When you talk about Darjeeling, beyond mountains and monasteries, what pops up in every mind would be Darjeeling Tea. This hill station is widely popular for its tea, which is considered one of the best across the globe. There are quite a few shops that sell high quality Darjeeling tea and different other varieties as well in this hill town nestled at the foot of Eastern Himalayas. Being a popular hill station since the colonial times, Darjeeling has seen travellers and tourists in large numbers over the years. As the travellers thronged this beautiful hill station, this resulted in numerous hotels, resorts, cafes and restaurants sprouting across the town. From Tibetan to Continental to Chinese to Indian, there are a wide range of eateries across Darjeeling to tingle your taste buds.
Below are some of the must visit eateries that I suggest to visit while exploring Darjeeling.
Quite a popular place near the Mall road, Kunga majorly offers Tibetan cuisine and probably serves the best Momos in Darjeeling. From thukpas to thenthuks to wantons to fried momos, the restaurant has a delicious spread of Tibetan dishes. The restaurant also offers continental breakfast. Make sure to visit Kunga early as getting a table here is quite a challenge, but definitely worth the wait.
2. Tom and Jerry
This cute little café, tucked away from the main road is a delightful breakfast joint if you are looking for continental cuisine. Their pancakes and hash brownies are absolutely delicious and well recommended. The service is excellent and the place has a nice décor with books and wall paintings of the iconic Tom and Jerry.
Nathmull’s is probably the best place to pick up the renowned Darjeeling tea bags. Apart from the different varieties of tea that you can purchase, they also help you understand the differences and suggest the tea leaves/ powder that suits your taste. Nathmull’s also has a café where they serve sandwiches, burgers, cakes and other short eats. Do check out their quirky collection of tea pots.
4. Sonam’s Kitchen
A short walk away from the Mall road leads to Sonam’s Kitchen, a popular place for breakfast and brunch. The restaurant is well known for its English breakfast, French toast, sandwiches, hash brownies, pancakes and ginger lemon tea. It is open only until 2:30 P.M. every day and breakfast is served until then.
If you are looking for a fancy place to enjoy your meal, head to Glenarys, a lovely café and restaurant overlooking the hills. While you can enjoy short eats such as pastries and cakes at the lower floor, head up if you are keen on a relaxed lunch or dinner with a bigger spread. The white coloured building with a tinge of colonial charm located near the clock tower is hard to miss.
Shangri-La, as the name suggests serves a good spread of Chinese and Tibetan cuisine. The restaurant is inside an old fashioned heritage building with a nice warm ambience. Their momos and thukpas are well recommended. The place is open for both lunch and breakfast. Apart from the restaurant, Shangri-La also has a bar and rooms as well.
7. Himalayan Java Coffee
Are you missing caffeine while in Darjeeling? If so, head to Himalayan Java Coffee to enjoy your cappuccino! Overlooking the crowded streets of Darjeeling, sip your coffee and see the world go by. The neatly done up chic cafe serves a wide range of cakes and pastries as well.
8. Joey’s Pub
Away from the hustle bustle of the touristy lanes of Darjeeling, Joey’s Pub enroute the railway station is a cosy pub with wooden interiors and has a colonial charm. This is also the only pub in Darjeeling to unwind after a good day of exploration. As you listen to the music, gulp down that mug of beer and let your mind wander, Joey’s Pub would easily beguile as one of the old British country pubs.
A landmark place in Darjeeling, Keventer’s, a 100 year old establishment is well known for its English breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, sausages and cutlets. While the lower floor has a bakery from where you can take away, it is recommended to relish your breakfast on the open terrace with magnificent views of the snow clad mountains.
Nehru road that leads to Chowrasta, a boulevard, has a line of road side vendors who sell pipping hot momos and a couple of other delicacies. Check them out if you are up for some momo binging.
How to Reach Darjeeling:
Located in Northern West Bengal, the closest airport to Darjeeling is at Bagdogra, 70 Kms away. From Bagdogra you can take a private taxi to reach Darjeeling. Public transportation such as shared jeeps are available as well, which could work out cheaper.