Manali India – Best Places to Eat and Dishes to Try
Manali is not just a delight for the eyes but for the tongue as well. A very popular tourist destination which welcomes people from all over the world, Manali has some very good eating places. And when good, delicious food meets the serene views, it is easy for your mind to make up plans for shifting here permanently.
Manali is a good place to try out some of the Himachali cuisine but the best thing about the food here is that you can find almost any cuisine here. Of course, the hot favourites are maggi and momos, and there are many vendors who set up their stalls along the road and serve these delicacies with a view of the mountains.
The best eating places in Manali are located in the areas around the Mall road and in Old Manali. While Mall road is a favourite amongst Indian travellers, especially honeymooners, Old Manali has a lot of quaint little restaurants and eateries which serve cuisines from around the world.
Street food and snacks
There is nothing like snacking while taking in the gorgeous sceneries. Along with the maggi and momos, the bombay bhelpuri is a great local favourite here with a number of stalls spread around the city with the best ones being on Mall road. Samosas are another food item which you must try as the hot, fried snack is simply delicious. Khatta, made of pumpkin, dry mango powder and crisp boondi is an almost constant companion of the meals in Manali and most of the restaurants serve their own version. To make the picture of the Manali street food complete, we should by all means mention sidu, what is basically a kind of bread made from local flour and best enjoyed with a bowl of curried mutton.
Now to the local dishes that you must sample in Manali. Madra, a preparation of chickpea with various spices is something that is prepared at almost all occasions here and is something you must try along with the tudkiya bhath which is a dish of rice with various vegetables and spices. Dhaam is a full meal and is widely eaten during festivals.
Carnivorous souls, you are well catered for in Manali! Get a trout or chha ghosht (lamb) – both dishes are an absolute delight.
While there are many restaurants which serve these dishes in Manali and Old Manali, if you want the authentic taste, then you can try out some of home stays here where delicious home cooked meals are dished out for hungry stomachs. Mary’s Cottage, Idyllic Inn and Taara House are some that we recommend.
Vashisht, Old Manali and Mall Road are where you will find most of the most famous restaurants in town and the best part is that they serve cuisine from all over the world. We have even discovered a nice restaurant on Mall road where some pretty authentic Japanese dished are served – the place is called Chopsticks . A meal for two here will cost you around INR 800 although the place doesn’t look very impressive from the outside, the food will leave you wanting for more.
Another place we highly recommend is the Rose Garden which is in Vashisht and serves Italian and Indian food. We really loved their pizza accompanied by some breath-taking views.
Martin’s in the Shanag village is another favourite in Manali. It’s run by an Austrian chef and is open only on Sundays for brunch. From smoked trout to grill chicken, Martin’s offers great food and has an almost cult following in Manali. Martin’s is located in a sports club where you can enjoy a game of lawn bowls while waiting for food. A meal here will cost approximately INR 1000 for two people.
Casa Belle Vista in Old Manali is a must-visit place for us every time we are in Manali. Although it is a vegetarian restaurant, the food is extremely good. It is run by a Spaniard and her Indian husband and it offers a view to die for. All the tables in the restaurant are carved out from a single tree trunk and arranged around a wood oven. A meal for two will cost INR 800 and you can also choose to stay in one of their comfortable cottages.
Another very good place that we highly recommend in Manali is Fat Plate. The setting is beautiful – in the middle of a nice garden with some snow capped mountains in the background. And what makes it even more special is that they grow most of their ingredients in their own garden. Be it the mustard chilli trout, bacon wrapped chicken or any other dish, the taste is absolutely phenomenal.
Trout is featured heavily on the menu of Manali and one of the best places to try it is the Johnson’s Café. The baked trout is one dish we really enjoy here as the fish just melts in the mouth and comes with really good mash potatoes. The restaurant is located in Circuit House and a meal for 2 come for approximately INR 1200. There is also a fireplace which makes the whole atmosphere very cosy and inviting.
Cafes and coffee houses
No hill station are ever complete without cafes with a view to make your good cup of coffee a perfect delight. One of the best venues of the kind in Manali, to our tasting, is Café 1947 on the way to the Manu temple – it also also offers some good hukkah.
Café Amigos is another place which we love to visit for their great coffee and a pretty good bakery.
Café Nirvana in the Club House sits very close to the river and is an ideal place to enjoy a lazy cup of tea; food is really good here, too.
Pubs and bars
Opposite to many other destinations in India, Manali has a lot of good pubs. Try The Buzz with its cosy interior and good music. The choice of liquor here is quite impressive and they also serve some good food to munch along with the drinks. It is also not very heavy on the pocket and a meal with a couple of drinks will cost around INR 700.
Another good place to get a drink in Manali is the Chelsea Club which is also the main address for all the party animals of Manali. The bar is pretty impressive and the DJ spins some groovy numbers so if you ever feel like dancing the night away in Manali, Chelsea is the place.
There are many other pubs and bars in Manali but if you like the company of nature like we do then we recommend just carrying the alcohol with you to some scenic spot, preferably along the river, and just sip your way.
These are some of the places and dishes that we have tried in Manali and while the list is by no means exhaustive, it will serve you well whenever you decide to step into Manali.