Foodies will agree that there are certain places that are worth a visit just for the variety of cuisine that they offer, and over the years McLeodGanj has earned this reputation. This spiritual hill station, which is home to the Tibetan government in exile has its own charm. It is lined with shacks, eateries, bakeries and cafes that offer a selection of cuisines, from Italian, Tibetan, Bhutanese to Indian and draw buzzing crowds all day long. Here are six places you should try and visit next time you’re in this charming and surreal hill station.
Seed Cafe: If you want a place with scenic views then this is your best bet. Surrounded by glass windows it has floor seating as well as tables by the side. It’s away from the hustle bustle of the main square so you can sit here for hours, read a book, play a game of chess or simply gaze at the stunning Dhauladhar range outside. In the evening it takes on a different look with live music and open mic nights. And when it comes to food, they’ve got it absolutely right – from delicious sandwiches, pancakes, pizzas, lasagnas, pastas, noodles, Continental bakes to sinful desserts.
Jogiwara Road, McLeogGanj
Hummingbird Cafe: Located inside the Norbulingka Institute this lovely cafe is set around a gorgeous garden. When the weather is good sitting outside is just perfect. Order a cappuccino and have it with a slice of fresh homemade lemon cake. And when hunger pangs are strong go for the pizza, momos, or the thukpa. The options are limited for vegetarians.
www.norbulingka.org, around 11km from main square McLeogGanj, Sidhpur, Dharamsala
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen: No prizes for guessing what this place would offer. Besides an exquisite range of pizzas and pastas try their selection of salads, shakes and desserts. The gnocchi in pesto sauce is particularly good. And wrap up the meal with fresh waffles or pancakes. You’ll come back for seconds. The restaurant has posters of Hollywood films.
Main Square, Jogiwara Road, McLeodGanj
Tibet Kitchen: This restaurant serves scrumptious Tibetan goodies. Still, spare a thought for the Bhutanese dishes on the menu even as you tuck into your thenthuks, thukpas, sausages, and succulent momos (steamed, not fried). Even with three floors and a lounge on top, it’s often full.
Jogiwara Road, McLeodGanj
Namgyal Cafe: You may have a tough time locating this café, but it is worth the effort for you’ll get to taste some of the best pizzas in town. Earlier it was inside in Dalai Lama’s Temple complex, but now it is in a back alley and located inside Om Hotel. The billing counter of the restaurant is crammed with notes from across the world and the walls have colourful paintings. The wood-fire thin crust pizzas are some of the best you would have eaten in a long time. They also have sandwiches, crepes, pastas and cakes. If you get bored while waiting for your order choose from a range of books lined up on bookshelf. They have quite a good collection ranging from fiction to spirituality.
Om Hotel, Nowrojee Road, McLeogGanj
Tibet Quality Bakery: When it comes to desserts nobody can beat Tibet Quality Bakery. Take your pick from yak cheese pastries, chocolate and rum balls, beetroot nut slices, yak muffins, Tibet special nut bars to a variety of breads.
Jogiwara Road, McLeogGanj
For a detailed list of places to eat, sleep, shop and see in McLeodGanj, grab a copy of our Best Escapes Hills.