5 Best Restaurants in Varanasi, Side Trips from Delhi

I:ba Café

$$ | Shivala Fodor's choice

At this unexpected oasis away from the chaos of the ghats, you can find good Japanese food and great cold coffee, perfect after a hot walk. Dark wood accents, warm yellow lights, and pleasing jazz music set a stylish scene—cane "tikki roofs," cozy floor couches, dangling bells, dry corn husks. A Japanese and Indian husband-wife team run the operation, serving varied cuisines from around the world.

B3/335B, Varanasi, 221001, India
542-227–7523
Known For
  • Chicken gyoza
  • Authentic ramen dishes
  • Thai, Korean, and Japanese food

1951

$$$$

Situated in the plush Clarks Hotel, this upmarket restaurant that's decorated in tones of white and dark wood is best for its Indian food, though there are plenty of fusion and multicuisine choices on the menu. The chef cooks up innovative items in the lively kitchen, with vegetarian and meat-based dishes available.

The Mall, Varanasi, 221002, India
542-250–1011
Known For
  • Elegant ambience
  • Indian-international fusion fare
  • Locally inspired Banarasi thalis
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Bread of Life Bakery

$$

Handily located behind the Shivala Ghat, this is an impressive haven for homesick Western palates and a great place for breakfast after a morning boat ride. All profits of the café and the art gallery upstairs go to charities, or are used for the employees' education.

B--3/322 Shivala, Varanasi, 221001, India
542-227–5012
Known For
  • Pancakes with real maple syrup
  • Rich desserts, including eclairs and cakes
  • Savory international lunch items
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Recommended Fodor's Video

Canton Royale

$$$

Behind the colonial facade of the Surya Hotel, the Canton Royal is a simple but elegant restaurant, with vaulted ceilings, statues, and framed pictures of Benarasi royalty. The menu is eclectic, spanning European, Mediterranean, Mexican, and Chinese, but the Indian is the best. You can dine inside or in the lovely gardens.

Haifa

$$

Situated at the lobby level of Hotel Haifa, this restaurant's specialty is Middle Eastern food. It's basically a long room with nondescript tables and lots of tourists flowing in and out—and no wonder, because it's incredibly cheap and the only place in town to sample freshly made Middle Eastern treats.

B--1/107 Assi Ghat, Varanasi, 221005, India
542-231–2960
Known For
  • Middle Eastern "thalis" (meze)
  • Chinese food
  • Reasonable prices
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted