coffee in the mornings,” says A. Ravi, the owner. Students, working professionals and others on a budget frequent this mess. Some have a quick morning bite here, while others have the breakfast packed to carry along.

The popular items include dosa (Rs.10), a set of idlis (Rs.10), pooris (Rs.30) and the favourite appam (Rs 15). Savour pakodas at Rs. 8. The outlet is also open for lunch.

Address: Karunanidhi Nagar, Ramanthapuram

Time: 6 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.

Telephone: 99940-77296.


Thirupathi Mess


Pongal, kichidi, idli, dosai, poori masala, uthappam are the breakfast specials here. Parents pack idlis for their school-going children, office goers and construction workers order their every day special, the idli-vadai set, that arrives with kaara chutney, coconut chutney and piping hot sambar. “Our customers come here for home-made taste and quantity too,” says S. Anandraj. Pongal (Rs. 25), kichidi (Rs. 25) plain uthappam (Rs.25) and the special onion uthappam (Rs.30) are popular. Vegetables come fresh from the market every day and chefs from Pudhukottai and Devakottai begin work at the kitchen from 5.30 a.m.

The kichidi loaded with carrot, beans and peas is a favourite, as is the poori-masala (Rs.35).

It is easy to have a hearty breakfast for Rs 40 here. Thirupathi Mess also caters to weddings and other occasions.

Address: 97, Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Ramanathapuram (behind Ayyappa Temple)

Time: From 7.15 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Telephone: 98659-79517/ 98434-44748/ 6540567