It’s April already. Summer has officially arrived. When it comes to beating the heat, Manali continues to be an all-time favourite. The hill station is flocked by tourists in the droves during the summer months. If you are looking forward to a vacation in the mountains, we’ve featured some of the best cafes in Manali. By Karan Kaushik
Bookmark these must-visit cafes in Manali
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One of the most Instagram-worthy cafes in Manali, Johnson’s is housed inside a palatial traditional Himachali grey stone building. They serve Italian, Indian, and Continental fare along with stunning views of snow-clad mountains. Try their famous Korean Fried Chicken and Virgin Strawberry Colada. Live musical jams add to the bohemian vibes of the chic cafe. Their wood-fired pizzas are a must-try, and so is their Trout fish.
Where: The Johnsons Hotel Cafe & Bar, Circuit House Road, Siyal, Kullu, Manali
Sequestered in the charming lanes of Old Manali, Cafe 1947 is perfect for cosy dinner dates. The outdoor seating offers enchanting views of verdant hills and the gurgling Beas River. Expect live music, good vibes, and lip-smacking Italian. Try their bestselling wood-fired Calzone Pizza and the mouthwatering Burger of Bodom. The Metallica Pasta is also a hot favourite. The interior of the cafe features wooden furnishings and mellow lights.
Where: Near Nehru Kund, Leh-Manali Highway VPO Bahang, Manali
Image courtesy: anilbabubiker/Instagram
Established in 2008, The Lazy Dog Cafe serves flavourful and authentic Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai cuisine. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, the café is a westernized lounge that will appeal to your urban sensibilities. The cafe is perfect to enjoy sun-soaked brunches amidst nature as well as romantic dinners. Their bestselling dishes include White Sauce Pasta, Falafel, and Chicken Salad.
Where: Manu Temple Road, Old Manali, Manali
Image courtesy: lazydogmanali/Instagram
Housed inside a gorgeous cottage, Cafe Bella Vista will charm you with its scenic beauty and impeccable food. Perfect for family and group lunches, the café is surrounded by lush lawns. Try their homemade cheesecakes. The pinewood-adorned Himalayan architecture and the rich flora may even compel you to book a luxurious stay in one of their cottages.
Where: Log Huts Area Road, Old Manali, Manali
This café is famous for its lovely sundeck which offers unparalleled views of the Himalayas. Nestled in the old-world alleys of Old Manali, the pet-friendly cafe will delight you with its simple and sumptuous offerings like the good old Rajma Chawa and Mutton Rice. The Himachali Mutton Curry is a bestseller. So is the Kheema Pav. Drifter’s Café is one of the best cafes in Manali to enjoy authentic Himachali meals. They also dish out delicious pasta and pizzas.
Where: Manu Temple Road, Old Manali, Manali
Image courtesy: driftersinncafemanali/Instagram
Another favourite in Old Manali, Sunshine Cafe is known for its authentic Israeli cuisine. The rustic cafe is embellished with black and white paintings hanging against green-bricked walls. The warm and welcoming interiors set the mood just right. Popular dishes include Thin Crust Pizza, Salad, and Hot Chocolate. The brownies and burgers are yum too. Don’t miss their Mexican Burger. They deserve extra marks for their friendly staff and quick service.
Where: Old Manali, Manali
Image courtesy: soumyagopi/Instagram
If you can’t imagine your holidays without your fair share of caffeine, a visit to Dylan’s should be top on your itinerary. Known for its superlative coffee, this gorgeous old-school café is popular among backpackers and locals alike. Go there for their divine honey banana pancakes and crispy chocolate chip cookies. Coffee lovers must order Mocha Latte and Cappuccino. Being a café that’s dedicated to the legendary Bob Dylan, expect only good music and good vibes. And the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, of course.
Where: 753H+39V, Old Manali, Manali
Image courtesy: dylanscoffeehouse/Instagram
Housed inside Born Free Hostel, this cafe is a delight for backpackers and digital nomads. At any given time of the day, you would come across youngsters who have been staying here for a workcation for months. On offer here is authentic American, Italian, Israeli, and Himachali cuisine. The cafe makes for a great co-working space too. The walls feature impressive graffiti. They also host live music nights.
Where: Manu Temple Road, VPO, Old Manali, Manali
Image courtesy: hostelsofindia/Instagram
Extremely popular among bikers, Rasta Cafe in Vashist is adorned with colourful artwork done by travellers from all parts of the world. The alfresco cafe offers healthy fare, with their nine-course meal being the show-stealer. They follow the farm-to-table concept. The cafe offers incredible views of Rohtang and continues to be one of the most flocked cafes in Manali. Must-try dishes include their wood-fired pizza and momos. The cafe is located inside a small and cosy guesthouse which offers four rooms.
Where: Near Vashist Temple, Manali, Kullu District, Vashist
Image courtesy: rasta_cafe_manali/Instagram
A part of Farm Hostel and Camps, Cafe Meraki makes for a relaxing place to unwind over a cup of coffee after an adventurous day. They serve decent Chinese and German fare. They have live music performances every night, and it is also one of the cafes that stay open till late at night. The staff is extremely polite and welcoming. Don’t miss their delicious momos. Their coffee is perhaps the best in Manali. The WiFi speed is so good that you may want to check those work mails you’ve been ignoring for a while. Or even better, how about booking a workation at their hostel?
Where: Farm Hostel & Camps, Shnag Road, Beside Clubhouse, Old Manali, Manali
Image courtesy: cafemerakimanali/Instagram
This family-run eatery is nestled amidst lush lawns and a well-manicured vegetable garden. They serve fine European and North Indian cuisine. Chef Anubhav helms the kitchen. They are particularly famous for their trout. Bestsellers include the slow-cooked Rara Mutton, Chef’s Special Eggs Benedict, and Chicken Wrap in Bacon. They also serve delicious burgers, fresh fruit juices, shakes, and coffee.
Where: Shuru, Naggar Road, Village Prini, Manali
Image courtesy: fatplatecafe/Instagram