McLeodganj has few competitors when it comes to food. Of all the major (and minor) hill stations in the country, the eclectic mix of cuisines that you get in this town and its surrounding villages is peerless. Just above McLeodganj, the village of Dharamkot has the excellent Friendly Planet, the best place for authentic Israeli food and a killer lamb burger. But it also has the fantastic Family Pizzeria (01892-221361). Set in a large farm hugging a ridge, this family-owned and run restaurant produces some of the best wood-fired pizzas I’ve ever had.
“The problem with most pizzas I’ve had in India,” said Maria, a Neapolitan traveller who loved her pizza, “is that they try too hard to make thin crusts, and make a mess of them. The texture is often all wrong. These guys, on the other hand, make them like my mama does.” I understand what Maria means. The crust is stretched expertly by hand and the texture is just right. Now I don’t know all that much about pizzas, but all I can say that their three-cheese and four-cheese pizzas are to die for, and that is probably because they manufacture the cheese locally, and the garlic and onion that they use for most of their pizzas is excellent. The chicken and the tuna pizzas too make the grade.
The many lazy days I’ve spent sitting in the sunshine devouring pizzas, followed by delicious mangofee and banofee pies, washing all of it down with nice cool cider, while a few dogs loll around me, have made it one of my favourite places in the hills.