Writing about the best places to eat in Darjeeling is quite a task. Even after visiting Darjeeling so often, we had hardly given a thought of compiling about the best eateries in Darjeeling. We are usually walking around Darjeeling or simply lazing at the Mall enjoying the cold and romantic Darjeeling along with Kanchenjunga. During all these visits, we have discovered our favourite places to eat, cosy cafes in nooks and corners of this quaint hill town.
Darjeeling is definitely known for its tea, but the food scene is also not to be ignored. Originally inhabited by the Gorkhas, Darjeeling was developed as a military outpost and a sanatorium during the nineteenth century by the British government. Thus the food scene here is mostly an amalgamation of British, Nepali and Tibetan cuisines. Keventers and Glenarys have always been favourite places to eat at Darjeeling. And now there are Pizza Hut, KFC and Sholo Anna Bangali also at Darjeeling. But we want you to look beyond these obvious and explore the other culinary delights of Darjeeling. So here are our recommendations. Let me know if you have more to add.
Best Places to eat in Darjeeling
Keventers is our all time favourite. Conspirators often say that we visit Darjeeling only to have breakfast at Keventers! Well, they are partially correct.
Keventers is an institution in itself. It was founded in 1911 by Edward Keventers, the place finds mention in the writings of most Bengali novelist whose book has a part of Darjeeling in it. And movies shot in Darjeeling also have Keventers thrown in somewhere. There was a time when breakfast at Darjeeling meant a platter of sausages, bacon, ham and fried eggs at Keventers along with a great view. With time, the view has been obstructed by real estate and you will get better breakfast elsewhere. But we, somehow, cannot miss the charm and nostalgia of Keventers. We love to sit at the open terrace and sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate while arguing over the number of times we have been to Darjeeling.
Read more about Coffee at Keventers.
A place with good food and great views
Glenarys too is an institution in Darjeeling, If you are walking towards the Mall, it is hard to miss the white Glenarys building. This time when we went to Darjeeling, we saw they had put an “I Love” signboard just on the top of the Glenarys signboard.
Glenarys is all about freshly baked cakes, pastries, pies, brownies and bread along with a pot of the best Darjeeling tea. The ground floor is the quaint looking café where you can sit tight with your tea and cakes. The place is best for afternoon and evening teas. There is an open terrace where you can sit and enjoy the views. But again, most of the views are obstructed by the ugly buildings.
The first floor is the restaurant where they serve Chinese, Indian and continental fares. The food is good and this is a good place for having your dinner. For us, the beauty of the Glenarys lies in its old fashioned cafeteria in the groundfloor and the special Glenarys liquor chocolates. Also, the red telephone booth in the middle of the floor is simply classic.
Read about Breakfast at Glenarys
If you want to taste authentic Naga cuisine at Darjeeling, then head to Revolver. And this also happens to be one of our favourite places to stay in Darjeeling as well. The unconventional Revolver Lodge and Restaurant is themed on Beatles, the rock band. The owners Aslena and Vikash are music lovers and has named and themed the hotel after their favourite music band Beatles.
The restaurant and café has a cosy ambience and two parts. There is a lounge type section with low seating arrangements and having some great collection of books. Whenever we are there, I take a Tintin comics from the book rack and with a cup of coffee, I read it. The restaurant part has tables and chairs. They serve English and continental fares as well as some good Darjeeling tea. But their Naga cuisine is something to die for!
Revolver is located at the Gandhi Road just behind the Union Chapel.
Read about Darjeeling during the rains
It is a small eatery, but it is difficult to find empty seats at Kunga. If you want to eat local delicacies, head to Kunga’s. Their steamed momos and soups are quite legendary and so are its Tibetan delicacies. This small family run restaurant has a cosy ambience decorated with Tibetan scrolls and Buddhist motifs. Try their Tibetan meat pies, Tibetan bread and gyathuks. Kunga’s is led on the Gandhi Road just near the upper taxi stand.
Another tiny eatery located on Zakir Hussain Road, Sonam’s Kitchen is famous for the breakfast it serves. Order your choice of porridge, pancakes with fruits and bron bread sandwiches. If you want something on the heavier side, then you can order the delicious hash brown potatoes, fried eggs with roasted tomatoes, brown toasts.
At dinner time, you will get the choice of pastas and different type of soups. Sonam also makes some mean coffee. In the land of tea, Sonam’s coffee is good enough to make you want more. The ginger tea is also quite good here.
This is an uber cool café with a mix of lounge, art and music space. They serve great sandwiches, pastas, lasagna among Italian as well as Arabic and Israeli cuisine. The ambience is quite striking with dim lights, cushioned sofas and low couches. This is also a place for the music lovers. The best part is that you can stay here late. Even after 9 PM you will get some action here with live music, karaoke and even dance at times. The owner is a friendly guy ever ready to help with loads of travel tips.
Gatty’s Cafe is located on Zakir Hussain Road off Chowrasta (Mall). From the Chowrasta go past the horse stables along Zakir Hussain road and it’s about 10 minutes uphill walk.
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Himalayan Java Café
This one is new on the block compared to the others. Himalayan Java café has a great ambience with wooden chairs and tables overlooking the Nehru Road. It has an English breakfast menu and serves good coffee and a variety of tea. There are cakes, pastry and bakery items as well. I had tried coffee there and it turned out quite good. The servers are quite friendly and smiling. Only they take a little time to serve your orders.
Himalayan Java Café is located at Nehru Road on the way to Chowrasta. The café is located on the first floor and you have to climb a fleet of steep stairs.
Frank Ross Café
Frank Rodd Café is one of the few cafés catering to the needs of vegetarians. It has quite a global menu with pizzas, burgers, enchiladas, tacos and pav bhaji, idlis, dosas and chole batura.
Shangri-La restaurant is located on Nehru Road just a little away from Chowrasta. Located on a heritage building, the restaurant is on the ground floor and the hotel is on the upper floors. The restaurant specializes in Indian, Chinese and Tibetan food and has quite a relaxed ambience. There is a bar area too and the menu too looks impressive. Overall it is a good restaurant with good food, but definitely not the best.
Ara by Bellevue
Ara is located just at the Chowrasta square. We happen to visit Ara on our anniversary day and we were not disappointed. The ambience is cool and soothing. The bar menu is also satisfactory serving cocktails, mocktails and drinks of your choice. The food menu is also quite impressive with continental fares. The names were something that I had a hard time understanding. So we simply asked for the chef’s choice. To our delight, the food was quite good. It was an anniversary well spent!
Tea bars – Golden Tips & Nathmull’s
It would be a sin not to taste Darjeeling tea when you are at Darjeeling. Even if you are not a tea drinker, you must try a cup of Darjeeling Black Tea. Golden Tips and Nathmull’s both have a small tea bar serving the best of Darjeeling tea along with the retail sale of tea. Nathmull’s also serves some light snacks.
Tea with a view – Nathmulls, Darjeeling
Roadside momo corners
If you do not have any issue with having the street food, then you should try the momos from the road side vendors. You will find them in the evening across Nehru road. Steamed momos, fried momos, chicken wings, chowmein all are served here. While I cannot vouch for the noodles, I can definitely say that the momos are quite tasty! Try them, and let us know your thoughts.
Apart from these, there are many other small cafes, restaurants and street stalls located at quaint corners of Darjeeling. Park Restaurant, Lunar Restaurant, Hot Stimulating Café are a few that provides good food. And let me tell you, we also love the alu-mimis from the street stalls.
Here is a few other foodie inspiration for you!
These are a few of our recommendations. Hope you like them. And if you know about any other good places to eat in Darjeeling, let us know in comments below. We promise we will skip Keventers and visit them the next time we are in Darjeeling.