What is Indian Continental Food
Top 10 restaurants and cafés in Leh: Our top tips for everything to do with eating
Vacation also means eating and drinking well, taking your time, and enjoying a coffee and cake in between. Leh in summer has many restaurants and cafés, you meet people from all over the world and you can eat really well in many of them. We therefore strongly advise against only eating in the hotel.
Before we reveal our selection of good restaurants and cafés, a few general information in advance.
Ladakhi food in restaurants?
You can find almost everything in the restaurants in Leh: Indian, Thai, Chinese, Tibetan, Mexican, Nepalese and continental food. But if you are looking for authentic Ladakhi food, you have to look really hard. Wherever Skyu or Chhu Tagi are on the menu, things rarely come on the table that would be served in a Ladakhi household. On the one hand, this has to do with the fact that most chefs come from Nepal or other parts of India and do not even know how to cook Ladakhi. We therefore recommend simply eating in the guest house (not in the hotel - the problem there is similar to that in the restaurants) or looking around for a possibility to eat with a family at home.
Danger! What to consider at the beginning
The rule "Wash it, peel it, cook it or forget it!"is known - so (at least at the beginning) avoid unwashed, unpeeled and uncooked food. In addition, we recommend for Ladakh: Beware of dairy products, especially cheese! Due to the many power outages in Leh, there are repeated interruptions in the cold chain. Especially with yak cheese, caution is advised - because, with a few exceptions, it mostly comes from Nepal and is usually brought to Leh from there unrefrigerated. Until it gets there, it is often no longer edible. Even the popular mango lassi is not so beneficial for the European stomach, especially at the beginning of the journey. For the meat eaters: The situation is similar here - meat is hardly cooled and is therefore also a trigger for annoying diarrheal diseases. Those who are in Leh for a longer period get used to it quickly.
German Bakery is not German at all
There are tons of German Bakeries, also English and French, but what is sold there is just Nepalese. Not that the pastries, cakes and cookies are not edible there! No, they are just not what they claim to be, so don't be disappointed. (For me as an Austrian who is spoiled for desserts and baked goods, the advertised delicacies never come close to the original 😉)
1. Penguin Bar & Restaurant
Our absolute favorite for lunch and dinner. In the typical Nepali style with plastic chairs and tables and decoration that takes getting used to, but a really quiet place in the middle of the noisy city. Under the shade of apricot and apple trees you can choose between Tibetan, Indian and continental cuisine with the really nice staff. Our tip: Momos, smoothies, schnitzel (for the stomachs of children who scream for the familiar 😉)
2. Bon Appetit
The "Schicki-Micki-Restaurant" from Leh
Definitely the fanciest restaurant Leh has seen. There are chairs and tables made of wood here! And in a beautiful design. The view is excellent and it's quiet too. The restaurant is tucked away, has a beautiful terrace and a great indoor area. The food is part of Ladakh's haute cuisine, but has little to do with local Ladakhi and Indian cuisine. People like to experiment here - continental with a touch of Asia. Attention: The prices are a bit higher and the portions are also relatively small. Rather something for people who have been in Leh for a long time and want to treat themselves to something special.
Our tip: Pizza, pasta, the delicious eggplant tower, chicken in a cashew crust
Thai food in Leh
Also one of the nicer restaurants without plastic seating, mostly clean toilets. As the name suggests, there is mainly food here that you can eat with chopsticks. As a result, the Thai food is particularly recommended. We advise against the Ladakhi dishes on the menu - they don't keep what they promise.
Our tip: Thai noodle dishes, French fries (really tasty)
4. Tibetan Kitchen
Tingmo in the Tibetan Kitchen
One of the best restaurants in Leh when it comes to Tibetan cuisine. Very popular, in the evenings it is often difficult to get a table, so reservations are recommended. The style of the restaurant doesn’t match the kitchen - here too it is “Nepalese-plastic”.
Our tip: Momo, Tingmo, Thukpa - all Tibetan!
5. Neha snacks
A small restaurant located directly at the Main Bazaar for those who are looking for authentic Indian cuisine. So nothing for those who like European mildness, because chilli is part of almost all dishes.
Our tip: Thali
6. Tashi's Tea Place
Our insider tip, because in Tashi's restaurant you hardly ever get lost by accident. Unobtrusively, not even given a real name, the room only offers space for four tables (made of wood ;-)) Tashi, the Tibetan boss of the house, is extremely friendly and serves the food that her husband cooks in the room behind . The cuisine is simple, vegetarian and cheap. The selection is not large, but the food is always fresh and really tasty.
Our tip: Kawa tea and fried rice
7. Open hand
There is really delicious coffee here!
For those who are looking for real coffee. The Open Hand is quite modern and also sells fairly produced goods from Ladakh and other parts of India. It is particularly popular with younger travelers. We recommend it as a coffee house rather than a restaurant.
Our tip: coffee, breakfast
Probably the most popular restaurant in Chanspa with a rooftop terrace: a large selection of food, from Tibetan to Indian, Chinese and continental. Breakfast is particularly recommended here. The coffee also tastes good.
Our tip: breakfast
9. Yama Coffee House
A very cozy and nicely furnished little coffee house in the district of Chanspa. It's great for sipping coffee and eating cake while watching passers-by.
Our tip: coffee and cake
10. Ladakh Fine Foods
Breakfast recommendation from Ivonne Röthig
Our last tip is an insider tip from Ivonne Röthig, who lived in Leh for four years and knows it very, very well: One of the very few restaurants that also serve Ladakhi food. Also located in Chanspa, the small restaurant offers an excellent breakfast including capers (which grow in Ladakh but are rarely used by the Ladakhi) and homemade apricot jam.
Most of the restaurants mentioned here can also be found on our self-drawn map of Leh.
For more tips on restaurants and cafes, you can of course also check Tripadvisor. A little tip: Always see who the reviews are from - the preferences are often very different depending on the country of origin - a restaurant that is very popular with Indian guests does not necessarily have to meet the tastes of Westerners.
enjoy the meal!
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