What to Try in Ten Good Restaurants of Leh

What to Try in Ten Good Restaurants of Leh

By Amitha Venkatesh

Leh has long been the Gateway to the northern part of Greater Himalayas. While people throng here to enjoy its scenic beauty, it also offers the gastronomically inclined many opportunities to explore various cuisines. Leh can boast of a huge number of restaurants and eating joints, especially during the tourist season and deciding what to order can perplex many. Many eating joints cater to foreigners with scrumptious continental menus and there are as many of them serving authentic local cuisines. A few of them exclusively cater to vegetarians and there is Wazawan, located at the beginning of main market where authentic Kashmiri cuisine can be tried. The good food guide of Leh can run into a long list but to begin with, here are a few. A sincere advice to any tourist heading to Leh – don't go with any preconceived notions and have the spirit of trying out new eateries. Tantalise your taste buds and savour the flavours without any inhibitions and you are sure to discover the taste palettes building up beyond expectations. While travelling to Leh is a journey explored, eating in Leh is a mystery unravelled.

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  1. Grand Dragon Ladakh (Old Road, Sheynam)**: being a four star fine dine, its buffet caters and suits their in house guests and those who want to hog on an unlimited buffet. For those who are opting to have a light meal, a-la-carte would be more appropriate. In a-la-carte, it is more preferable to try out their Chinese menu rather than Indian or Pan Asian or Continental. Some of their signature dishes are chicken kungpao, crispy fried mushrooms and some delicately flavoured exotic soups. Some may find the phad thai noodles are a little on the heavier side.
  2. Summer Harvest (Fort Road)*: Thingmo - a local steamed bread, Vegetable Phing – a stew comprising of translucent noodles, veggies and boiled potato slices/chunks, crispy honey sesame chicken strips, their woodfire pizzas, momos, thupka, are a few speciality dishes of this place. You will not find these flavours elsewhere. The biggest treat is the sumptuous helpings.
  3. Tibetan Kitchen (Ford Road)*: Being a multicuisine restaurant, it has lived upto its reputation. The momos are a sure to order dish. Tandoori starters are not to be missed. Both Indian and Chinese dishes stand out. A Punjabi palette would be more than satisfied after savouring the butter chicken and butter naan.
  4. Lamayuru Cafe (Fort Road) : This cafe is run by a very sweet couple who make every traveller as comfortable as possible. While you are lazing all alone with a book or catching up with your family or friends while grabbing a bite, the food worth trying is their Lafas, Pizzas and pastas. The bakery items are quite good but there are better places to try.
  5. Gesmo Restaurant (Fort Road): Gesmo, also known as one of the many 'German' Bakeries in Leh, serves mouth watering continental dishes. The mint ginger honey lemon drink is amazing. The pizzas, pastas and sizzlers are the dishes to order. Travellers who regularly dine here customise their orders. The yak cheese sells like hot cakes but needs a palette to appreciate it. The biscuits, cakes and pies are sinfully good - something you can dig into and pack some more for later.
  6. La Piazzetta (Changspa Lane)*: A quaint place with lovely wall murals done in a rustic style. You may run into celebrities at this place lounging on the floor seating or while warming yourself around the bonfire or gyrating to some great retro and trance music. The dishes to be tried are the pizzas, tandoori snacks and all time favourites like chilly chicken.
  7. Chopsticks(Ford Road)*: True to its name, the place offer tasty traditional Chinese dishes. Many travellers have liked the Thai soups and curries too. A few worth-trying dishes would be their soups, noodles, honey chilli fries, dimsums and local thupka.
  8. Bon Apetit(South of Changspa Lane)**: facing the Stok Kangri ranges, this restaurant has a mesmerising view. Unlike other pizza joints that serve wood fire pizzas, this restaurant serves pizzas made in stone ovens. The other must tries are in particular the chocolate momos, continental, Italian, tandoori and barbecue items. The place lives up to the reputation of its name, for sure – BON APETIT!
  9. Norlakh(Main Bazaar): this tucked away restaurant in the main bazaar is a treat for vegetarians. The spinach and cheese momos, gyathuk, tenthuk are some of the local delicacies one must consider trying. It offers a wide range of vegetarian dishes, including simple roti dal and chawal. Non-vegetarians can opt for the all time favourite butter chicken.
  10. Dreamland (Fort Road)*: it is a 2 star hotel with a veg and non-veg multi cuisine restaurant. The specialities though are generally continental and Chinese. The added advantage is that it is multipurpose. They have good food and stay. They also conduct tours and activities like river rafting in the Zanskar river.

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    Having made your wish list of what to try and in which order, don't forget to add Khambir (the local bread) with the Ladakhi salty tea to your bucket list. The tandoori bread which looks like a roti or a naan is very fluffy and light in the centre and crunchy on the outer. It is warmed up on a burner or a stove and topped with a dollop of butter. One can easily devour a couple of these tasty breads with a hot cup of tea or soup.