Our incredible country offers some of the most stunning road journeys in the world through different georgraphical landscapes.
And we all know that any road journey in India is incomplete without making a pitstop at a roadside eatery!
Getting off the road and having some alu-paratha redolent with butter, or a plate of piping hot noodles, or freshly made kachori, to satiate our highway hunger pangs is a part of any road trip. India’s national highways are lined with food joints big and small. From small tapris serving hot chai and pakodas, to desi dhabas to upscale restaurants and cafes, they are a delight for the foodie.
In this two-part series, we have shortlisted some of the most scenic and popular road routes in India, and that one eatery that you must stop by when driving through these highways.
Amrik Sukhdev Da Dabha, Delhi-Shimla Highway
You haven’t arrived as a foodie if your tastebuds haven’t been introduced to Amrik Sukhdev’s parathas. This may well be the most popular highway eatery in India and continues to welcome tourists driving from the Delhi NCR region to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
Lying on NH1, Murthal is a sheer paradise for the lovers of North Indian food and the legen...wait for it...dary Amrik Sukhdev is hands down its best offering.
Open 24 x7, the popular restaurant was started in 1956 as a small dhaba that would cater to the needs of truck drivers. Over the years, it has been transformed into an upscale food joint that serves everyone. Apart from their super famous alu ka parathas served with mounds of butter, curd and a tangy pickle, you must try their dal makhni with the evergreen butter naan. They also serve South Indian fare, Continental and pretty decent Chinese food.
Cheetal Grand, Delhi-Dehradun Highway
Make a pitstop at this all-time favourite restaurant when driving towards Haridwar, Mussoorie, Lansdowne, Rishikesh or Dehradun. Located in Khatauli on the outskirts of Muzaffarnagar, the well-maintained highway joint is among the most sought-after places to eat on NH-58. Cheetal had humble beginnings when it started as a midway stopover decades ago and over the years, it has become an unmissable part of the Delhi-Dehrdun highway. The favourites on the menu here are bread omelette and pakoras. Their chicken cutlets are also a must-try. They also serve really good strawberry shake and of course, the mandatory masala chai.
Ice Cafe, Manali-Leh Highway
A road trip from Manali to Leh is possibly that one thing that you will find in every traveller’s bucket list. They say you are not a biker if you haven’t been on this challenging, yet absolutely rewarding route.
Though the Manali-Leh highway offers myriad options to stop by for a quick snack break, the Ice Cafe or the Ice Stupa Cafe is the most unique of them all. Perched at an altitude of 14,000 ft, the cafe looks straight out of a fairy tale and is the brainchild of activist and Magsaysay awardee Sonam Wangchuk. Shaped like an ice-stupa,it offers local dishes like noodles and momos along with hot chai and coffee. The aim behind this one-of-its-kind cafe was to save water during the winter season and use it for irrigation purposes in the spring season.
Indian Army Canteen at Sela Pass, Guwahati-Tawang Highway
The fantastic drive from Guwahati to Tawang may not offer many options when it comes to eateries or roadside dhabas, you must take a break at the Sela Pass for some piping hot samosas. The route to Tawang is lined with many small eateries serving momos and Maggi but if you miss these, do make sure to stop by at the Army Canteen at the Jaswant Garh war memorial which was raised to pay tribute to Jaswant Singh of the 4th Garhwal Rifles. The warm and hospitable army officials here welcome you with cups of hot tea, and samosas so tasty that they can be demolished in a single bite.
Jiva Grill, Sohra, Shillong-Cherrapunjee Highway
View this post on Instagram
Travellers visiting the spectacular high-altitude town of Cherapunjee should not miss out on this one. A part of Jiva Resort, the restaurant is famed for its grilled specialities including chicken kebabs, grilled fish and pork steaks. The popularity of the place can be estimated by the fact that it takes at least an hour’s waiting time on weekends to get a table here. Offering splendid views of the surrounding vistas, Jiva Grills also serves delectable north Indian fare. A small outdoor games park, a manicured garden and a great vantage point make the place a great option for a pit stop on your drive from Shillong to Cherrapunjee. Don’t forget to try their blueberry cheesecakes when done with the main course.
Old Rao Dhaba, Delhi-Jaipur Highway
Can you even claim to have driven on NH-8 without consuming a wholesome meal at this old favourite? Known for its home-style thalis, the Old Rao Hotel at Dharuhera has been a mandatory pit stop for travellers driving to Jaipur. High on desi ghee, the food here is something your desi palate will fall for at the first bite. From paneer dishes and chana to butter chicken and yellow dal, the food joint offers everything that makes for a quintessential dhaba meal in north India. You have to try their butter paneer masala with tandoori naan soaked in butter. Weight watchers mustn’t worry, you can always make up for those extra calories by running that extra mile on the treadmill.