Rajasthan, a landscape of desert, lakes and mountains, is steeped in India’s rich history, manifest in the region’s numerous temples, palaces and forts. Whether you find yourself in cities like Jodhpur and Udaipur, or somewhere more remote, hospitality is high on the agenda in Rajasthan. Updating our previous gourmet guide, we have selected 10 of the region’s best restaurants, so you can taste North West Indian culture for yourself.
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Sunder Palace – Jaipur
Located in the heart of Jaipur, Sunder Palace is a family-run guesthouse where the owners value exceptional hospitality, offering food and accommodation at very reasonable prices. The guesthouse’s restaurant is situated at the top of the building and offers a unique view of the Hathroi Fort. Its charming roof top terrace resembles a veritable suspended garden with foliage climbing the walls and plants and flowers secluding the tables. Guests can dine here in a romantic atmosphere of soft music and candlelit tables. Food is served any time of the day and night with a menu offering an array of vegetarian dishes all made with high quality fresh ingredients.
Darikhana – Jodhpur
Situated in the premises of the luxurious Raas, Jodhpur’s first boutique hotel, the Darikhana is a perfect choice for dining al fresco. Its beautiful modern terrace with marble floors and dim lighting provides a wonderful night time view of the shimmering lights of the Mehrangarh Fort. The majority of ingredients on the Darikhana’s menu are sourced from local farms and the Raas Hotel even boasts its own organic garden, which supplies the restaurant with seasonal vegetables, salads and herbs. These are all blended with hand-ground spices from Old Delhi to make some of the most mouth-watering fragrant Indian dishes.
Devi Garh – Udaipur
Situated in the beautiful hilltop village of Delwara in an exquisite 18th century palace, Devi Garh is a perfect romantic retreat from the city. Its somewhat theatrical setting features a breathtaking backdrop of mountains, the mellow sound of jal tarang and flutes, contemporary furnishings and intimate spaces with candles flickering in mirrored walls. The menu features an interesting aspect of Indian cuisine, which would not otherwise have been served in such surroundings. This is the famous ‘chaat’, or street food, which the Devi Garth chefs serve with a creative twist. The rest of the menu is based on Indian and international cuisine, and all dishes are prepared with the freshest ingredients.
Gallops – Bikaner
Restaurant, Indian, Italian, Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $
Venturing to the Northwest of Rajasthan into Bikaner, the hungry traveller will be delighted to find the peace and quiet of Gallops restaurant. Set in a secluded garden, Gallop’s outdoor seating offers a perfect place to eat al fresco after a visit to see the treasures the Junagarh Fort, the main entrance of which faces the restaurant. Gallops is renowned not only for its good Indian and international food, but also for the real coffee served, which is popular with both locals and travellers.
Handi – Jaipur
Located in the busy centre of Jaipur, Handi is a homely restaurant specialising in Mughlai and tandoori food. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes consists of meat cooked very slowly over a charcoal stove in a clay pot, or handi, from which the restaurant got its name. Other typical dishes on the menu include garlic mutton, marinated chicken cooked in tomato curry and khati kababs. Fish curry is available according to season. A popular place for both locals and tourists, the Handi owners were winners of the Times best North Indian Food award in 2013 and have since opened a sister restaurant in Jaipur, the Vaishiali Nagar.
Latitude – Jodhpur
Located inside the sumptuous Vivanta Hotel, Latitude is one of Jodhpur’s trendiest restaurants and open at all hours for luxury breakfasts, light lunch snacks and heavenly dinners. Its chic interior opens out onto a majestic courtyard where guests can enjoy a candlelit dinner to the sound of live music. Music is not the only live feature of Latitude. Chefs are always on show here, busily preparing meals live in front of the guests at various food stations and filling the restaurant with the fragrance of spices. Food is then beautifully displayed in the form of breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets from which guests can savour a wide choice of Rajasthani delicacies. Look out for Latitude’s signature dal bati, Jodhpuri dahi kebab and lal maas.
Nirvana – Jodhpur
A stone’s throw away from Jodhpur’s famous Clock Tower and sharing premises with a Rama temple, Nirvana is very colourful restaurant with ornate pillars and walls bearing original paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu legend of the Ramayana. Its roof top terrace is an ideal spot to enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the city, and in particular the Mehrangarth Fort. Nirvana’s menu offers some of the regions best food as well as other, Indian, European and Chinese dishes and snacks. All dishes are made with fresh, natural ingredients and served with piping hot naan bread straight from the Nirvana’s tandoor oven.
Risala – Jodhpur
Restaurant, Indian, Asian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free
For real fine dining and wining, look no further than the Risala, a palatial restaurant where guests are treated like royalty. Named after the Risala Jodhpur lancers who won victory over the Turks at Haifa in 1918, the restaurant’s walls are lined with portraits of the lancer martyrs and His Royal Highness Umaid Singh. The menu promises an array of marinated meats, chicken and kebabs, as well as a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Each dish is cleverly perfumed with just the right amount of Marwari spice to make the food tasty but not overpowering, and a hand-picked selection of imported and Indian wines are the ultimate ingredient to make this dining experience fit for a king.
Sheesh Mahal – Udaipur
Sheesh Mahalis possibly one of the most romantic settings in Rajasthan. Situated in Udaipur’s luxurious Leela Palace, this divine terrace overlooking Lake Pichola offers a blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Its chic chequer floors and glowing lanterns, scented candles and flowers all spell out romance, while the Indian flavours of the menu and traditional ceremonies are a feast for all the senses. The evening glow of glittering candles in multicoloured hues adds a resplendent touch to this already royal restaurant, making Sheesh Mahal an exquisite fine-dining experience in the heart of Rajasthan.
Upré by 1559 AD – Udaipur
Diner, Restaurant, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, $$
Situated in the magnificent Lake Pichola Hotel, Upré is a waterside restaurant overlooking the shores of the lake Pichola, the City Palace, Lake Palace, the temples and the bathing ghats. Its highly modern and open terrace is the perfect place to dine while soaking up the magnificent views and gazing across Udaipur’s historic skyline. East meets West on the menu, where classic European cuisine gets a creative Indian makeover, offering a mouth-watering array of delicacies to capture and remember.
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