Rishikesh is a favourite travel destination with many dilliwalas. What is great is that each one has his or her own reasons to be there. These reasons vary from adventure sports to calming Yoga, from purposeful religious immersion to idling away at the beach, from finding individual solace to making friends from different countries.
One important reason to go to Rishikesh, which has found more favor and prominence in the past few years is ‘Café Hopping’. Yes, it is an actual thing in Rishikesh. To those who’ve been there, well, you know what we are talking about. For those who have not yet tasted the mountain town, the foodie in you would thank you if you took a trip down solely for the purpose of tasting mouth-watering cuisines.
Most cafes in Rishikesh, and there are a lot, would proclaim themselves the hub of continental, Indian, Chinese and a curious ‘Israeli’ cuisine. The last one, for them, mostly means hummus, falafel and pita. The locations of these little food nooks are spectacular – mostly overlooking the Ganga, with wooden interiors and relaxed floor seating. Live, calming evening music is a feature with the more happening locations. And fresh, organic preparations are the greatest highlight of the eateries.
A few of these, are of course, better than the rest.
On my previous 3 visits here, I found the following gems. Add your recommendations to the list in the comment section below –
- Little Buddha
This is perhaps the first recommendation you would get from most. The thing with a heavily recommended place is, that it is always occupied. But the few moments of wait you might have to spend are completely worth it. The view from Little Buddha is to die for. The mighty Ganges serenely flows down below as the hills reflect natural splendor right off their cliffs. And with the numerous places I have been to, the serving time of this massively crowded place, surprisingly, is the shortest.I would recommend their nacho dips and smoothies to start your day with. On meal down, and you’ll feel your system opening up to receive the gift of clean mountain air.
This is located in the Laxman Jhula market and is an open café overlooking the road. Lovely light wooden interiors call out to you, along with a tea-pot painted artistically on the wall. Their cuisine boasts of all cuisines, along with a selection of few clear soups and take away desserts. You’ll find a lot of seats occupied by single foodies, with a book in their hands and a bowl of soup in front of them.My takeaway from this place was their interesting spinach and potato clear soup. Healthy, yet appetizing. And filling, very filling. I also tried their hummus and pita, and while the hummus was dry, clearly lacking the generous dripping of Olive Oil, the pita was a surprising warm, fresh roti-like creation.
- 60s The Eat Story
Located in a hotel at Tapovan, The Eat Story is a strong recommendation. Nestled between a green garden with diverse choice of sitting, this café is for the relaxed bones. Along with strongly recommending the place, I will warn you, their serving time can tire you out – but what you get in front of you more than compensates for the waiting. Other than good preparation, I found their menu to be a bit different from the rest. It had some street preparations, along with great salads, pastas and smoothies.
- 60s The Eat Story
My recommendation from this place is their spinach salad – a bowl of health topped with subtle flavours of a tangy dressing. I also greatly enjoyed their Masala Paav lined with a spiced-up Baingan Bhaja – a strange but beautiful preparation!
- Pure Soul Organic Café
This café is a part of Dewas Retreat and it is my single most favourite space to eat at in Rishikesh. Seriously. Right from the interiors, to location, to menu, to tastes, to ingredients and to value-for-money, nothing beats this place for me in Rishikesh.I accidentally discovered it on one of my trips there, and ever since, one dinner at this place is a staple. Their menu is completely different from any other place. They serve on fresh, organic ingredients. They also serve health recipes, whether you are interested in body building, or you’re suffering a bad bout of cold. Along with warm lighting, swimming pool on the side and light choice of music, this food is like meditation.
My favourites here are veggie pizza with a wheat base, and their roasted pumpkin soup. And actually any and everything I’ve tasted here, including the after dinner cups of tea, they’ve managed to win my favour!
- ‘To Eat At’ list
Well, I’ve been eating a lot at Rishikesh. And the thing with eating a lot is that you also end up eating a whole load of trash. So rather than recommending a 5th place, I’d let you know which are the cafes on my list the next time I go here –
a) Freedom Café
b) German Bakery
c) Ganga Beach Café
d) Beatles Café
e) Café de Goa
So from my next trip there, I will bring you some suave coffee places, more interesting cuisines, along with street side joints to not miss. Till then, enjoying the gift of travel.