Varanasi, popularly known as Banaras and Kashi in the ancient days, is a mystical, multicultural and diverse city. Contended to be the oldest living city in the world, it is also India’s holiest city and routinely attracts hundreds and thousands of pilgrims and travellers every year. Some of them never want to return.
Apart from a multitude of Indians from other parts of the country, there are also quite a few foreigners living in the holy city. So where do you find them when you start your expat life in Varanasi?
Here is a list of some of the most popular restaurants and cafés frequented by expats living in Varanasi:
1. The 3rd Floor Bar Stock Exchange (Resto-Bar/Lounge)
It is one of the very few bar/lounges in the city. This latest-in-town buzz spot is set to change the nightlife in Varanasi.
More text coming soon.
2. Flavours Café
Situated in Lanka area of Varanasi, Flavours Café is in close proximity to the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The café is situated slightly outside of the main tourist hubs, yet conveniently close to the popular Assi Ghat. Wide selection of drinks, cakes and meals served in an upmarket set-up makes it one of the top choices for local youngsters and travellers alike.
Run by a South African family of Indian origin, Flavours Café is also frequented by expats, making it one of the best hangout joints for the expat community to meet new people from all walks of life. Flavours Café is our #1 recommendation for its cozy ambiance, friendly staff and originality.
3. Pizzeria, Vaatika Café
One of the oldest sitting and most popular cafés in Varanasi is the Pizzeria, Vaatika Café. Located right at Assi Ghat, overlooking the river Ganga, this terrace café + restaurant offers an unmatched ambiance with an enthralling view of the river. It is famous for its wood-fired oven pizzas and apple pie. Besides Italian, Pizzeria, Vaatika Café also serves Indian and Chinese fare.
Due to its prime location, Pizzeria, Vaatika Café is famous among the most influential people in the city. Commonly known as ‘Pizzeria’, it attracts hundreds and thousands of patrons every year, and many among them are foreign tourists and expats. Although dining, or even just chilling, at the café can be a somewhat pesky affair during summer and rainy months due to extreme heat and infestation of flies, thus making it our #2 recommendation of expat hangout joints in Varanasi.
4. The Tripling Bistro
The Tripling Bistro (TTB) is the latest addition to Varanasi’s profile. Three young entrepreneur-friends have come up with this themed bistro. The place has warmth and coolness in its atmosphere; and it’s trendy! TTB is composed with great food, art and culture, making the ambiance remarkably great. The bistro is a cozy place to sit and relax over a drink or meal. Its main highlight is the outdoor terrace which is equipped with (apart from the obvious furniture) speed bumps, milestones, and road safety messages…all painted in Indian street colours.
Their menu boasts a diverse cuisine, namely – Indian, Mexican, Arabic, Chinese, Thai and Italian.
5. Open Hand Café
Also owned by a South African, Open Hand Café offers an upscale café + souvenir shop set-up. Slightly on the expensive side, Open Hand Café is located barely 200 metres away from Assi Ghat. Drinks, confectionary, sandwiches and Indian handicraft is what you should expect. Varanasi being their very first branch, Open Hand Café is also situated in some other Indian cities and in at least one international location.
The café is also frequented by expats and tourists. Although it attracts a niche audience and its somewhat restrictive atmosphere may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It is nonetheless recommended for expats to find a quiet corner to work in, or to meet other expats and travellers if you don’t mind getting a little out of your way to do so.
6. The Aum Café
The Aum Café is tucked away immediately behind the frontage of the Assi Ghat. Popular among tourists, The Aum Café serves a distinctive menu of food & drinks in a small yet cozy home-like set-up. Also run by a foreigner, the place is friendly and inviting.
Despite its closeness to the famous ghat, it is a bit difficult to find, and the alley it is located in is usually very dirty – even for Varanasi standards. But that shouldn’t stop you form venturing out to find it, because once you’re there, it’s a real delight.
7. Brown Bread Bakery
Text coming soon.
8. Mangi Ferra (Resto-Bar)
Text coming soon.
This list is still being curated. Check back later. Our apologies.
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