A small bakery with a wide range of cakes and biscuits, ever changing. Woeser's makes tasty cakes, cookies, and proper coffee for very reasonable prices, to eat in or take away. Special order cakes and real bread baked upon request also available.
A pleasant floral oasis on the plush open-air patio of a free-standing, somewhat secluded private house no views to speak of, however, offering gourmet items prepared, according to the sign outside, without compromises in quality. There are 11 beverages Rs 30~75; including unusual ones, like "milk with organic turmeric", Rs 40, breakfast items Rs 30~70, fresh-baked bread, sandwiches Rs 60~135, salads, baked sweets Rs 25~70; not on display, and set "home-cooked meals" Rs 150~250 which somewhat mysteriously escape further elaboration in the menu. Managed by an Indo-American couple. No wifi.
Well-known, popular, and trendy, a place to eat and be seen; decent, hearty food, all supposedly organic, good Western pies and Tibetan dishes, consistent in quality if on rare occasion they try to offload on you yesterday's quiche just return it and order something else. Terrace in the back offers limited views over McLeodganj and the Kangra Valley beyond partly obstructed by water tanks on the roof of the neighbouring house to be enjoyed on uncomfortable chairs; inside seating on cushy sofas more agreeable. Pay by the hour wifi at higher rates than those offered by most Internet cafés in town. Reading matter for your visit can be chosen from a small library of books, but this feature is not unique and is customarily offered by most of McLeodganj's other trendy spots as well.
Tibetan and Italian dishes, Western-style cakes, and a gamut of tea varieties Rs 10~50, offered in a pleasant well-appointed room with 6 tables, full of character enhanced by Bob Marley music in the background and popular with the McLeodganj cognoscenti. A small library of books donated by previous guest can be read in duration of the visit or can be borrowed at nominal costs. Serves among the best thin crust pizzas available in north India cooked using a range of garden fresh ingredients. Don't forget to order tomato sauces grown from tomatoes in their own backyard with your dish. A good place to chat with fellow companions or other travellers over a cup of coffee. Try to occupy the window table offering the best view of valley below. It takes some time to prepare foodsby the owner couple as food is freshly cooked.
Bhagsu rd. a stylish eatery. don't be put off by the small intimate downstairs area. the second floor boasts an all weather patio and elegant decor. the menu is slightly pricey but the food and setting more than makes up for it. tibetan, indian, chinese and western cuisine. rs 80-180.
Common Ground Cafe
A non-profit café set up as a meeting place between Chinese and Tibetans that holds many discussions and shows promoting harmony and understanding between the two cultures. Taiwanese and fusion food served in a place to sit and relax with your shoes off on the raised seating area.
Oogo's Café Italiano
A town fixture since 2004 with a hole-in-the-wall appearance; despite its once carefully designed interior decor it is now rather run-down and without character. Offers several varieties of risotto, and of course pastas Rs 65~99 and thin-crust pizzas Rs 70~130, generally comparable to those served at Namgyal Café above. Do not risk coffee here, however. Small library of books to be perused during your visit. Home delivery is advertised in the menu.
A virtual landmark for decades and well-known to most locals, run by a Christian couple. It is essentially a cake-cum-pastry shop with a delightful sit-in café on the upper-level sylvan terrace. Middling to good baked items, coffee entirely disappointing.
Jimmy's Italian Kitchen
Nice decor with old, and not-so-old, movie posters, unprofessional staff apparently left unsupervised by the owners. Food better than that offered at the other Italian stlye places in town, with great salads, and acceptable pastas napolitana, arrabbiata, quattro formaggi, puttanesca and pizzas.
Bhagsu rd, (http://www.lhamocroissant.com). a simple yet stylish eatery. breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, salads and deserts, as well as coffee's and a good selection of teas. the bread is baked fresh each morning by lhamo. the second floor has comfortable japanese style seating on cushions and tibetan carpets. fantastic views from the roof top. free wi-fi.
Peace Coffee House
A would-be swanky wifi café run by young Tibetans and serving a variety of food including breakfast muesli, toast, sandwiches, specialty teas. good coffee. Some items are distinguished by the carefulness of preparation; free access to wifi slow speed. Its minuscule single-table front terrace overlooking Bhagsu Rd and 4-table front room are complemented by a back terrace with 6 tables and good unobstructed views of McLeodganj. A very tiny library of books, including guidebooks.
Situated in one of the most crowded public places in town, this huge place, spread among several floors, is as noisy, and as cramped as the square outside. Extensive selection of Chinese, Punjabi, south Indian and north Indian food, most of it geared to the Indian palate of the patrons along with fantastic pizza. There is also a decent pub/bar, with a good selection of Western wines including French and Italian vintages. Florentine red, Ruffino Riserva 2005, at Rs 2,945 a bottle, non-vintage French Médoc, Rs 1,845 a bottle, and a rooftop terrace with mostly obstructed views.
Snow Lion Restaurant
This used to be one of the best places for Tibetan food in town, in the good old days when the restaurant and the hotel to which it is attached were owned by the Tibetan Government in Exile. This is no longer the case however. Under the new management the place is still run fairly efficiently by mainly Nepalese staff, with clean, frequently changed table-cloths but the food here is a bad joke. The associated bar, in a separate room called "Dragon Bar", has drinks for as little as Rs 30, or a glass of champagne for Rs 550 and is patronised by local alcoholics who may ask you for "donations". Takeaway bakery on premises and accessible only from Bhagsu Rd.
Tibetan food is barely on the passable side and the Tibetan proprietress may give the impression that she has better things to do than running a restaurant). The distinction between vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine is very hazy here, a circumstance which may deter vegetarian patrons: if you order "Special Thenthuk" or "Special Thukpa"; Rs 95 each here, it will arrive with chicken and mutton pieces in it, without any forewarning of the nature of the dish in the menu. "Vegetable Thenthuk" Rs 50, appears to be prepared with meat stock as well. Seafood dishes Rs 255~295. Some dishes appear absurdly overpriced such as the hooko soup, Rs 400. No wifi or any reading materials.
Below-average to terrible quality highly questionable international cuisine choices, including Thai, Italian, and Nepalese. Nepalese staff; small library of books for in-house perusal; occasional live music.
Herbal Tea Shop
A gourmet shop serving specialty herbal teas, fresh-squeezed fruit juices, and desserts such as banana cake and chocolate mousse, all outstanding in quality, with most items costing a flat Rs 50 each. This is not a place in which to appease a ravenous hunger, but rather one in which to savour delicacies in small portions and convivial atmosphere. Divan-style seating directly on the floor with the aid of cushions. Some additional seating is available outdoors on a divan put out in front of the establishment during opening hours. A hub for an informal single-women's support group.
Taste of India
Jogibara rd, 10am-11pm everyday. some say it's the best indian food in town, others find it mediocre, but it's certainly popular; this depends on whether you are lucky with your order: the best is absolutely fantastic, but sometimes the dishes are bland. the owner runs 2 day cooking courses from the restaurant, but they are not participatory. the cooking courses are similar to watching a cooking show, leaving one to write down the recipes as there are no reference materials handed out. she also owns a south indian restaurant on bhagsu rd, one of the last shops in mcleod on the way to bagsu, which serves simple but very tasty southern dishes.
The newest addition to the McLeodganj coffee scene. Opened its doors in the spring of 2011 and exudes the plushness of interior design that could only be arrived at some considerable expense. A distinctly Western feel belying the all-Tibetan ownership of the establishment, and appropriately populated by hip Tibetan monks working their life away on MacBooks Pros. Coffee Rs 30~70, tea Rs 10~40, specialty fruit drinks Rs 40~80, snacks Rs 60~80 and breakfast items Rs 20~50. Coffee here is prepared with highly purified water, as are the drinks and the ice-cubes that go with them. Free wifi but no reading materials.
JJI Exile Brothers Mama's Kitchen
A cozy little hole-in-the-wall type of place with 5 tables, a counter, and a dog. Decent Tibetan food, with 5 versions of thukpa and thenthuk each Rs 50~80, brown-flour momos Rs 50~70, including the rare spinach variety, and several less-well-known Tibetan specialties such as tingmo (steamed bread with vegetables, Rs 60~70); also vegetable and fruit salads Rs 40~60, rice dishes Rs 40~70; including the mysteriously named "Om Rice", several versions of chow mein Rs 40~70, and soups Rs 40~50. Desserts include vegan chocolate cake and rum cake with nuts. Tea Rs 10~30; pocha included. "Farmer's Breakfast" an omelette with mixed vegetables, tomatoes and potatoes, served with Tibetan butter toast and tea, Rs 100 is a famous set item, offered alongside several varieties of pancakes Rs 40~60, styles of porridge, and fresh juices Rs 40~50. Owned by three Tibetan musician brothers "JJI Exile Brothers" who give live performances on the premises on Sundays at 7:30PM. Admission is Rs 100 extra per person; advance booking essential, otherwise they may not show up. The band's recorded music can be heard at other times. Portions tend to be smallish. A bookshelf with some reading materials, no wifi.
Le Vrai Café
Jogibara rd, just above the chocolate log, and down the hill from the post office. this is the place to get european continental food and atmosphere. run by a franco-tibetan couple, expect top quality coffee, plenty of chess and a real locals' atmosphere. epitomises the trans-nationality of mcleod, to be celebrated and savoured.
McLeod Ganj is a great place for eating, and the town has an abundance of restaurants, especially in the mid to upper range that cater to foreign tourists. The newer among those upscale eateries increasingly tend to offer free wifi connections. Despite the restaurateurs' claims to the contrary these wifi services are sometimes not fully operative or the connection may be interrupted and hence unsuitable for downloads. At the very least do not allow yourself to be lured into settling down for an extended session at an eating-place solely by their outdoor WiFi signage before first ascertaining the quality of that service.
Momos sold by numerous Tibetan street vendors usually sell at Rs 10 for 4 pieces. These are safe to eat and acceptable to the Western palate even if they cannot be expected to match the level of culinary delicacy of those offered by some of the best establishments listed below.
Some Tibetan favorites
Dharamsala is a good place to try Tibetan food and beverages.
Momos - dumplings filled with meat or vegetables, steamed or fried
Thukpa - a hearty noodle soup with veggies or meat
Thenthuk - thukpa with handmade noodles
Pocha - salty tea churned with butter, a Tibetan staple
Jogibara rd all the way near the southern end of town, m-sa, noon-11pm, closed sundays. excellent japanese food, pay attention to the daily specials. there is also a small clothing store which sells high end tibetan inspired fashions. non-profit, proceeds go towards assisting former political prisoners and documenting human rights violations.
A bare-bones somewhat dingy eatery prized for its momos. A 12-page bilingual menu in English and Japanese describes 9 varieties of the delicacy in the vegetarian category Rs 50~70 for a plate of 10~12 pieces and 5 varieties in the non-veg category Rs 60~80 for a plate of 3~12 pieces. Tibetan dishes have nine elaborations of the thukpa. Western and Tibetan breakfast includes pancakes, omelettes and muesli dishes. Chinese staples include 7 varieties of chow mein. Tibetan bread comes in giant size, matching a dinner plate in circumference, with special filling Rs 25. Despite the simplicity of the physical space with only three tables this is a gourmet place, with creative spinoffs on traditional dishes that are not easily to be found even in much bigger establishments. Notwithstanding the presence of the word "Café" in the establishment's name, this is decidedly not a place for a coffee experience. The necessity to share one's table with other diners may be disconcerting to some.
Nick's Italian Kitchen
An airy well-lit room with windows giving out on Bhagsu Rd. Decent Western fare of lesser quality with some Tibetan dishes available. The numerical menu has 194 items to choose from. The terrace in the back offers views over the McLeodganj Valley and Kangra Valley beyond, similar to those visible from the terraces of the neighbouring Green Restaurant and Peace Coffee House. A limited library of books and a popular noticeboard. Service here has been good -- you write up your order yourself and hand it to any of the many service staff. Tables are kept clean and the entire place gets a thorough wipedown every morning. The place becomes noisy when crowded. Free wifi, occasional malfunctions like everywhere else here, fine for surfing or uploading pictures, but slow for downloads 30 kBps.
A down-to-earth in every sense and somewhat drab breakfast place frequented by backpackers, offering egg dishes Rs 20~45, porridge with mixed fruit, Rs 65, toast, sandwiches tofu sandwich, Rs 45, several types of bread Rs 5~25; Rs 5 extra for peanut butter, jam, or honey, and pancakes Rs 40~70; mixed-fruit chocolate pancake, Rs 70; also French fries Rs 35, Tibetan dishes such as thukpa Rs 40~70 of uncertain quality, and momos steamed, Rs 40~50; fried momos Rs 10 extra. Good lassi in several varieties including unusual ones, e.g. "apple lassi"; Rs 20~35.