5 Best Places To Eat In Leh

  • The Paneer Butter Masala was not tangy & Gesmo Restaurant uses onions & pepper really well to bring out sweetness and spicyness

Markets in Leh abound with cafes that promise warm platters of bread-omelette and bowls full of Maggi in every possible combination ever invented–with cheese, with scallion, with chicken, with veggies, or plain ol’ masala. But if you crave something more wholesome, or something Chinese, perhaps Continental, or Tibetan, or just some authentic Kashmiri food, then a visit to one of these 5 eateries is highly recommended.

Up on the mountains, people swear by the roti-rice-dal-sabzi combination on their lunch & dinner plates

Up on the mountains, people swear by the roti-rice-dal-sabzi combination on their lunch & dinner plates

#1 Kashmiri Wazwan; Nowshera Bazar

This is probably the most unassuming eatery in Leh and you might not give it a second look. But don’t make that mistake. The food is so amazingly delicious you’ll want to have everything on the menu. Located close to the Nowshera market entrance, you will need to keep a lookout for the restaurant or you just might miss it.

A peek into a Kashmir Wazwan Shop

A peek into a Kashmiri Wazwan Shop

There is no better place than Kashmiri Wazwan for authentic Kashmiri cuisine. The tikkas, botis and seekhs are served piping hot on the skewer itself. These tender pieces of barbecued meat are topped with spicy red chutney and can be eaten with hot melt in your mouth tandoori rotis.

At Kashmiri Wazwan they serve meat dishes on skewers; they get brownie points for being different

At Kashmiri Wazwan they serve meat dishes on skewers; they get brownie points for being different

Old school favourite – Classic Rogan Josh

Old school favourite – Classic Rogan Josh

#2 Café Cloud; Leh-Manali Highway, Thiksey

Want a lip-smacking meal with a view? Head to Cafe Cloud in Thiksey. A windy 30-minute drive from Leh, this restaurant serves some seriously amazing Indian and European options. The pizzas here are the epitome of perfection! Thin crust, loaded with fresh veggies and cheesy to the core, what’s not to like?

The lip smacking Farm Fresh Pizza

The lip-smacking Farm Fresh Pizza

The fish burger and the classic roast chicken were the two other dishes that made my palate come alive. The former came with a patty, which was crisp on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. The roast, too, was succulent and served in the old school style with sauteed veggies, mashed potatoes and a dark sauce made from a velvety chicken broth. Need I say more?

The classic roast chicken at Café Cloud will make you forget your to-do list & just relish every last bit on the plate

The classic roast chicken at Café Cloud will make you forget your to-do list & just relish every bite

A fish burger at Café Cloud served exactly how a burger should be

A fish burger at Café Cloud, presented exactly how a burger should be served

#3 Chopsticks Noodle Bar; Fort Road

If your palate craves some pan Asian fare, then head to Chopsticks, located a few strides away from German Bakery. The menu is vast, offering dishes from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, China and more. Try the wontons, honey and chilli chicken or babycorn for starters, and I can assure you that a mere first helping won’t satiate your taste buds. You will need to dig in for second and third helpings for sure!

Try to eat these crispy chicken wantons with chopsticks, just try

Try to eat these crispy chicken wantons with chopsticks, just try!

My tryst with chocolate continued at Chopsticks with a unique dish called chocolate chilly spring rolls. It was similar to the chocolate momos I had at Bon Appetit (5th on this list), but the difference was the use of green chilly, which added a zing to the entire dish.

Balance out your sweet and spicy cravings with the honey & chilly babycorn at Chopsticks Noodle Bar

Balance out your sweet & spicy cravings with honey chilli babycorn at Chopsticks Noodle Bar

#4 Gesmo Restaurant; German Bakery, Fort Road

Walking into this restaurant is like stepping into a medieval kitchen. Tucked away in the Old Fort road, the green wooden windows of the German Bakery beckon you to savour the delights within. In this typical 19th-century European kitchen, dishes from India, China, Tibet and Europe are whipped up in a jiffy.

For the love of frames like this one at Gesmo Restaurant

For the love of frames like this one at Gesmo Restaurant

I suggest that you skip the Chinese and Tibetan fare, as there are other eateries which specialise in these, and opt for the continental options instead. I visited the restaurant on Buddha Purnima, considered an extremely auspicious day in Ladakh, when only vegetarian food is served across the region. I opted for butter paneer masala, veg shashlik and chocolate croissant.

The Paneer Butter Masala was not tangy & Gesmo Restaurant uses onions & pepper really well to bring out sweetness and spicyness

Gesmo uses onions & pepper to bring out the paneer butter masala’s sweet-spicy flavour

The butter paneer masala was lip smackingly good – a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. This was complemented perfectly by the veg shashlik, which had smoked, chunky pieces of paneer, served with veggies, rice and tomato puree. The drool-worthy chocolate croissant was the perfect sweet ending to the meal.

The Veg Shashlik at Gesmo will feel like a complete meal in itself

The veg shashlik at Gesmo will feel like a complete meal in itself

#5 Bon Appetit; Changsha Road

Who can say no to a bowl of creamy pasta, farm fresh pizza or cheesy lasagna? Bon Appetit serves some really great Italian fare such as these. And it’s no wonder then that the restaurant is a huge hit with international tourists. While every dish here is packed with flavour, the star attractions are the little drops of heaven called chocolate momos. These bite-size balls are stuffed with chocolate sauce, topped by chocolate and strawberry syrup for a sinfully good treat. This original recipe of Bon Appetit is truly a must-have.

Gorge on the chocolate momos at Bon Appetit as appetizers, desserts or even the main course!

Gorge on the chocolate momos at Bon Appetit as appetizers, desserts or even the main course!

Besides the grills, the eatery specialises in gravies as well, which are served with rice. I would suggest skipping the rista and opting for the rogan josh, which is a party for your senses. They cook the meat incredibly well and the gravy is rich and smooth. It’s something that can’t be described and needs to be experienced.

A welcome sign like this & you know you are in for a fun time with food

A welcome sign like this & you know you are in for a fun time with food

Think we have missed out on a place that deserves to be on this list? Let us know the name in the comments section!

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