Himachal Pradesh’s Manali is a resort town in the high and mighty Himalayas that millions of Indian and foreign tourists frequent every year. While the town offers some spectacular views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks and many outdoor activities to engage in, it has some delectable food. So, if you want to explore Manali not just for its mesmerizing vistas but also for its variety of culinary delights, read on. This article will take you through the top 7 places to eat in Manali. So, sit back, scroll on, and don’t forget to lick your chops!
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1. Johnson’s Café and Johnson’s Lodge, Old Manali
We recommend starting your Manali culinary experience at Johnson’s Café, one of the most distinguished eateries in the resort town. The café’s ambiance is captivating, and its food will leave you craving for more. First, try one of the trout dishes – it’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. Then, if you want to try some delicious Mughlai, Pan Asian, or Continental dishes, visit Johnson’s Lodge, a recently-built extension of the café.
2. Drifters’ Cafe, Old Manali
Another famed Old Manali establishment, Drifters’ café, is quite literally a place that makes you want to drift without a care for the world. That’s all down to the relaxing music coupled with the low seating. This joint is best visited for breakfast, and their waffles are wow! The pancakes are worth a try as well. At night, the café becomes a cacophonous cauldron full of talkative people and live music, which also makes for quite an experience.
3. Il Forno, Siyal
As far as Italian cuisine is concerned, there’s no better establishment in Manali than Il Forno. Run by a local family, the eatery isn’t just known for its excellence in serving the most famous Italian dishes – its setting is also stunning. Surrounded by apple orchards, Il Forno is a treat not just for the tummy but for the soul as well. The restaurant is best experienced from the terrace, which features a beautiful garden and magnificent mountain views.
4. The Lazy Dog Lounge, Old Manali
The interiors of The Lazy Dog Lounge are cozy and classy, but what takes the cake here is the outdoor seating area. While it can get quite chilly by the banks of the Manalsu river during the winter months, if you’re visiting Manali in the summer, the outdoor area is the best place to experience this eatery. The menu is extensive and consists of a diverse array of cuisines. So, take your pick based on what your taste buds are craving, and you won’t be disappointed.
5. Chopsticks, Mall Road, New Manali
Old Manali might be home to most of the good stuff that Manali has to offer, but there are a few gems in New Manali as well – Chopsticks is one of them. If you’re craving Chinese food in Manali, this is the best place to visit. In terms of its interiors, it might not compare to the fancier Manali food establishments. However, if it’s the quality of food you’re primarily concerned with, Chopsticks won’t disappoint. The best thing about Chopsticks is that despite its high-quality food, the rates are pocket-friendly, making it a Manali eatery for the masses.
6. The Fat Plate, Naggar Road
The Fat Plate is a must-visit if you’re a fan of wonderfully-maintained kitchen gardens and restaurants that source their ingredients locally. Head inside Gurung Cottages on Naggar Road, and you’ll spot this excellent eatery that has set tongues wagging in recent years. While waiting for your food, take in the amazing views and appreciate the finesse with which these guys maintain both the interiors and the exteriors. Once the carefully cooked food arrives, dig in and let the flavors take over the senses. Before leaving, don’t forget to pick up a bottle or two of the homemade jams available here.
7. Café 1947, Old Manali
We’ll end our list with what is Old Manali’s favorite eatery right now – Café 1947. Despite newer establishments opening amid much excitement and fanfare, this eatery has retained its customers due to its casual and laid-back vibes. Of course, the food here is also amazing, with a host of Indian, continental, and Israeli options. To experience the café at its very best, we recommend ordering either the Metallica pasta or the burger of Bodom. What’s more? This is one of the best places to eat in Manali, where you can enjoy live music at its finest, with gigs held frequently.