After spending a very happy, very peaceful few days at Camp Ganga Riviera (had the whole camp to ourselves it was heaven), Brad and I went to stay in Rishikesh for 4 days. We actually had mixed feelings on Rishikesh. The setting is beautiful but it felt rather sold out. So, instead of telling you what we got up too I’m going to tell you where we ate! All of the photos in this blog are from our time at Camp Ganga Riviera which we LOVED.
First off to note is that Rishikesh and Haridwar are considered highly religious places. You will not find any meat or alcohol for sale in either town.
1. Tat Café
Located on the Eastern side of Laxman Jhula, as part of the winding stair market, sits a cafe called Tat Café. They have a balcony with some low-to-ground chairs and tables for you to enjoy the spectacular view. Or a few comfortable tables inside for the evening. We went here twice for breakfast and tried an array of things from the menu. Definitely try the banana, cinnamon and honey shake! Stay away from the porridge unless you like yours mixed with water. Otherwise the menu is great and they have a huge selection to pick from at very reasonable prices.
2. Himalayan Rooftop Restaurant
Sitting high and pretty on the roof of one of the buildings on Laxman Jhula’s main road, this restaurant offers great panoramic views.
This restaurant gets a big fat from us though.
Brad’s mushroom masala was lacking flavour. The chef had gone seriously heavy on the butter and oil. And my pizza was wrong.
Somehow my pineapple and olive pizza had transformed into an apple and banana pizza on its way from the kitchen to our table. In case you’re wondering, apple on pizza is not the same as pineapple on pizza and should never happen, ever again. If a restaurant does not have food you’ve ordered they should tell you. Not go all experimental on you.
3. Buddha Café
This hippy cafe is situated on the other side of the river in Laxman Jhula. We wanted somewhere to chill and re-feed after a trek to Patna Falls that afternoon.
The cafe has a mixture of tables and floor tables (the ones where you sit on the floor, obviously). The music is good, the lighting and decor is funky and the menu is large. It definitely attracts a big crowd (as do most places listed on Lonely Planet). Lots of people there were reading, smoking pot and being generally hippy.
We didn’t think the food was that memorable and the fresh juice was very average. But it was a good place for a game of cards and a spot of people watching.
Another Café aiming to provide a chilled out atmosphere for the abundance of trainee yogis in Rishikesh. Filled with the same floor tables and pillows. It has a very small balcony to overlook the river but definitely it’s not the best view we had seen.
The menu was very similar to other places we had been. We ate breakfast and had our morning coffee. No complaints and much less busy than say Buddha Café!
The food and drinks were also very reasonably priced. I believe the whole meal came to less than 400 rupee which is fantastic value.
Arguably the most popular Café in Rishikesh. On the main western side of the river in Laxman Jhula, right next to Tat Café. We arrived here for dinner but were lucky to even get seated.
The Café was heaving with hippies and yogis. The atmosphere was certainly very friendly and relaxed. Everyone was speaking to each other, it was very open. They also have a selection of instruments and a microphone which some of the people took advantage of. Playing some off-the-cuff music and singing whilst we relaxed into the evening.
As far as the food goes it was decent enough! Most menus in Rishikesh offer pretty much the same thing and this was no different with a mix of Indian/continental/Israeli/Chinese. The service was a bit confused and slow though.
We only stopped here for a quick drink as we felt like we should. After all, Rishikesh exploded because of the limelight The Beatles put on it when they escaped here.
The burgers that were being brought out looked amazing but it was a bit more expensive than everywhere else we had been. When we came back for dinner we also could not get a table.
Make a stop here if you want but there are definitely other café’s you shouldn’t miss out on!
(Note: if you are looking for the Beatles Ashram it’s on the opposite side of the river to this Café. You’ll also have to enter the tiger reserve if you want to see it. I think it was 600 rupee each. We didn’t bother because we quite rightly thought it was a rip off to be charged that when you are not actually visiting the reserve. However I have seen pictures of the artwork inside the Ashram and it does look quite different!)
Devraj Coffee Corner & German Bakery
Just before you cross the Laxman Jhula bridge, look up to your left and you’ll find this German bakery. Recommended by Lonely Planet we decided to head there for some brunch.
Unfortunately they were in the middle of one of India’s famous power cuts during our visit. This meant most food was unable to be cooked. But what we did have was good and they have a lovely selection of baked goods to pick from. We ended up getting butter and yak’s cheese toast as it was one of the few things available. They served us their home made bread and I can confirm it was delicious!
A little more on the pricey side but otherwise I would of liked to have given this place another go!
As a location that has been heavily moulded by the vast number of tourists that visit throughout the year, there are many great little places to eat. I’m sure we missed out on some great food but you can’t try them all! Don’t be afraid to eat some of the street food either. The man at the top of the winding market on the stairs sells some smashing potato rosti, curried snacks in the evening time which are a must try!
Rishikesh as a place, in the mountains with the river and the forest, is just stunning. The town itself seems to be just another tourist magnet now, none of its original character left. But still, worth a visit just to see the stunning beauty the river’s path has carved out here.