Dharamsala's 10 Best Restaurants And Local Eats

Olivia Acland

The region of Dharamsala in India consists of three different tiers: a rustic lower town, the Dalai Lama’s exiled home and the busy traveller town of Mcleod Ganj at the top. All are connected by steep paths, with monkeys hiding in dense trees. Mountain air and exercise combine to make a healthy appetite, which is perhaps why the highest tier boasts such a selection of restaurants and eateries. We check out 10 of the best.

Dharamsala Street View

Tibet Kitchen

Dharamsala is home to 10,000 Tibetans and their exiled leader, so, unsurprisingly, there are dozens of Tibetan restaurants. One of the best is the simply named Tibet Kitchen, which offers a wide variety of all the dishes typical to the country: steamed vegetable dumplings, called momos; soupy noodles, called thukpa; and golden fried baby corn. The waiters are patient as guests ponder over the menu and are quick to serve the food once the order has been made.
Tibet Kitchen, Jogiwara Road, House 1, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, India, 01892 221980

1. Crepe Pancake Hut

Restaurant, Indian, Healthy, Vegetarian

© htsh_kkch/Flickr
Given the type of hippy travellers who usually flock to Mcloud Ganj, many of the cafés have a relaxed lounge-like feel. And the Crepe Pancake Hut, with low tables, cushions on the floor and stacks of second hand books, has one of the most chilled atmospheres of them all. Come here for a slow start to the day with a chocolate pancake, scrambled eggs or some perfect sticky ginger cake. If not in the mood to eat, just enjoy a pot of mint tea and a good book beside the red robed monks who are often found chatting and reading inside.

What Namghal Café is best at is rather specific; vegetarian pizza. If you prefer your pizza covered in peperoni and sausages then you may be disappointed, but this restaurant is worth a visit even if you’re not enticed by the food. It is set within the Dalai Lama’s temple and most of the waiters are volunteers from a school for Tibetan Refugee children. Lounge on the sunny roof terrace and admire the view or flick through the Buddhist books on offer in the cosy interior.
Namgyal Café, Nowrojee Road, Dharamsala, India


If books are what you’re looking for, then check out the tranquil, idyllically-positioned café Illiterati. Owned by a charming Belgian, this place has a big balcony with spectacular views over Dharamsala’s rolling green hills. It doubles up as a library and has neat shelves of books, used and new, which can be borrowed or bought. It is elegantly furnished with polished wood, wide windows and a piano at one corner. The owner or his guests often play a tune on the piano as others read and eat. The food is fresh and mostly appealing to those with European tastes, ranging from tomato soup to pizza, lasagna and fresh salads. The teas and coffees are excellent. An ideal place for a lazy, literary brunch.
Café Illiterati, Lower Jogibara Rd, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India, 9736479352

The Taste of India

You get what you’re promised in this casual two-storey restaurant: chicken tandoori, yellow dahl, vegetable biryani and aloo gobi, all heavy with Indian spice and sold for less than £3 a plate. The upper deck is full of plant life and simple wooden tables with open walls in good weather.
The Taste of India, Dharamkot road, Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, India, 9736083878

Peace Café

Peace Café

The little Peace Café is a great place to enjoy a plate of stir-fried noodles amongst chattering monks. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity suggested in the restaurant’s title, relax whilst taking in breathtaking views and watching Indian life pass by. Peace Café is also a good breakfast pit stop offering masala tea, fresh juices and deliciously steamed Tibetan bread.
Peace Café, Main Mall, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India.

2. McLlo Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Chinese, Italian, French, Indian

© Michael Foley/Flickr
Perched above the noisy main square, Mclo Restaurant is crammed with people nightly. Its popularity comes as a result of the comparably late closing time (11pm) and the chef’s incredible capacity to make food from all corners of the world. The menu consists of Indian, Chinese, Italian, French and Tibetan cuisine; you will be offered everything from momos to grilled trout and spaghetti. The top floor terrace is a sociable place in which to drink a late night beer whilst listening to European pop music and chattering to travellers.

3. Ogo’s Italian Café

Bakery, Italian

© Woeser Bakery
Come to Ogo’s Italian Café for a sumptuous repast. The chocolate puddings are particularly famed, evoking feelings of indulgence and summoning the Amalfi Coast, with beautifully fresh ingredients and oodles of flavour.

4. Woeser Bakery

Bakery, Pastry Shop, Vegan, Vegetarian

Hidden away in the basement of Black Magic restaurant, Woeser Bakery is definitely worth searching out. Its position offers a calm refuge from the orchestra of horns on Jogiwara Road and the owner is an absolute charmer. Tendill Sangmo named the bakery after her daughter and has worked tirelessly on perfecting the best carrot cake in Dharamsala. Most reviewers will agree that she has achieved her goal. The homemade cappuccinos are everything they should be and if you’re feeling decadent, then simply dip a chocolate covered cherry into the creamy froth. Don’t miss the chocolate brownies.

Nick’s Italian Kitchen

Combining views of snow-capped mountains with excellent Italian food, Nick’s Italian Kitchen can’t fail to impress. The huge, open terrace looks out over the Himalayan foothills and the menu offers classic Italian specialities such as cannelloni, pizza, spaghetti, gnocchi and risotto. Star dishes include the lasagne and aptly christened ‘pizza everything’.
Nick’s Italian Kitchen, Bhagsu Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article