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Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, Darjeeling is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Be it for enjoyment or for an escape, it is just the perfect place to go to without causing a hole in your pocket. From the majestic Kanchenjunga watching over it to the emerald green lush tea gardens surrounding it, this place is truly a wonder for all nature lovers. For some, it’s the premier Indian hill station while for others, it’s West Bengal’s finest destination. Either way, the former ‘Queen of the Hills’ is surely going to give you a feel of paradise. With all the natural beauty, it would be such a bummer had there been no good place to eat, but fortunately for us, Darjeeling has some fine cafes and restaurants with rich heritage and great food.
Here’s a list of a few that you should definitely not miss out on.
The once summer capital of the British raj, a lot of colonial-era architecture can be seen in Darjeeling, Glenary’s being one of the finest. You’ll notice that as soon as you walk in the wooden framed glass doors to the counter selling pies, croissants, tarts and much more. Not just the architecture but even the food items available have a British or western influence. Famous for the delicious desserts available, you can enjoy your food with a view of the entire town, and if the weather favors you, the majestic range of the Kanchenjunga. Don’t forget to pick up some homemade pickles, chutneys and biscuits available there along with some fridge magnets and other local souvenirs available.
Glenary’s even has its own pub called The Buzz below the cafe and a multi-cuisine family restaurant on the top floor. These being one of the few places flaunting live music. The culmination of the rich heritage, great food and ambiance and live music, it’s a must-visit for everyone when at Darjeeling.
Another cafe with a rich heritage, Keventers was founded in the year 1911. It has been a favorite among the locals as well as tourists ever since. Keventers is known for its English breakfast which is a platter of sausage, bacon, ham and much more with meats to choose from. Also famous is the hot chocolate. Located in the heart of the city and just 5 minutes away from Chowrasta, it is easy to access and like Glenary’s, has a great view of the town as well as the clock tower. This cafe has also been featured in the Bollywood movie, Barfi. Enjoy a nice heavy breakfast in this open terrace cafe, with the gleaming rays of the sun warming you up against the cold breeze from the Kanchenjunga with a view that no other place can replicate.
Located in the heart of the town, just 20 yards away from the taxi stand lies this wonder. Famous for its Momos, Soups, Shabaleys and Thukpa, this restaurant is a fan favorite. Kunga’s is a family-run restaurant and is covered with Tibetan motifs and Tibetan scrolls. It has become a culture almost, for tourists to visit this place to try their legendary Tibetan cuisine. Even Ranbir Kapoor had become a fan of the restaurant and its momos, the owner proudly claims. Be sure to try their special Tibetan dishes.
Located ten minutes away from Chowrasta, right below Nightingale park, away from the crowd lies this not too fancy, but an amazing cafe. Unknown to most of the crowd, this hidden jewel is the place to be at if you want to enjoy nature and solitude, or spend quality time with your loved ones without any disturbance. The owner is big on Bob Marley so you can expect a casual vibe with reggae classics on the background. Indulge in some hot chocolate or some Darjeeling tea with cardamom and clove.
This is another place to be if you love live music. The only cafe that can boast about being a sports cafe, well almost, this place is especially popular among the younger generation. They also have a wonderful library of books to choose from if you wish to enjoy some time reading quality books with some warm coffee and sandwiches. This is the only place in Darjeeling that remains open till late, with Karaoke, open mike and also board games. You could also enjoy a dance with the locals or with your friends and family as dancing is an integral part of Gatty’s culture.