With entry restrictions to Himachal having been lifted, tourists from across the country have been thronging to the Queen of Hills like never before. While we can only hope that everything remains safe in the capital, here’s a ready reckoner for all foodies vacationing in Shimla.
As you begin to walk down Mall Road, you come across some longstanding eateries, such as the renowned Embassy Restaurant—which has been running successfully from the same very spot ever since the 1940s. A softy cone (in chocolate, vanilla or strawberry flavour), a cup of hot/cold coffee or a milkshake from this iconic eatery is a must, no matter how old or young you are!
Close by is the four-star Hotel Willow Banks, another landmark, which was established in 1871. The hotel is home to some relatively recent eateries, such as Café Simla Times (which you simply can’t miss, because of the bright yellow car standing at its entrance), the multi-cuisine Eighteen71 Cookhouse and Bar (which offers everything from Bengali to Parsi, Chettinad and Rajasthani dishes) as well as Skybar, Shimla’s only rooftop bar and hookah lounge.
Another popular eatery you simply should not miss while on Mall Road is Hotel Combermere, located in the heart of Shimla, right by the lift exit. Always buzzing with activity and some great music, the must-try bites on its menu vary from Continental to Thai, Chinese and Indian.
Further down Mall Road, one comes across an elegant-looking building bearing the name of Café Argyle House. A great hangout for youngsters, its versatile fast-food menu and chill ambiance are what set it apart. In a similar vein is the Wake & Bake Café, located further down in Middle Bazaar, which presents one of the finest breakfast menus this side of town. Not far from it is the legendary India Coffee House, a favourite of old-timers, which according to recent reports, is said to be on the brink of closure.
Another recently opened café that is worth a visit is Wood Street Café, named aptly as it stands proudly on Shimla’s Lakkar Bazaar. Opened in 2019 by the family that runs the Embassy Restaurant, this youthful little café stands out due to its fun décor and exciting menu—pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, burgers, pancakes, apart from some exotic Middle Eastern and Oriental cuisine.
If a jolly good ol’ Indian meal is what you’re looking for, then head straight to the well-known Sita Ram and Sons in Lakkar Bazaar, which offers a lip-smacking meal of Chole Bhature and Aloo Tikki every day. Then there is the Goofa Ashiana Restaurant, located on the Ridge, which belongs to the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
And what hill station is truly complete without a bakery? Shimla’s Mall Road boasts of several! Just Baked by Tripti is a name that many locals swear by, known as it is for its many varieties of breads, biscuits and cakes. Trishool Bakers (operating since 1959) and Krishna Traders, located adjacent to each other, are great if pastries, cream rolls or patties are what you’re craving.
All in all, Shimla’s Mall Road caters something to suit every palette—so, make the most of it while you’re here…and enjoy everything that it has to offer!