Best Cafes to Chill in MANALI

a comprehensive guide

Overview

Situated in Himachal Pradesh in the North of Kullu Valley is the Old Manali village. This beautiful mysterious valley is famously known for its ancient temple specifically dedicated to Sage Manu. This valley can also be referred to as the ‘valley of Gods’. ‘Manali’ as famously known by many travellers and tourists has a deep and fascinating history, that is not known to many. The beautiful name Manali came from the lawgiver Manu. ‘Manu-Alaya’, also known as ‘The Abode of Manu’. 

Old Manali not only has a historic and religious significance, but also a political significance that helped boom the tourist industry. While Kashmir was facing the rising disturbance in late 1980, Manali was benefiting from it by the massive hike in tourism. ‘Apples from Manali’ were a treat back in the day, along with plum and pears. To increase the standard of living and the economy of Manali, Rainbow and Brown Trout fishes were placed in the rivers by the Britishers. 

While you treat your stomach with some delicious delicacies, how about reading our blog on some of the Finest Treks for Beginners in Himachal. As it might come in handy for taking a small walk for alone time or to spend some time with family or friends.

The late 1980s saw the end of the quiet and humble Manali and the beginning of a series of homestays, cafes, and restaurants to support the incoming tourists. Old Manali soon became one of the hottest destinations for a summer getaway, catering not only to Indian tourists but people from all over the world.

Below are mentioned some of the best cafes that are a must-visit for you when you visit Old Manali

Johnson’s Cafe

Established over a century, The Johnson’s Cafe is one of the oldest ‘hangout points’ in Old Manali. Built by Col. C.R. Johnson in the early 1900s, Johnson’s cafe still maintained the charm of being one of the finest establishments. It is also famously known for providing tourists with the first finest trout cuisine in India.

Ranging from garden views, valley views, and private balconies, Johnson’s cafe provides its customers with 13 deluxe suites. The establishment was originally built-in walnut wood and bedrock stone that provided an old rustic feel to the entire living and dining experience. Though Johnson’s Cafe is an ideal destination for large groups and families, it can also be enjoyed by young adventurous tourists. 

The majestic views of the snow-capped mountains from the Johnsons cafe that is right in the middle of Pir- range and Dhauladhar, is the perfect break you require from the city hustle-bustle. Given the impeccable location of the Johnsons cafe, one can enjoy calm walks or beautiful drives in the lush green valleys.

After spending a tiresome day of shopping and adventure, you can enjoy the wonderful seafood treats the Johnsons cafe has to offer. The Johnsons cafe is a must-visit-bucket-list destination on your next trip to Old Manali.

Lazy Dog Lounge

For those of you who would like the comfort and cosiness of the cafe but also stay close to nature – Lazy Dog Lounge is the place to be. Situated in Old Manali near the Beas river, the Lazy dog Lounge offers you the best of both worlds. Whether you are family, friends, or traveling alone, this cafe is a must-visit for all. The peace and serenity of the Lazy Dog Lounge calms your soul and lets you rest after a day of tiresome traveling.

One can also select from a wide range of delicious cuisines that the Lazy Dog Lounge has to offer. The Lazy Dog Lounge menu ranges from Italian, Thai, and cuisines from around the world. They also offer their guests a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic to match their favourite delicacies. 

Since the Lazy Dog Lounge is situated beside the Beas river, it provides the lounge with the perfect river acoustics. The calming sound of the babbling brooks makes it the perfect location for a date night with your lover. The lounge is not just a place for friends and family, but also a calming place for solo travellers.

Evenings at the Lazy Dog Lounge are quite lively and you can enjoy a variety of live music. The lounge is known for its spectacular nightlife mixed with delicious food and an endless list of cocktails and mocktails. They also offer a wide selection of confectionery items and mouth-watering desserts. 

Cafe 1947

No matter what kind of traveller or tourist you are – solo, family, or friends, Cafe 1947 is a must-visit for all. It is impossible to miss, as Cafe 1947 is situated at the beginning of Old Manali. Once you reach Manali, you either walk by the main road, take a stroll through the giant cedar tree forest, book an autorickshaw or simply hitchhike to reach Old Manali. Since this is the only cafe that is open for service throughout the year, Cafe 1947 is simply hard to miss.

The Beas river following beside the cafe provides the perfect ambiance for a relaxed vacation. Ranging from the variety of food they serve to the impeccable taste in music, there is nothing you would not like about Cafe 1947. 

The indoor and outdoor seating arrangements are made for your comfort and the menu fits right into your budget. Cafe 1947 is also famously known for its delicious wood-fired oven Pizzas and Burgers (especially the Dime bag Burger), that will not burn a hole in your pocket. 

Surrounded by the lush green cedar forest, the ambiance is simply perfect for a romantic evening with your loved ones.

Casa Bella Vista

Another hotspot especially for those who would prefer a vegetarian meal along with a scenic view, Casa Bella Vista is the place to be. The owners Girimere and his wife Marta offer their customers with mouth-watering organic delicacies. Just like the unique love story of Giri and Marta, Casa Bella Vista is truly a lover’s paradise. Ranging from delicious breakfast options to starters and salads, you can eat your heart out with their extensive menu.

While Casa Bella Vista does have a wide range of organic vegetarian options, most travelers cross rivers and valleys to taste their delicious wood fire oven pizzas. 

If you are visiting Old Manali for the time and come across Casa Bella Vista, please enter without hesitation. 

Once you have enjoyed your delicious meal at the Casa Bella Vista, you would like to find a quiet place to rest. Look no further, as the Casa Bella Vista offers its customers 2 luxurious and spacious cottages.

These cottages are ideal for family (traveling with kids) and friends who would like to live nearby Casa Bella Vista also offers a double bedroom option that provides traveling couples with all the privacy they need. 

La Plage

For those of you who would like to enjoy curated meals along with delicious desserts, with a budget, La Plage is the place to be. This wooden paradise, with wall to floor ceilings, offers the most picturesque views. Cafe La Plage is a warm and cosy cafe where you can just bundle up with a good book while the calming sounds of the rivers soothe your soul. And if that is not enough, the delicious fragrance of the Pumpkin Ravioli, Braised Mutton, and signature Chocolate Thali will get you hooked to La Plage. The stunning views of the apple orchards along with a variety of French cuisine, will leave wanting for more. 

Once you visit cafe La Plage, you will want more of it no matter how many times you visit it. 

From live music nights on the weekend to popular artists performing almost every day makes La Plage a favourite among the young travelers. 

If you wish for a fancy entry into the cafe, worry not, La Plage will especially send for you (upon advance booking) an unmissable decorated auto-rickshaw to receive you. 

Drifters’ Inn & Cafe

Though the name may confuse regular travelers and tourists, the Drifters’ Inn & Cafe, is a haven for all. This cafe provides you with a much relaxed and mellow vibe that lets you relax after a long day of travel. For those of you who enjoy a more western meal, Drifters’ Inn & Cafe is famous for its Eggs Florentine. While you indulge yourself in delicious eggs Florentine, do not forget to try other delicacies such as their maple syrup-soaked pancakes and waffles. 

Once you enjoyed your favourite delicacies and are looking for a place to relax, look no further. Drifters’ Inn & Cafe offers you safe and hygienic rooms for solo and group travelers. If you enjoy a mellow vibe and light jazz music, walk into the Drifters’ Inn & Cafe for a peaceful evening. The cafe is budget-friendly and lets you enjoy Thai Green Curry with rice or the many cocktails the bar offers.

Conclusions

Whether you are a first-time visitor or frequently visit Manali and Old Manali, you now know some of the coolest places to visit. Dare to be adventurous in the magical land and explore your soul.

A delight for foodies who are fascinated about being enclosed within places that are extremely remote or peacefully isolated. So, make sure to visit the Shades of Shangarh Village, where you get to feel the remoteness without really travelling remote.

The fresh air and food created with fresh organic materials will revitalize your mind, body, and soul. Even a few days away from the city hustle-bustle, in this magical land will soothe your senses.