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Take the food-lover in you to Kerala’s best family-friendly toddy shops and experience one of the most popular beverages of God’s Own Country.

keralas famous toddy shopsImage: Iris Holidays
Tuesday, July 07, 2020 - 12:22

Malayali food is widely considered to be hands down one of the most flavorsome cuisines in India - a real treat for foodies who crave rich, spicy and tangy flavours. And as much as hopping off to a fancy family restaurant serving Kerala food would be easy, it’s just not authentic enough.

For real food lovers, the Malayali gastronomic experience has to include Kerala’s toddy shops. When it comes to authentic dining in Kerala, no establishment does it better. And don’t let the mention of alcohol throw you off. In this curated list are only the best toddy shops in Kerala that are totally safe to visit with your family and kids.

What are toddy shops?

Toddy is a kind of a palm wine which is made by fermenting the flower sap of the coconut palm. It’s white in colour and bitter-sweet, containing about 4-6% alcohol. In nearly every toddy shop across South India, it’s prepared and served fresh, since it has a short shelf life. In order to enhance its taste, it’s best enjoyed with food that features fiery levels of spice, like Kerala’s famous red fish curry. Also called “shaaps”, toddy shops were previously bars where this freshly brewed and revitalising local beverage was the only highlight of the menu. It was usually served with sides of spicy snacks.

Nowadays, however, Kerala’s toddy shops have been upgraded with small modern touches to make them more family-friendly. And they’ve become all about the food.

Some reputed travel companies in Kerala like Iris Holidays even offer toddy shop tours so tourists can get acquainted with the unique food that these places serve - a vast range of spicy and authentic Kerala cuisine.

Toddy shops in Kerala to visit on your next holiday

1. Kadamakudy Kallu Shop

Situated on the banks of a serene lake in Ernakulam, the Kadamakudy Toddy Shop is among the most famous toddy shops in Kerala for families. Foodies visit it both for its mouth-watering Keralan delicacies like seafood fries and chicken curry, and for its awesome views of green paddy fields and a shimmering lake.

While you’re relishing the taste of freshly brewed toddy at this tiny joint, don’t forget to try the chef’s special Njandu Roast (crab roast).

The restaurant may not have a boast-worthy ambience, but the delicious food, family-friendly atmosphere, mind-blowing views, and commendable hospitality makes the visit worthwhile.

Location: Kadamakkudy village, near Kadamakudy Junction, Kadamakudy to Thekke Attam Road

Opening hours: 8 AM - 8 PM

2. Mullapanthal Toddy Shop

This toddy shop-cum-family restaurant is known to serve some of the best and most authentic Malayali food in all of Kerala, and at very reasonable rates. Highlights on their menu include items like Meen Karimeen Pollichathu (Fish), Thalakkarai (Fish Head), Njandu Curry (Crab), and the rare Turtle Roast. Make sure to come here an hour earlier than your usual lunch or dinner time, especially on weekends. This is a joint that’s always crowded!

Mullapanthal Toddy Shop is hailed as one of the best family toddy shops in Kerala according by travellers as well as locals. Its soothingly rustic setting and a century-long experience in serving quality South Indian fare with fresh palm wine has made it one of the most respected and recognized names in the food industry over the years.

Location: MLA Road, Udayamperoor, Thrippunithura, Kochi, Kerala 682307

Opening hours: 8 AM - 9 PM

3. Nettoor Shappu

Nestled on the banks of the beautiful Kochi Lake, Nettoor Toddy Shop is among the finest names in not just the toddy business, but also in serving Kerala’s finest cuisine. Its food has earned it returning customers over the years, both local and foreign.

Some of the most famous dishes served here include Meen Thala Kari (Fish Head), Tapioca, and special Rabbit Roast - which is an absolute favorite of all guests that dine here.

While this is a traditional toddy shop, it has evolved increasingly into a family restaurant and bar over the years. Surrounded by breezy coconut palms, this sober looking toddy shop is even frequented by couples. It has earned its place on the list of the top 10 toddy shops in Kerala - the service is quick and commendable, the prices are reasonable, and the restaurant is clean.

Location: Near Nettor Palli, Nettoor, Maradu, Ernakulam, Kerala 682040

Opening hours: 8 AM - 8:30 PM

4. Mapranam Shappu

Located in the charming district of Thrissur, Mapranam Shappu happens to be one of the most famous family toddy shops in Kerala. The main reason for its soaring popularity is its unique variety of food. It serves 26 different, delicious varieties of authentic Kerala dishes it serves on the weekends and 13 on weekdays. The dishes are placed on a large table in this enormous one-hall eating joint. Visitors can simply taste them and order whichever they like.

Some of its most tempting delicacies include Kada Fry, Kallummakarya, Chemmeen, Koonthal, Turkey, and Meen Thala Kari.

This toddy shappu-cum-family restaurant also offers dishes of crab, duck, and rabbit. The dishes are moderately priced and can be customised to your liking. While the decor is humble, you’ll find that the place is clean and hygienic.

Location: Thrissur-Kodungallur Road, Gandhipuram, Irinjalakuda North, Porathissery, Kerala 680712

Opening hours: 9 AM - 8 PM

5. Padippura Shaap

Tucked near Tripunithura, Padippura Shaap is a renowned toddy shop frequented not just by those who love toddy, but also by those who can’t have enough of the divine Malayali cuisine, especially its seafood. Some of the best items on its menu include Fish Curry, Fish Fry, Pork Fry, and Beef Roast, best eaten with the soft and delectable Appams served here.

The best time to visit to dine at Padippura Shaap is in the afternoon. You’ll be amazed by their quick service and spick and span premises. And unlike other toddy shops in Kerala for families, Padippura offers takeaway options.

Location: Patham Mile, Udayamperoor, Thrippunithura, Ernakulam, Kerala 682307

Opening hours: 8 AM - 8 PM

6. Tharavadu Toddy Shop

Serving fresh toddy along with finger-licking spicy food, Tharavadu Toddy Shop is yet another of the famous Kerala toddy shops for families. It’s easy to locate, which is why it’s the number one choice of many families and couples visiting Kumarakom. It’s situated right after the famous Kavanattinkara bridge.

Some unmissable items on its menu include Varal Meen Curry, Crab Roast, Podimeen Fry, and Tharavu Curry.

Other than tasty fare, this place has landed on every list of the top 10 toddy shops in Kerala because of its clean and comfortable dining areas - an air-conditioned indoor dining space, a cozy rooftop dining space with splendid views of the Kumarakom backwaters, and tiny huts for a more private dining experience. Other than this, its disciplined atmosphere, quick service, and large parking space make it suitable for almost every kind of traveler visiting Kerala.

Location: Kolapra, Muttom, Kerala 685590

Opening hours: 8 AM - 5 PM

7. Velliyazhchakavu Toddy Bar

Vellizhchakavu Toddy Bar is located near the Velliyazhchakavu Temple in the Cherunniyur region of Trivandrum, Kerala. It’s among the most well-known toddy shops in Kerala for families, not only for its mouth-watering food, but also for its scenic natural surroundings. Guests love to gorge on delicacies from this toddy shop’s menu while basking in the beauty of the greenery enveloping it.

Some of the note-worthy items on its menu are Nadan Kozhi Curry, Kanava Roast, Tharavu Roast, Crab Roast, as well as Chemmeen Roast. The bar-cum-restaurant sits within a large compound that has a pond in its center - where the restaurant breeds freshwater fish for guests.

One of the highlights of this eatery is that customers can watch the chefs catch and cook the fish from the pond as per their customizations. And though it’s referred to as a bar, it offers comfortable, private spaces for families and couples to enjoy their meals.

Location: Varkala - Attingal Road, Cherunniyoor, Kerala 695142

Opening hours: 8 AM - 10 PM

8. Karimpumkala Toddy Shop

With a 60-year legacy, Karimbumkala is among the finest Kerala toddy shops for families and couples, owing to its comfortable and kid-friendly environment.

Karimbumkala is a seafood-lovers’ paradise, so much so that its signature dish is the Karimeen Pollichathu, and out of all the commendable dishes served here, it’s the clear favorite. The fish is cooked in a banana leaf along with a traditional spice recipe, and develops a unique flavour.

Other delicious dishes served here include Duck Curry, Meen Thala Curry, Crab Roast, and Puttu. Customers can also try dishes prepared from Kakka (oyster), Konju (tiger prawns), Chemmeen (prawns), Njandu (crab), Kozhuva, and beef.

Location: Pallom, Kottayam 686007 India

Opening hours: 8 AM - 8 PM

9. Kidangu Toddy Shop

Located in Thrippunithura, this shop offers mouth-water dishes like Karimeen Fish Curry, Tapioca, Beef Curry, Chicken, Crab Roast, and Prawns Roast, along with refreshing glasses of toddy. An ideal place for families and friends, it is known for serving delicious and quality food that is spiced to perfection.

Unlike many dingy toddy shops across Kerala, this one offers dining in air-conditioned rooms. The staff is super friendly and the service is prompt. Despite the fancier premises, the food is priced reasonably - which is why it’s among the top 10 toddy shops in Kerala.

The management here is known to be extremely courteous. They take every bit of the customer feedback seriously.

Location: Kidangu Rd, Kannankulangara, Thrippunithura, Ernakulam, Kerala 682301

Opening hours: 10 AM - 8 PM

10. Subhash Restaurant

Located in a rural region of Alleppey, Subhash Restaurant (or Subhash Hotel), is a hidden gem that serves some of the most delicious Malayali food and toddy in all of Kerala, at unbelievably low rates. It could seem downright shabby from the outside, but all it takes is a step inside and a whiff of the food to change minds about this place.

If one is seeking a truly local dining experience in Kerala, this is the best choice. And its down-to-earth look doesn’t stop the customers from flocking to it. You’re sure to find plenty of diners here during peak meal times and on weekends, so visit half an hour earlier.

It’s run by a small family that will invite you in with a warm smile and cook the food right before you in a small, tidy kitchen. The food perfectly complements the toddy and is made with rich local ingredients and spices.

Location: Chungam Road, Pallathuruthy, Thirumala, Alappuzha, Kerala 688011

Opening hours: 8 AM - 8 PM

The best time to visit Kerala

Winter is considered to be the ideal time to take a trip to Kerala. The temperature ranges between 17°C and 33°C, and the weather remains dry, cool, and absolutely pleasant. This is why outdoor activities in Kerala such as watersports, beach hopping, sightseeing, safaris, and cruises are most enjoyable between October and February.

The next best season to visit is in Monsoon. At this time, it’s best to relax amidst Kerala’s unbeatable natural splendor and bask in its fresh foliage. This isn’t a crowded period for the state, so you will be able to enjoy absolute peace.

When it comes to tasting the varied flavors of Kerala’s food, there isn’t a specific ideal time. Kerala is truly God’s Own Country and in each season and month foodies can find something different and delicious to satiate their palates.

If this list of toddy shops in Kerala left you drooling, it’s your turn to get to work. Start planning a delectable Kerala escapade to Kerala right now. And make sure you include a couple toddy shops at least on your itinerary.

This article was produced by TNM Brand Studio in partnership with Iris Holidays.