Travel is not only about seeing new places and meeting new people. It’s also about trying new foods which make the best use of the region’s produce and suit its weather conditions. Tourist places are especially efficient at offering a traveler who wishes to economize absolutely scrumptious meals on shoestring budgets.
Nainital offers a delectable mix of Kumaoni and Tibetan cuisines which tickle your palate and introduce you to an entirely new way of approaching breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let’s look at some of the best street food places in Nainital and the foods that they are famous for.
Best Street Foods in Nainital & Where To Get Them
1. Pastries at Sakley’s
Located just off the Mall Road, Sakley’s is the place to get Asian cuisine, with Chinese fare like honey chicken and standard Thai curries. Amazingly, these delicacies at Sakley’s are surpassed by the pastries they have on offer. If you can’t go there for a sit-down meal, do ask them to pack up some chocolate truffle and lava cake and carry them away to enjoy later.
2. Tea and snacks at The Boat House Club
If you happen to be a movie buff, you may experience a sense of déjà vu here as this club has been the venue of many Bollywood romance scenes, and for very good reason. The view of the lakes and mountains here is simply breathtaking and well worth every penny they make you pay as entrance fee. The ambience spells luxury and the high tea you get is also worthy of mention, as they serve you some of the best cakes you have ever eaten, with hot tea.
3. Momos at Sonam Fast Food
Quite close to the temple of Naina Devi, hidden in the narrow lanes of Bhutia (Tibetan) Market, you will find Sonam Fast Food. Their momos and thukpa, both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties, are justly famed. Do find the time to have at least one meal here, and make sure you are not ravenously hungry because the crowds here might make it necessary for you to wait your turn.
4. Pizza at Embassy Restaurant
An eating place with a variety of highly authentic Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes, including pizzas, the Embassy Restaurant is the haunt of locals and tourists alike. The prices here are extremely reasonable. Moreover, the clean interiors and attractive decor are nicely complemented by prompt and friendly service, making the restaurant a favoured place and first choice for the discerning.
5. Coffee at Cafe du Mall
Amazing food, amazing prices and amazing coffee – these are a few of the recommendations one would have for Café du Mall, a neat food joint which overlooks the Naini Lake. Cuisines here can be Italian, French, Chinese and Indian and you can opt for vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes, whether poultry or seafood. The gorgeous view might pale in comparison to the quality of coffee here, for coffee lovers.
6. Bal Mithai at Mamu’s Naini Sweets
Head to Naini Sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth as never before with this popular Kumaoni sweet called Bal Mithai. Coated with sugar balls which look like small pearls, this dark brown sweet is surely not something to be missed. Its milky sweet taste which beats a milk chocolate any day and don’t be surprised if it is the best memory you have of the whole trip, at least in the gastronomic department.
7. Laccha Parathas at Chandni Chowk
Yes, you heard that right. The name of this street food place is really Nainital. This corner of Nainital clones a part of Delhi and offers the typical laccha parathas and garam jalebis of Delhi with the fiery foods which are a specialty of Kumaon and the chilly nights of Nainital. Do ask for the special milk flavored with dry fruit and saffron.
8. Punjabi food at Sher-e-Punjab
Punjabi food is all about amazing flavours and fiery taste. Enjoy the succulent chicken, flavoursome paneer and buttery dals with a range of breads, like rotis, naans and parathas, which make some people feel like they never want to stop eating. The Sher-e-Punjab is a great food place where you get excellent food and amazing hospitality all combined.
9. Fried Prawns at Machan
This amazing food place is very much like a noodle bar, and if you are not someone dedicated to Indian cuisine, you should stay with their Chinese items of which the fried prawns win hands down any day. There’s nothing like hot soup to warm you up on a cold, starry night at Nainital and if you are at Machan on such a night, your day is definitely made.
10. Bun Tikki at Lakshmi Restaurant
Move over, McDonalds. We have an Indian version of the burger at the Lakshmi Restaurant in Mallital which uses an Indian style aloo tikki (potato patty) stuffed in a bun to create Bun Tikki. The rich taste of the bun is a hot favourite with the locals and tourists alike, along with the spicy tea and samosas (stuffed and deep fried) offered here.
Nainital has many places where you can get Tibetan and Kumaoni food, not only on the Mall Road but also the Tibetan Market area. Keep experimenting and try different items at a different place, while you are here. If you want the names of some of the local delicacies, try these: ras, baddi, aloo ke gutke and bhatt ki churkani. Let’s hope you get an opportunity to savour them all.