- Friday, 18 July 2014

4 Cool Cafés in Varanasi

Even if you don’t have a single religious bone in your body, Varanasi (or Benaras as some still lovingly call it) calls for a visit. A visit to see and experience the rich character that exuberates from every inch and corner of this beautiful and one of the world’s oldest cities. But this blog is not getting into details of it, because I don’t think it can be explained in words.

Here I am just going to list out a few really cool cafés/restaurants that I have been to at Assi (my favourite ghat for unknown reasons) or around it in narrow alleys. All must visit for those traveling to Varanasi.

a) I:ba – This Japanese & Thai resto is situated near Assi, or straight 5 minute walk from Shivala ghat. Place is big and done up well with lot of recycled material and ooden logs. But, most importantly their food is really tasty. They do offer a small selection of Indian and Italian fare, but its best to stick to Japanese and Thai which is best here. The staff is laid back and so is service in afternoons when there isn’t much crowd, and I somewhat like that in certain ways. I don’t really see a point in hurrying all the time and specially with food.

b) Vaatika Café / Pizzeria- Overlooking Assi ghat is this awesome cafe serving one of the best wood fire pizzas (and yes thin crust !), really great coffee and one hell of an apple pie made fresh every single day. I have gone back to this café again and again, if for nothing else, then just to have the chance to sit in this terrace garden of a cafe overlooking the river and serving some of the best food. This café can not be missed by anyone visting Assi.

c) Aum Café – This is an organic cafe serving only food made from ingredients from their own organic kitchen garden. Located in one of the alleys around Assi, it will not be very difficult to locate. From pancakes to falafels, they have pretty good menu. The place is very simple in decor and breakfast time is pretty much packed with travellers from around the world. The seating is distributed in various rooms over couple of floors. While the ingredients and food is really fresh and made from scratch, this place might not appeal to those who need their food to be rated higher on taste factor than health factor. They do not use any pre packaged sauces or additives, therefore their food is a bit easy on palate. But yes, a must try for fresh and very healthy food.

d) Open Hand Café- Located just out of Assi ghat in a small bylane is this café located in an old residential building. Narrow stairways take you one or two floors with rooms on each floor displaying various handicraft products on sale or exhibition. They work with local artisans and artists and sell various knick knacks, textile products, bags, candles etc made by them. The top floor also doubles up as a café with a seating out in a narrow balcony or inside on more cozy couches. As always, for love of my open skies, I settled in the balcony and ordered my coffee on a winter morning.  Menu offers a wide enough range and coffee was great. The Napalese staff was friendly and happy. What else can one ask for ?


  1. i visit Varanasi but don't know about this Places. but next time i will visit in this places. and also it's a helpful blog for other visitors.

  2. Thanks for the information.I would surely visit them on my visit to Varanasi.

  3. Your version of Vatika cafe's wood fire thin crust pizza sounds particularly appealing. I will have to try it this Sunday.