Dining Delights

During your stay, the foodie in you would want to try out the interesting eateries around town. While it is impossible to do enumerate ALL of Manali’s worthwhile food joints, here’s a list of my favourites.

Fat Plate

A slightly longer way in comparison to the other eateries, Fat Plate is the place you’d want to visit to soak up some sun while enjoying Rati aunty’s charming company. Fat Plate is a family-run restaurant that serves deliciously cooked meals and offers seating in the midst of a beautiful garden. Visit this place on a leisurely day, as the service is relatively slow.

I recommend: Rahrah meat here is a total winner. Vegetarians can try the Chefs special tomato methi paneer with some lachha paratha. Wash it down with a glass of plum juice.

Distance: 8 kilometres
Getting there: Fat Plate is located on the left side of the Naggar road, and is at a slight distance from the Manali bridge point.

Open during seasonal summer months.
Contact #: 98166 33388 / 98169 52400

La Plage

A dining delight on Club House Road, this joint is run by a fun-loving couple- Shivani and Lali. Artsy in its decor and laid back in its vibe, La Plage offers you a French-style menu with out of the box dishes that will definitely have you craving for more! What’s more, the restaurant is filled with fun and frolic on weekend DJ nights. For its fine culinary style and charming ambience, La Plage undoubtedly deserves to top the list.

I recommend: The Kasundi-styled fried fish and the mango-beetroot platter. The half an hour wait for their home-made apple pie is definitely worth it.

Distance: < 3 kilometres
Getting there: Old Club House road

Open from May to July end.
Contact #: 98053 40977/ 97799 59757

Johnson Bar & Restaurant

Possibly the most happening joint in town, the Johnson Bar and Restaurant is a space of casual dining during the day, which turns into a lounge as the sun goes down. A lodge-styled restaurant with a brighter extension towards the outside, the food served here is extremely noteworthy, as is their service. What’s more, this is one of the few places in town that gives you the liberty to choose across a variety of cuisines- Indian, Chinese and Continental- each cooked in its unique style and flavour. While you lounge around, try spotting the manager’s dog- Tango, who’s a complete charmer.

I recommend: Their trout fish is their speciality and my personal favourite. Dont miss out on it unless youre vegetarian, in case of which, youll have plenty of other options- try their gnocchi if youre in the mood for some comfort food. Dont miss out on the homemade chocolate cake with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce, it’s to die for!

Distance: 6 kilometres
Getting there: Circuit House Road, just off the Mall, uphill.

Open throughout the year.
Contact #: 01902 251523

Il Forno

A charming little Italian restaurant set up in an erstwhile barn, the authenticity of its dishes lies can be explained by the fact that Il Forno is the creation of an Italian family that resided here for many years. Italian food doesn’t get better than this in Manali

I recommend: Honestly, everything. Go according to your mood- conventionally pizza, a more specific pasta or an offbeat alternative- you take a call. But make sure to decide your main course according to your choice of dessert- each is better than the other. I remember gorging on their fiammetta, and then ordering another. Pure heaven.

Distance: 7 kilometres
Getting there: Hadimba Road, which branches off from Circuit House Road towards the Hadimba Devi temple. Il Forno comes on the left hand side of the road.

Open during the summer months.
Contact #: 97368 40401

Johnson’s Café

Personally run by Piya Johnson and her team, this bright little café is the perfect place to sip beer on a lazy afternoon while soaking up the sun, or sipping a hot cup of cocoa during a rainy day. I love the RP’s and indie decor on the interiors of the café.

I recommend: Again, their trout, which is very different to the ones served at the other Johnson’s. Their wooden baked trout with almond sauce is worth going for. Il Forno might be in close competition with the café’s succulent pasta dishes. Apart from that, some of the local curries served here are very tasty. While their desserts take a backseat, try out their signature dessert coffees- the Johnson’s Special coffee, with its liquor twists calls for a sinful indulgence.

Distance: 6 kilometres
Getting there: Adjoining Johnson Bar and Restaurant, on Circuit House Road.

Open throughout the year.
Contact #: 01902 253764

Chopsticks

This is Manali’s favourite Chinese outlet. An old-timer situated in heart of the Mall, Chopsticks also serves noteworthy Tibetan food.

I recommend: Their Tibetean thukpa is my personal choice here, apart from the momos. Try their apricot wine, which is a speciality here.

Distance: 6 kilometres
Getting there: Located in the midst of Mall road.

Open: All through the year.
Contact #: 01902 252639

Martin’s

Adjoining the Himalayan sports club is the spot where Martin, an Austrian gentleman, organises his renowned Sunday brunch with the help of his family. Pizzas, juicy chicken, fries and chilled bottles of beer, along with their special desserts attract swarms of foodies from around Manali, adding the weekend bustle to Shanag. Lazy tennis shots, and the laid-back atmosphere at Martin’s perfectly complements the typical Sunday vibe.

I recommend: If youre a fan of roasted chicken, make sure to book your chicken at least a day in advance! Martin’s pizzas are always a hit.

Distance: 200 metres
Dial 100 for staff assistance 20

Getting there: Martin’s is in our immediate neighbourhood- and is barely a 5-minute walk from the Retreat, towards the left.

Open only on Sundays, during peak tourist months.
Contact #: 82619 59993/ 98160 56518

Rose Café

A quaint café run by an Italian hostess, the Rose Café serves some off-beat Italian delights and a fantastic cup of coffee.

I recommend: The chocolate salami is worth a try.

Distance: 4 kilometres

Getting there: take the road going upwards to Vashisht, towards the hot springs. Rose Café appears on the right ride of the road, adjacent to the paid parking area.

Open seasonally.
Contact #: 01902 254477

Pizza Olive

A seasoned Italian joint that offers a break-taking view of the lower Manali orchards, Pizza Olive is the place to go for an authentic Italian lunch.

I recommend: The lasagna and home-made tiramisu.

Distance: 8 kilometres
Getting there: Pizza Olive is located on the right side of the Naggar road, and is very close to Fat Plate.

Open seasonally.
Contact #: 98161 91541

The Lazy Dog

Another Old Manali charmer, the Lazy Dog is soothing and warm in its ambience. Recently renovated, it has interesting interiors and is located above the Beas. It is Old Manali’s coolest gastropub, and offers a wide range of cuisines, from Indian, pan-Asian, Japanese to continental and Italian. A series of live events lighten it up in the evening hours.

I recommend: The house special hot chocolate with rum is a sheer delight! Try their mushrooms stuffed with spinach and cheese, or the red thai curry if youre in the mood for some spicy zing.

Dial 100 for staff assistance 21

Distance: 6 kilometres
Getting there: The Lazy Dog is hard to miss on the left hand side as you take the turn going to Old Manali from the Manalsu bridge.

Open seasonally.
Contact #: 01902 254277

Dylan’s

A cooped up coffee shop dedicated to Bob Dylan, Dylan’s is known in Old Manali for its freshly roasted coffee beans and decadent chocolate chip cookies that they serve fresh out of the oven.

I recommend: Their freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are the best that I have ever eaten in my life (yes, I used to be a Chips Ahoy/ Pepperidge Farm Cookies’ fan).

Distance: 6 kilometres

Getting there: Dylan’s is on the right side of the road going up to Old Manali, a few hundred metres past the Manalsu bridge.

Open seasonally.
Contact #: 8894236364

Café 1947

A cozy space just by the Manalsu river, Café 1947 is popular amongst the hipster crowd of Old Manali.

I recommend: The pizzas and chocolate milkshake.

Distance: 6 kilometres
Getting there: Café 1947 appears on the left side of the road going up to Old Manali, a few metres past the Manalsu bridge.

Open seasonally
Contact #: 94184 61969

* Please note that some restaurants have weekly offs and are open subject to seasonal availability. In order to avoid being inconvenienced by this, we advice that you call the restaurant prior to your visit. We have provided verified contact numbers below every restaurant for your kind perusal. Bon appétit!