From quaint spaces within restored heritage buildings to bustling contemporary creative centres, India is home to several art galleries that double up as cafes. And whether you are drawn to antiques or prefer modern art paintings, you’re bound to enjoy the experience of dining at these one-of-a-kind spaces. We round up a list of must-visit art cafes in the country. By Eshita Srinivas
Acting as spaces for quiet contemplation and creative stimulation, art cafes in India offer delicious food with a side of unique sculptures and modern art paintings. They also serve as a place for budding artists to present their work to a larger group of people, outside of the confines of dedicated white-wall galleries and limited audiences. Get a taste of something wildly different from your neighbourhood coffee shop and head to one of these spots across India.
These art cafes in India are all about the good food and stunning artwork
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A charming, welcoming cafe that serves up delicious Ladakhi food and showcases beautiful artwork, Lala’s Art Cafe has had quite a history. Once a monastery on the verge of demolition, the space was restored and turned into a gallery cafe. Featured here are international as well as Ladakhi artists and photographers. Right outside the establishment, you’ll find a nine-foot-tall granite statue of Maitreya (Buddha). The menu offers freshly-squeezed juices, burgers, coffee, butter chai, quiches, pastas, Tsampa with cheese and butter, and a lot more.
Address: Main Bazaar Rd, Old Town, Leh
Contact: +91 95966 60593
Image: Lala’s Art Cafe, Leh
Committed to serving up good quality art and food, DYU art cafe is a weekend go-to for many locals. The space is vibrant without being loud and relaxing without being a snooze fest. Highly recommended options off of the menu are French croquettes, tuna melt sandwiches, chicken florentine, cold mocha, chicken salad sandwich, and vegetable stroganoff. On the walls, you’ll find art by some talented Indian artists like Ram Achal and Roshani Ingole. The space also hosts art workshops and exhibitions quite regularly.
Address: HB MIG Colony, Koramangala 8th Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Contact: +91 98956 74244
Image: DYU Art Cafe
With artwork that’s pleasing to the eyes and food that satiates cravings, Kashi Art Cafe is a delightful spot to spend an afternoon. Established in 1997, this spot is housed within the picturesque seaside region of fort Kochi. Many artists are believed to frequent this space, allowing visitors to interact with them and not just their art displayed on the walls. Recommended off the menu are the chicken sandwich, bacon sandwich, chocolate pie, egg sandwich, and tuna sandwich. There are a host of juices, teas, coffees, and hot chocolate to choose from as well.
Address: Burger St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala
Contact: +91 48422 15769
Image: Kashi Art Cafe
Another charming restored space, a 17th-century colonial Dutch bungalow to be precise, David Hall Art Cafe, acts as a cultural centre, gallery, and cafe. The historic spot is also a meeting point for many artists and art aficionados. On the walls are modern art artists and film screenings, and exhibitions are quite a common occurrence. Regulars swear by the cosy, relaxed ambience of the cafe and performances. The menu might change depending on when you head there, but the cafe’s most recommended food off the menu is pizza. They also have a selection of juices. Provisions like plug points and spacious seating areas are also available for outdoor chilling.
Address: Napier Street, opp. Parade Ground, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 6
Contact: +91 48430 11711
Image: David Hall Art Cafe CGH Earth
This cafe calls a renovated heritage structure its home. Reportedly the city’s first art gallery, the space gets its name from the eight creeks of the neighbouring Ashtamudi lake and the eight forms of art, including murals and paintings that it showcases in its gallery. The space hosts cultural events, performances, and exhibitions and has an in-house library. On the menu are classics like chicken burger, orange juice, different kinds of pasta, French fries, and more. If you’re in the area, do check this spot out.
Address: Asramam, Kollam, Kerala
Contact: +91 474 2970256
Image: 8 Points Art Cafe
A not-for-profit initiative that runs on a sustainability model, this spot in Shillong offers over 110 flavours of teas, the most popular one being rosella tea. Also on the menu? Traditional, delicious Khasi food. A bustling space that hosts events and acts as a space for people to interact and learn from each other, the cafe features handicrafts made by local artists that can be purchased. They also have a whiteboard to doodle and space to make dolls and hand puppets. If that’s not enough, there are old-school board games here for customers to try out.
Address: Mawroh-Mawtawar Road, Umshing-Mawkynroh, Shillong, Meghalaya
Contact: +91 70851 53466
Image: You and I Arts Cafe
In the 1800s, this space was a rice warehouse (in Malayalam, Gudhaam). Today, it has a stunning gallery and a cafe serving delicious food. It also happens to be one of the few sustainable projects in the city that uses reclaimed materials. A lot of antiques are on display here, and the menu’s most recommended options include chicken burger, fries, and tea. It plays host to many discussions and exhibitions and has slowly emerged as the local go-to for good vibes.
Address: Gujarati St, Kuttichira, Kozhikode, Kerala
Contact: +91 15062 59535
Image: Gudhaam Art Cafe
Once you’ve walked through and admired everything on display at the New Delhi National Crafts Museum, you can pop by the new outdoor space cafe Lota. Often packed with art students and aficionados, the space offers regional, healthy fare with red rice and millet. The fish and chips, amaranth-encrusted batter-fried sole, and sweet potato fries come recommended. You might hear broadcasts by All India Radio in the background while you’re here. If you live in the capital, this one’s worth a visit.
Address: National Crafts Museum, Bhairon Marg, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Delhi
Contact: +91 78389 60787
Image: Cafe Lota
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