Udaipur offers a vast variety of restaurants just like any commercialized tourist-friendly city is expected to. Since real estate is hard to come by in the old city, rooftop restaurants are the norm. These are usually atop hotels providing accommodation as well. The hotels that are by the ghats offer nice lake views from their rooftop restaurants and therefore, charge more. These restaurants are relatively better furnished (matching chairs and tables) and have a good ambiance. The others offer city views and are usually just a bunch of tables and chairs thrown around the terrace of the hotel. Since we were there during the wedding season we were regaled with views of fancy firecrackers every where we looked, no matter which rooftop we were on. However, none of the older buildings have a lift so at most places we had to climb 4 to 5 floors to get to the rooftop; a great way to build appetite.
The food here caters more to the non-Indian tastes so one has to specifically ask for the food to be made spicy or masaledar, which is a pain. But because the industry is very foreigner-focused we also found a variety of food available like baked goods, pasta, crepes, etc. The only annoying thing is that almost all restaurants offer continental, south indian, mughlai, punjabi food; there’s no specialization whatsoever. So the overall quality of food has been just about average; nothing spectacular.
The other unique feature of restaurants in Udaipur is that most of them have a screening of the Bond movie Octopussy every night. Since the movie was filmed extensively in and around the Lake Palace, it seems to have a special place in the hearts of all Udaipuris.
Cafe Namaste French BakeryAddress: 339, Ashoka Haveli, Gangaur Ghat Marg, Udaipur Phone: 91 294-2522303 / 2523427
We came here for evening tea and later for breakfast. Both times the tea and food were excellent. It’s located quite centrally on the road leading to Gangaur Ghat and is easy to spot. It’s a shaded place in the front porch of Hotel Gangaur Palace and has just about 4 or 5 tables. They have a shiny, new coffee machine sitting proudly on a table in the front, which is probably to advertise that they have good coffee as well.
It’s supposedly a French bakery so they have some cakes, muffins and croissants on offer too. We tried their pancakes and grilled sandwiches and these were quite yummy! They were priced relatively well too.
The only problem with the cafe is that it is by the main road, which has a shallow, narrow gutter running on either side. Sometimes when the direction of the wind changes, it brings a horrid smell in to the cafe, which is very unappetizing. They have to get this problem fixed somehow.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Cafe Coffee.com German Bakery
This was recommended by Madhu’s friend Soumya so we dropped in 2 or 3 times for evening tea as well as breakfast. It looks like a small store from the outside so it’s very hard to spot. They sell baked goods over the counter and behind the counter there are about 4 small, mismatched tables for seating. Apart from food, the place also seemed to sell everything a traveler would need – from soaps to moisturizers to toothpastes; all in a very cramped space.
The family that owns and runs the place, lives on the floor above the store and coffee shop. All orders are communicated upstairs via a telephone or yelled loudly from downstairs; it was quite amusing to watch. We spoke to the owner and he mentioned that they have plans for renovation and expansion of the place. He has already invested a lot of money by buying a commercial grade oven, a fancy coffee machine and hiring a retired cook (baking expert) from a 5-star hotel.
We tried some banana bread, pancakes and Danish pastries here and these were very well made. Tea was very good too. However, the place is slightly more expensive than other breakfast places in the area. This doesn’t seem right especially since it’s quite run-down and doesn’t provide the amenities (comfortable sitting, good cutlery, etc.) that would warrant the higher price. Its ambiance targets the backpacker crowd but prices don’t.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Cafe EdelweissAddress: Gangaur Ghat Rd, Udaipur, Rajasthan
This is another coffee shop that boasts of being a German bakery. But of the 3 coffee shops we visited in the area, this one is the nicest in terms of seating and decor. It looks relatively new with fresh paint and updated furniture. It’s located very close to Gangaur Ghat and is on a lane behind Cafe Namaste. We had tea along with omelets and a mushroom quiche, all of which were quite good. They had a variety of cakes and pastries on offer too. It seemed like a very popular place as it was packed with foreign tourists every time we peeked in while passing by. Unfortunately, we ate here only once.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Jaiwana Haveli Rooftop restaurantAddress: 14, Lalghat, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001 Phone: 91 294 2411103
We ate here the first night at Udaipur and were absolutely thrilled by the wonderful lake views offered by it. The restaurant has a shaded section ideal for sunny afternoons and a smaller open-air section for cool nights. Just like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is nicely furnished and has a good ambiance. We ordered tandoori chicken, a chicken curry and rotis, which were good but not special. The food was a tad bit expensive but worth the views and ambiance compared to the other rooftop restaurants we visited later.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Gangaur Palace Rooftop restaurantAddress: 339, Ashoka Haveli, Gadiya Devera Marg Phone: 91 294-2523427, 2422303
This rooftop restaurant is one of those where they brought all their extra chairs and tables and arranged it on the terrace. When we went there, only a couple of other tables were occupied. Fortunately, even though the ambiance suggested otherwise, food was quite good and service was quick too. Since the rooftop didn’t offer any fancy views, prices were reasonable. By the time we walked up for dinner, the movie Octopussy, which had started at 7pm was just finishing its first run.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Cool restaurantAddress: Opp Hotel Gangaur Palace, Gangaur Ghat marg, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The name doesn’t sound inviting at all but this restaurant on the first floor of a short building across from Cafe Namaste is actually quite cool. It was the only restaurant we visited that played loud, good music and had nicely done interiors, with a very cozy ambiance. The walls were painted in the Warli style of painting, which is traditionally done with ground paste of rice on a brick-red background. There are just about 4 tables and cushioned seating on the floor with a carom-board in the center. It wasn’t a rooftop place so prices were nominal and food was quite good. Their Chicken Sweet Corn soup, which I had both times we were there, was the best I’ve had in a long time. One unique feature about the restaurant is a bell that has been placed at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the restaurant. A sign next to the bell reads ‘Ring the bell if you enjoyed your meal at Cool restaurant’. Madhu rang the bell both times we left the restaurant.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Savage GardenAddress: 22, Inside Chandpol, Udaipur, Rajasthan Phone: 91 294 2425440
Savage Garden was listed in LP as the best place for Mediterranean food and was recommended by Madhu’s friend, Soumya, as well. It was about 10 minutes walk away from the Lal Ghat, Gangaur Ghat area of the old city and is hidden in a narrow alley, but the path was marked with well-placed signs by the restaurant, so it’s not difficult to find. The restaurant is smartly set in the courtyard of the house where the walls have been painted a deep blue. Large plants have been planted around the edge of the courtyard giving the place a beautiful Zen-like feel. We later noticed that there were more tables set on the terrace of the house as well. The menu was brief with mainly continental dishes including pasta. I ordered Fettuccine with Pesto sauce while Madhu ordered a spinach and paneer stuffed Ravioli. Both came slightly under-seasoned so I had to add salt and pepper to my dish to make it palatable but they were well-made. The food was priced higher than other restaurants in the area but that’s mainly for the lovely setting of the restaurant and the food that requires locally unavailable ingredients.
Rating: 7 out of 10