The dreamy town of Shimla, well known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, is a quaint but bustling town offers a perfect mixture of panoramic views of the snow clad Himalayas, tiny paths along the pine forests, Elizabethan-styled roof-tops and a delectable food culture that establishes fairytale like settings. A favourite summer weekend outing from Delhi, Shimla is on the must-do list of both Indian and international travelers. Along with scenic views of the beautiful mountain tiers, this picturesque city offers a melting pot of mouthwatering cuisines. Adding to its appeal are a range of warm and quirky cafes and hang out spots featuring scrumptious food throughout the day. Here’s a list of the local favourites – both for their food and ambience. This list covers the top restaurants of Shimla and over your weekend trip will give you.
Cafe Simla Times, Hotel Willow Banks :
Café Simla Times is named after a famous newspaper that was circulated in Shimla when the town was still called Simla. This is a hang out spot with an artistic vibe to it. It offers lot of creativity and innovation both in terms of its food as well as the décor. The menu is outstanding and the creativity of the place unique. The walls and roof have sketches of famous spots of Shimla giving a sense that the café has been designed by an artist who also happened to be a chef. There is a model of a vintage car on the outside that adds to the ambiance. The café offers both indoor and outdoor seating – so you can choose to sit inside and enjoy the painted walls, or sit outside and enjoy the view. Either way it’s a win-win. While at Café Simla Times, the first thing to try are the Tomato Olive Toasties which consist of bruschetta (Italian bread dipped in olive oil) topped with smoked tomato olives, basil and feta cheese. Café Simla Times bakes its own bread so every bread preparation is crisp and fresh.The next recommendation is the lip smacking pizza! Their wood-fired pizzas come with thin, crispy bases, flavourful toppings and generous amounts of mozzarella cheese. The smoked chicken & olive pizza is loved by all. The fruit shakes on the menu are exceptionally fresh and bursting with flavour. The Strawberry shake is a local favourite – juicy strawberries and creamy milk make a good combination. Their Lemon Ice Tea is good too. They also serve cocktails. Among desserts, the Tiramisu with perfectly blended chocolate, cream and mascarpone, comes highly recommended.
Eighteen71 Cookhouse and Bar, Hotel Willow Banks:
Newly opened fine dining restaurant Eighteen71 (estd. April 2016), is a part of Hotel Willow Banks and derives its name from the year the property dates back to. This estate was originally owned by Arthur James Craddock, also known as the ‘Architect and Builder of Shimla’ and later the colonial building was redesigned into a hotel. The décor itself has a story to tell. It beautifully combines classic elements of wood, leather and metal – with contemporary and modern design – to create a regal and plush ambience that allows for an unparalleled dining experience in Shimla. This cookhouse and bar serves Pan Indian, Oriental cuisine and live grills along with a bar that dishes out some innovative cocktails! The mood and energy of the place changes as the day unfolds – starting with a lavish buffet spread at breakfast, a laid back lunch and has a lounge like vibe in the evening with the high energy music and mood lighting. In keeping with the theme of the restaurant – the food also retains its classic flavours, while the presentation is a contemporary twist that adds to the excitement of dining here. The menu has an Indian spread like none other – not only does it include the much loved Mughlai but goes beyond to also have the best dishes from across India – Bengali curries, Parsi specialities, Chettinad flavours and Rajasthani delights. The Oriental spread is authentic and dishes span across Chinese, Thai, Malay and Burmese. Live grills are the icing on the cake and the menu sets the restaurant apart from others in the city. And in the spread of desserts the Paan Kulfi is a must try!
Embassy Ice creams:
One of the oldest coffee shops in Shimla, Embassy is a must for the quirky ones. Other than some very delicious homemade cakes and pastries, Embassy has fascinating interiors. Once inside, you’ll find thousands of handwritten pamphlets and posters, stuck all over the walls. The classic softy ice cream here is a must have – especially the twin softy with vanilla and strawberry and nutty chocolate one. This is a cafe where you can just pick a corner seat near the window, and enjoy this delectable dollop of icy wonder with a splendid backdrop of the city.
This small bakery is a real good place to hog on pastries, patties, burgers and a variety of cakes and other bakery products. The best thing about this place is the economical price. The ambiance is ordinary but the food is extra-ordinary. The patties here especially chicken and mushroom are must haves! You will be so blown away by the taste that you’re likely to get some packed for your journey back home.
This small quaint place is a must visit on your trip to Shimla. Located at just 5 minutes walking distance from the Heart of Mall Road Shimla, this place deserves at least one of your meals at Shimla. No one would like to miss an opportunity to taste authentic Himachali Cuisine and savour sumptuous Himachali Dham (Kangri and Mandyali Thalis). Siddu- offered in two flavours – Salty and Sweet is a favourite delicacy in Himachal and highly recommended. Try all this in the ‘Baithak’ of this restaurant and relish the traditional cuisine in traditional ambiance. All in all everything about this place reflects Himachali Traditions in Food.
The Oberoi Cecil restaurant :
Cecil is a premier culinary experience found at Shimla’s famous Oberoi Luxury Hotel and Resort. At a dizzying 7,000 feet above sea level, Cecil offers a unique bird’s eye view of the majestic Himachali landscape. The restaurant is often referred to by visitors as a crown jewel because of its exotic, expensive menu. So as you treat yourself to a tantalizing selection of Thai curries and freshly baked Indian breads, remember to also drink in the dark mahogany wall panelling, the antique chandeliers and the old-world charm of Cecil.
The only thing better than talking about food is actually eating! So don’t wait…and check out these eateries on your next trip to Shimla!