Best Darjeeling Restaurants
When I say best restaurants in Darjeeling, I mean the ones that have made a brand names for themselves. They are popular with the locals and returning tourists. Most of the great restaurants that I have covered here are independent ones and are not part of any five or four star luxury hotels or resorts. The hotel or resort restaurants in Darjeeling mainly tend to cater to their own hotel guests.
One thing to note though. Given the culture of this old sleepy hill town, you can not really expect a truly professional and speedy service in most of these restaurants. The services in many of them are of laid back style and none seem to be in any kind of rush. So take it easy, sit back and let the waiters and the chefs take their own time to serve. Only then can you enjoy the dining in Darjeeling.
I have indicated the primary cuisine next to the names of the restaurants below so that you know what kind of food you can expect there. Check out the link for detailed reviews of the restaurants with pictures. It would be a good gesture to offer a 10% tip to the waiters.
Having become one of the well known landmarks of Darjeeling, this restaurant is over 100 years old and has been running since the old colonial days. It's located on the busy Nehru Road only a few steps downhill from the Chowrasta Mall. As you walk into the building which enjoys a rare luxury of having its own little front space and a walkway that leads from the main road, there are stairs that leads to the restaurant at the upper level.
The ground floor is where the well known Glenary's Bakery & Cafe
is located and you will find The Buzz
, a modern pub at the basement. As you walk upstairs to the restaurant and enter through the door, you will notice the inviting glass top tables with white table cloths arranged in a big dining room. The restaurant has great views of the mountains and valleys on one side while the other side overlooks the Nehru Road.
Some of the favorites here are Tandoor specials (earthen oven baked), Sizzlers and Chinese dishes. The restaurant stocks nice selections of alcoholic beverages including wine. While the cafe & bakery offers nice breakfast, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. During the day time, take up a table along the window side on the right. That will offer some of the greatest mountain and valley views. There are of course tables along the windows facing the Nehru Road as well that are ideal in the evening for watching the activities below as you dine.
(Indian, Chinese, Tibetan)
As you walk a few steps from Glenary's towards the Chowrasta Mall, Shangri-La Restaurant will be on your right. It is actually part of a two storied old heritage building which is run as a hotel with only three rooms upstairs, and the restaurant is in the ground floor. As you walk in and cross the small reception cum lounge area, you will know that you are getting into a nice restaurant with an wooden decor, arches and great interiors. This in my view is one of the best restaurants of Darjeeling now considering the ambience, food and friendly service.
You will get all kinds of food here including Chinese, north Indian style preparations, Tandoor items as well as sea food. I was surprised to see even Bengali style fish curry in the menu. There is also a nice bar at the end of the restaurant.
(English Breakfast & Snacks)
For us, a Darjeeling vacation is never complete without a breakfast at the Keventer's, and this is the reason why this restaurant appears on my list of best eateries. If you like to go for traditional English breakfast with items like great sandwiches, chicken salami & meat loafs, or pork sausages with eggs followed by a pot of perfect Darjeeling tea, this is the place to go.
Located right at the beginning of Nehru Road that leads towards the Mall, this strange looking narrow building has two floors. The ground floor is a bakery. Climb up the stairs to enter the small cozy indoor area or just walk across to come out to the open terrace that has rot iron tables and chairs with lovely views all around. This is where I love to sit and have my breakfast while enjoying Kanchenjunga and the Nehru Road activities below. A sip at the tea while reading a newspaper and looking up at times to see how the clouds play at the mountains, is just something that I long for ever. If not for anything else, it can be just Keventer's why I can be in Darjeeling once again.
(Thai Cuisine & Others)
Park is also one of our old time favorites. Located on Laden La road and right opposite to the State Bank of India building, this restaurant offers great Thai cuisine. As the owner Deep says, once you have Thai dishes, you won't like to have Chinese items as they would taste bland. However the restaurant does offer a far wider range of menu including North Indian and Chinese dishes.
As you climb the short flight of stairs, you will enter into this well done up dining room that has a well stocked bar as well. On one side there are window side tables with great mountain views. There is also a small private room incase you are looking to dine in privacy.
(Only Vegetarian, North & South Indian/Chinese)
This vegetarian restaurant is located on Gandhi road next to the taxi stand and tucked between the Dekevas restaurant at the ground floor and the Dekeling hotel above. As you climb the flight of narrow stairs, it opens up into a nicely decorated and airy restaurant that has grand views of the mountains.
This restaurant is part of the Lunar Hotel located in the same building. They have a fairly long menu (like a booklet) of vegetarian dishes that includes both north and south Indian items, Chinese and snacks like sandwiches. If you are looking for some nice vegetarian food with nice ambience and views, this place can be a great choice.
More great restaurants...
Well the above were the restaurants that almost any returning tourists would know about, some of them have been there since the British colonial days. But the list of best restaurants would be incomplete without naming a few more who too have carved out names for themselves through love from tourists, although they may not be as big or prominent, but nevertheless are favorites to many including locals.
An old restaurant operating since 1972 was once known for its authentic Nepali Thali. However the restaurant has graduated over time to prepare some of the finest Chinese and Tibetan food as well. Although the approach is through a narrow lane off Ladenla road and on a public staircase, the inside ambience is nice. They are open for lunch and dinner.
(Cuisine: Chinese & Tibetan)
It's a small eatery with only handful of tables but remains full most times. You can see many foreign tourists here relishing on hot Chinese and Tibetan food. The food is not only good, the menu is quite extensive and portions are large. It's run by a local family. Kunga is located on Gandgi road right at the upper clubside taxi stand (near Planter's club).
(Cuisine: Western fares + Nepali)
The original eatery still operates out of a garage like space on Zakir Hussain road while another extension has been opened right opposite to it which has better seating arrangements. They serve excellent breakfast (you can get nice pancakes, toasts, eggs, sausages etc), as well as brunch and dinner.
A small cafe cum bar lounge where live music plays till late at night. The food is good and the ambience attracts the young at heart. More importantly this is one place where the tourists feel at home to chat with each other over a drink and food in a casual friendly yet elegant ambience.
Santa Banta Dhaba
(Cuisine: North & South Indian)
If you happen to visit Batasia Loop via car or private transportation then do stop at the newly opened Santa Banta Dhaba that is right across the road from the park. It’s shiny, snazzy and unusually attractive in comparison to all other food and beverage outlets nearby.
Santa Banta Dhaba
On offer are standard south Indian, north Indian and Chinese dishes. expect Chicken tandoori dishes, momos, dosas and chole bature all under one roof and all items are seemingly delicious. Additionally check out the butter naan, dal makhni and kadai paneer.
Indoor, Santa Banta
The indoor accents, wall décor and the small pond inside with artificial lotuses are eye catching. Sipping cappuccino after touring Batasia Loop is now possible. Their original outlet is in Siliguri at Sevoke Road, and that one too is very popular.
2) Darjeeling Local Food & Drinks
: Know all about the popular local food & cuisine in Darjeeling including local beverages & drinks and the best places to try them out.
Bijay Kishan (October 2017)
I visited Darjeeling with my friends. When we reach Darjeeling it was very late. We got down at Goenka petrol pump (at Chauk Bazaar area, lower Darjeeling town). To our surprise Biryani Baar restaurant was open. Restaurant owner was very sweet. They prepared a fresh meal for all of us. They kept the restaurant open for us till 11:00pm. That day and the rest of the days we had our lunch and dinner only in Biryani Baar restaurant. Food was fresh & reasonable and the best part the owners were very warm and nice.....
B. Rajagopal (March 2017)
We had an excellent and a very authentic Bengali homely lunch at Hotel Mahakal. Another hotel that we liked was Hotel Frankross (in the same road of Kaventers). Our evening tea on the roof of Kaventers with Kanchanjungha on the backdrop was a very pleasant experience.
AR V Sreenivasan (March 2015)
We are planning a visit to Darjeeling in April2015. Kindly let me have the names of some pure vegetarian restaurants as we do not prefer a eatery offering both.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2015
Very few vegetarian-only restaurants in Darjeeling. The best of the lot is Lunar Restaurant on Gandhi Road. Few others include Hasty Tasty (Nehru Road), Frank Ross Cafe (Nehru Road), the restaurant at Sunflower Hotel (on Mall) etc.
Dr. Subhratanu Daripa (April 2014)
I have been living at Darj for last 7 months and have tried many restaurants/ eateries you have mentioned. One thing I must say that you have not mentioned The Opium, beside the Planters Club! Ambience wise this is one of the best, made of old English style wooden floor, wall as well as a huge attic. Very spacious and roomy with a fire place and of course with nostalgic mural photo frames the restaurant has good options for both Indian and Chinese cuisine. Mutton rezala with Kashmiri Pulao are our personal favs. Besides you can try tandoori rotis with kadhai chicken. In fact any North Indian dish is as mouth-watering as are the Chinese courses. Remember the kebabs are exclusively seasonal. Only drawback we have found is in service - they are a bit slow and casual in serving the food.
The bar experience is also good. A Must Try for all visiting/living at Darjeeling.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2014
You don't see it in my site because no restaurant in Planters club lasts for long. They run on lease and for some reason can't sustain the cost. This is a new one which came up in the end of 2011. I'll wait and watch for a while. Thanks.
Tejinder Pal Singh (Jan 2013)
Hi, We are 5 friends (all males)from New Delhi visiting Darjeling in mid offebruary 2013. Would like to know where can we get best non-veg food.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) Jan 2013
You can try Glenary's & Shangrila Restaurant for good non-veg food (both on Nehru Road leading towards the Mall), but they are little upscale and serve North Indian, Tandoor, Continental cuisine etc. The Park (on Laden La Road) is a great for Thai & Chinese dishes. For cheap good food, try Kunga or Dekevas (mainly Tibetan & Chinese dishes) on Gandhi Road.