A vacation in Manali can mean more than just adventure sports and skiing down the slopes. Manali is a great place to enjoy food and if you love trying out new dishes, you will surely enjoy the different cuisines available here. From local Himachali food to tried and tested favourites, the food in Manali is extensive and caters to all tastes. Mall Road is full of north Indian restaurants where you can get favourites such as butter chicken or Shahi paneer.
However, street food is quite popular here and if you’re tired of restaurants in Manali, you can always check out the local vendors. From tangy and delightful dishes such as chaats and local Himachali food that you might not have tried elsewhere, there are a number of tastes and textures just waiting for you to try them. After all, what is the point of travelling to a beautiful hill station such as Manali and not trying out anything new?
Apart from bhelpuri and samosas, some of the best food in Manali includes local Himachali dishes such as Khatta, a dish made of pumpkin, dried mango powder and boondi, Sidu, a bread that is unique to Himachali cuisine, and Babru, which looks like a kachori but tastes better. Here’s a look at some of the best restaurants in Manali.
If you can’t wait to try out the food in Kullu Manali, it’s time to head to the SOTC website and check out the many offers and deals available there on Manali tour packages and Himachal tour packages.
It would be nearly impossible to talk about restaurants in Manali and not mention Il Forno. Surrounded by apple orchards, with a rustic ambiance, this quaint restaurant uses produce sourced from its own kitchen garden as ingredients. Wood-fired pizzas and calzones are excellent here and this restaurant is located on Hadimba Road.
Touted to be one of the best restaurants in Manali, La Plage serves delicious French food such as smoked trout, and overnight cooked lamb. The décor here has a lovely, old-school charm to it and its location, right in the middle of an apple orchard makes it all the more inviting.
This elegant restaurant is a delight for the senses. As you climb up the stone steps, not only will you be able to inhale the delicate smell of roses, the air is perfumed with the scent of strawberries, apples, plums and cherries which are grown on the property and converted into homemade jams. Distinctly Italian, the food here is simple and delicious and the wood-fired pizza adds a rustic and authentic touch. Desserts like tiramisu, or warm poached pears (from the home garden) are served with a dollop of ice cream.
For a decent selection of Chinese, Tibetan and even Japanese dishes, head to Chopsticks on Mall Road. The décor is Tibetan and the food tasty and quite filling. Do try the Tibetan hot pot called gyakok, which is served in a large copper vessel above a burner. Dip noodles, bok choy, tofu or chicken into the hot pot and have a hearty dinner indeed!
Those headed to Rohtang are more familiar with this restaurant which is located on the Rohtang highway. It’s open only from March to November and serves delicious pizzas. Set in a fragrant apple orchard, this serene restaurant serves a delicious brunch with lamb roast served with a beetroot sauce.
Around 5km from Manali is Martin’s which is part of the Himalayan Sports Club. It’s open only on Sundays from noon to evening 5 pm and only from the months of April to November. Diners have to pre-book, so if you do end up having a meal there, think of it as nothing but your good fortune. There’s grilled chicken, smoked trout and a delightful selection of pizzas which you can enjoy here.
Located on Manu Temple Road, this is a homely little café with delicious food is a great place to come in the evenings for music or karaoke nights. If you want to indulge in a hearty continental breakfast, this is one of the best places to eat in Manali. Whether you want eggs benedict, eggs Florentine, or waffles and pancakes with maple syrup drizzled on top, you’ll get it all here. Read a book or play board games with friends or family while you wait for your food to be prepared. You’ll feel relaxed and you will feel like you are truly on a vacation.
Not to be confused with Johnson’s restaurant and bar which is right next to it, Johnson’s Café is one of the places to eat in Manali where you can get the famous local dish, trout curry. In fact, this café serves around ten different variations of the Himalayan river trout and it truly is some of the best food in Manali. Don’t miss out on baked trout with almond sauce but for a more local taste, the trout curry served with steamed spinach and served over Himachali red rice is quite good too. The ambiance at Johnson’s Café is mellow and welcoming and you will surely want to visit once more.
Old Manali is home to the cosy Café 1947 whose ambiance is soothing and perfect for a relaxed lunch with friends. There’s great music here but the best sounds come from the river nearby. The cuisine here is Italian and everything is fresh and tasty. This is one of the restaurants in Manali that you will be happy to have visited.