Nestled amidst the majestic Dhauladhar ranges, McLeod Ganj is a small suburb of Dharamshala. From colonial monuments to ancient Buddhist monasteries and bustling markets, this small hill station is a hot tourist destination for the discerning traveller. While there is much to see here, McLeod Ganj is an absolute paradise for foodies too. It has bakeries and cafes making the most delicious sweet indulgences, along with restaurants serving Tibetan, Chinese, and Italian delicacies. Here are five must-visit places in this idyllic town.
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen: Delicious food with a dreamy view
No trip to McLeod Ganj is complete without a pit stop at this cosy cafe serving the most delectable Italian food. What started as a small eatery has now become a full-fledged Italian restaurant. Located in one of the quiet lanes of McLeod Ganj, this family-run restaurant not only serves the most delicious Italian delights but also has a breathtaking view of the Dhauladhars.
Some of the top favourites are the ravioli pomodoro, pepperoni pasta, chicken vodka pasta, and pizza bolognese. Another mouth-watering specialty is the vegan pizza. For those with a sweet tooth, the chocolate mousse and cheesecakes are drool-worthy. Enjoy all this yumminess while listening to groovy music and soaking in the spectacular view of the expansive mountains in the far distance.
Where: Bhagsu Road, 1st Floor, McLeod Ganj, 2min Walk from Main Square
Price for two: Approximately ₹800
One of the oldest restaurants in the region, Shiva’s Cafe has attained a cult status owing to its hippie ambiance and spectacular views set against the cascading Bhagsunag waterfall.
While the picturesque landscape will impress you, the varied cuisine is sure to satiate your taste buds, especially after the short trek to the top. The favourite picks are the buttery aloo paratha, thin crust chicken pizza, hash browns, and the Shiva-special dessert. And for the Maggie lovers, there are many tweaks to the quintessential 2-minute noodles, which can be enjoyed with a hot cup of special tea.
Where: Above Bhagsunag Waterfall
Price for two: Approximately ₹500
The warmly lit contemporary interior of this much sought-after Tibetan restaurant draws crowds for its delicious food, generous proportions, and impeccable hospitality. Located just off the town center, the Tibet Kitchen serves the most comforting and authentic Tibetan and Bhutanese dishes.
The top recommendation is their Ema Datshi, a stew made of onions, chilli peppers, and locally produced Yak cheese. Also, a must-try is their Tibetan thali, comprising chilli chicken, Tibetan chowmein, momos, and Tingmo (steamed bread). Another favourite is the piping hot Thenthuk, a Tibetan noodle soup with veggies and rice. The perfect way to wash it all down is with their thirst-quenching peach beer.
Where: Jogiwara Road, House 1 Main Square
Price for two: Approximately R ₹1,000
A sprawling space with minimalistic interiors, a magnificent view of the valley, and lilting music with the aroma of freshly baked bread is what describes this eclectic cafe. The Other Space doubles up as an art gallery and a co-working space serving the most scrumptious Continental fare. Exquisite artwork adorns the walls and shelves of the cafe, adding colour and charm to the interiors, while the whiff of freshly brewed coffee and warm bread invigorates the senses.
The crowd favourites are the crepes, chocolate croissant, Le Cheese platter, and chocolate muffin. All their ingredients being locally sourced, their menu is ever-evolving. Top it off with a double cappuccino or their version of the lemonade with mint, which will surely alleviate your spirits.
Where: Village Jogibara, Ward NO 3
Price for two: Approximately ₹2,000
A quaint cafe tucked away on the busy Jogiwara road of McLeod Ganj, Woeser Bakery is definitely one of the must-visit places in McLeod Ganj. The ambiance is unpretentious yet warm, with a collection of interesting books to browse through while sipping your favourite brew. Run by a mother-daughter duo, this place leaves you with a warm heart and a content tummy.
The bakery has an impressive variety of sweet treats and beverages. It is one of the few places in town to have gluten-free and vegan options too. Its carrot cake and handmade cappuccino are the all-time favourites. The home-baked muffins and ginger lemon tea are simply amazing too. Patrons have been seen to return time and again to this cafe for its scrumptious Akhrot (walnut) tart and lip-smacking vegan chocolate delight.
Where: Beside Carpe Diem, Jogiwara Road
Price for two: Approximately ₹400