Penang Restaurant is a personal favorite of mine here in Darjeeling. Tucked away along a staircase near Big Bazaar, this charming place has it all – Tibetan momo’s and thukpa, Chinese chowmein and fried rice, and the divine Nepali thali set. Many come forthe restaurant’s delicious Chinese cuisine, but their Nepali thali sets are to die for. The menu is on the pricier side, but it is well worth it on any trip to Darjeeling. Also, you are paying for the experience. The place has an upscale vibe, with a comfortable, and even somewhat romantic, ambience. The cushioned seats, wood-paneled walls, and great service make you feel comfortable and welcome. The place can be difficult to find, but ask any local and they’ll give you directions. I say with sincerity that Penang Restaurant serves up the best thali in Darjeeling. Come check it out!
Just up the stairs from Penang Restaurant lies this little hidden gem. Kathmandu Kitchen serves authentic Nepali food, including Newari dishes like bara (delicious lentil pancake) and chhoila (spiced meats). Newars are the ethnic group native to the Kathmandu Valley and are esteemed for their unique and flavorful cuisine. Like Penang Restaurant, the highlight of Kathmandu Kitchen is their thali set, served with several pickles, achhars, and a spoonful of rich ghee on top of the rice. You’ll probably ask for seconds and thirds (complimentary) after scarfing down the first serving. The servers are exceptionally friendly and make you feel welcome. After coming to Kathmandu Kitchen every few days for a month, I have yet to see another foreigner eating there. You won’t find it on google and you might have to ask a few locals to nail down the location. Don’t let that deter you, though. The place is hygienic and more importantly, it’s appetizing!
Look up “Best Restaurants in Darjeeling” and Kunga Restaurant is consistently on the list – justifiably so. Kunga Restaurant is owned by a local Tibetan family and specializes in Tibetan food. Choose anything from the extensive menu and you will be pleasantly satisfied. Try the momo’s, thukpa, thenthuk, and much more, each with a half dozen varieties. The portion sizes are huge and the prices are comparatively cheap. The only bad thing there is to say about Kunga is that the restaurant only seats about 20 people, though that is not necessarily a bad thing. You can also see the chefs cooking in the kitchen. The small seating area and open kitchen give the place a casual, laidback vibe. During the meal hours, the small restaurant is always packed, so try and get there early. It is not only popular among tourists, but also locals – a sign of authentic cuisine.Kunga Restaurantis conveniently located at the bottom of Nehru Road by the taxi stand. It should be at the top of your list for your visit to Darjeeling.
Glenary’s Restaurant, Bakery, and Pub
Glenary’s is the emblematic Darjeeling eatery – a must-visit, 3-in-1 stop. The three-storey colonial era building has a sports pub downstairs, a bright, charming bakery on the first floor, and an upscale restaurant with nightly live music on the second floor. The modern bar is a perfect place to watch a cricket or football match while sippinga cold beer. The middle floor is the café/bakery. The wide selection of sweet treats and savory baked goods will make your mouth water. Order anything from pizza to pies to pastries. Wash it down with a pot of Darjeeling’s famous tea, while enjoying views of Kanchenjunga from the balcony. The upstairs level is a snazzy dinner spot with great acoustic music each night to enjoy with your gourmet meal. Glenary’s is located on the busy Nehru Road, a minute’s walk from Chowrasta. Don’t let yourself leave Darjeeling without making it to this famous heritage spot!
Tom & Jerry’s Cafe
Tom & Jerry’s has the best breakfast in town. If you want a proper English breakfast (i.e. eggs, sausage, baked beans, etc.), this little café is the go-to. Seating less than 15 people, this quaint spot has a warm ambience, and a nostalgic feel – mostly due to the Tom & Jerry cartoon characters painted on the walls. The menu is by no means lengthy, but the owner (and sole employee) has mastered what is there. The pancakes, drizzled in chocolate and banana slices are a hit, as is just about every other combo. The place is not known for the lunch or dinner, though you will be pleasantly surprised if you order a sandwich, burger, thukpa, or just about anything else there is. Portion sizes are big and the dishes are very reasonably priced.The owner is super nice and if you come once, there is a good chance you will be back again.