Shimla India – Best Local Recipes and Places to Eat
India is a land of overwhelming culinary experiences and Shimla is no exception. We can bet that you will never fall short of choices here. So varied is the cultural diversity of its citizens that you can experience remarkable differences in flavours within one and the same state.
If your travel itinerary leads you through the mountains, especially to a place like Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, then not only will you be enchanted by the magical beauty of the hills, but also get in touch with the flamboyant culture, the lively people and the iconic tastes.
From traditional local recipes to street food and fine dining, Shimla is every foodie’s delight. Skating in the South Asia’s only natural ice-skating rink or simply losing yourself in the serendipity of this small town’s scenic landscape, do not miss a chance to follow Shimla’s culinary trail.
If you are in Shimla, trying local recipes is an absolute must. The mountains are home to some unique plants and herbs which are only found here and not elsewhere in the country. This adds a distinct flavour and aroma to the local recipes.
Generally speaking, food in Shimla is a mix of local and Tibetan cuisines. Here are some dishes to try out while visiting Shimla.
Bhey or thinly sliced lotus stems (INR250 - INR350) is one of the most popular local snacks in Himachali homes. It is rich in local spices added for a great taste.
Chha gosht (INR 400- INR 550) is a local meat (usually lamb) in a yogurt and gram flour gravy spiced with local Indian herbs. Try it at The Oberoi Cecil Restaurant in the Oberoi Hotels, Chaura Maidan Road, Shimla.
Another dish to try is sidu, which is similar to dumplings made with wheat flour. It is probably of a Tibetan origin and is served with mint leaves or spinach chutney. Look for it at The Himachali Rasoi (INR120-INR150), 54, Middle Bazar, Shimla.
It is not your fault that often – oh too often! – you will be involuntarily drawn by the mouth-watering aroma of the street food while walking along the touristy lanes of Shimla. We bet you are not the only one who cannot withstand the temptation! Especially, if you are walking along the Lakkar Bazar Street (Wood Market).
Chola bhaturas (spicy chickpeas served with large, fried bread- INR150 – INR200) in Sita Ram and Sons have been through six generations of mastery and now they offer the finest variation of the dish in town. It is so good that even the Bollywood stars prefer to eat it here.
We have recently watched a video on Youtube to learn that the overwhelming majority of the foreign travellers rave about one and the same Indian street delicacy – samosas. Do not waste any more time and join the club – head right away to Nathuram Lachmann Dass along the lower Mall Road for their samosas (INR 75 - INR100).
Western and International Food
Looking for international platters? Head to the Mall Road and find yourself surrounded by multitude of restaurants that serve almost all international cuisines from Asian to American and from European to Lebanese. Prices are slightly on the higher side but worth the choices you get here. For non-vegetarians we highly recommend trying out some fish-based dishes. One of our favourites is fish cooked in Thai coconut curry (INR450-INR-550) and the best place to head for it is the Eighteen71, near Hotel Willow Banks in the Mall Road, which is also one of the oldest restaurants in Shimla.
The 45 Central Perk is another restaurant to look out for international flavours. It is an ideal place to try continental platters especially vegetarian (INR325 – INR345) and non-vegetarian sizzlers (INR 425 – INR 475) or the stuffed chicken served with Mexican rice (INR345). You can also opt for some Asian dishes like Thai lamb/mutton curry (INR325 – INR425).
Cafés and Coffee Houses
For the British travellers, there is a secret Lord Mountbatten kept away from you when he was back to Britain from India. Surprised, right? Now it’s your turn to find it out! Leave your cosy hotel and drive down to the woods of the Chaura Maidan forest until you reach Kewal ka Dhaba. Started in 1931, this tea stall was a regular escape for Lord Mountbatten, and even today its butter bun and tea (INR100-INR150) keeps travellers engaged all through the day until late evening.
In the Mall Road, you will come across the Willow Banks Hotel, a historic property established in 1871. The Café Shimla Times is a café cum bar that became a part of this iconic heritage in 2015. They serve some tempting barbecue dishes (INR245- INR350), and a decent selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian wraps, sandwiches and burgers. (INR195 - INR275).