McLeod Ganj is a peaceful foodie retreat, even with its busy streets filled with robed monks, local traffic and tourists. The serenity you find within its tiny and sometimes hidden cafés and restaurants is a little slice of heaven among the lower Himalayas that the city lies within. The hip little city has the perfect plates for the chilly winters of Himachal Pradesh. Here are the best spots in town to cozy up in with coffee and a good meal.
Tucked in the corner near the cute little Tibetan Kitchen booth, so perfectly loctated up a steep set of iron stairs, is Black Tent Café. The cozy spot features tables and chairs as well as floor seating on mats with knee-high tables. It is a perfect setting for finishing up a good read, writing or getting some work done. The café is quiet and warm, and the staff is there to help. They offer a wide selection of organic teas and creamy hot chocolates. Menu items are a mix of Tibetan and Indian, with signature dishes such as momos and hot sandwiches.
Just a small nook at the meeting point of two curvy streets making their way to the main road, you’ll find Peace Café. The tiny shop can only accompany about six parties of up to four people, which can occasionally cause a wait (especially in winter), but their thukpa (thin and long noodles) and thentuk (thick and round noodles) dishes are so good that they ruined everyone else’s in the city. For a truly Tibetan experience, make sure to try their butter tea. You may not want it again but it’s worth the memory.
Don’t let the bland name fool you. Coffee Meal is a paradise for writers in the city. The wooden furniture, large white canvases, warm lighting and chilled playlist give you the perfect vibe for being work efficient. It’s also a great spot for sitting with friends and indulging in sweet dishes such as their famous pancakes and their fruits shakes and lassis.
Lhamo is an adorable middle-aged Tibetan woman with a permanent smile painted on her shining face. Her restaurant is a tall, skinny building off the main road of McLeod, complete with a scenic view of the mountains on the top floor and a cozy second floor for snuggling up on pillows, cross legged with a book and a long wooden table on the main floor for sitting to get work done or write your heart out. The menu is full of freshly made-to-order healthy juices, Lhamo’s incredible baked goods such as her unreal apple and cinnamon tarts, her signature hummus recipe served with her leafy green salads and incredible warm soups and sandwiches.
If you are looking to indulge in some Western delights while in the city, Jimmy’s Italian is your go-to place. Pizza, pasta, pancakes and desserts such as blueberry cheesecake and apple crumble, do you need more convincing then that? The place is quite roomy and decorated with red and white checkered table cloths and funky old-school movie posters. Jimmy’s is definitely a great place to enjoy a group meal or a cute date while watching the sunset through their floor-to-ceiling windows.