Best Pushkar Food Guide: Cafes, Restaurants & Street Food

Best food Pushkar

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Something amazing happened to me in Pushkar: my stomach started to heal. After a month of being unwell, I was finally able to enjoy Indian food again and, better yet, make the most of the many cafes and restaurants in Pushkar.

Foodies will be in heaven in Pushkar because there are quality sit-down restaurants, cute cafes and street food. The latter will be handy if you’re travelling India on a low budget. I even managed to take a food tour which was a great way of sampling the Pushkar street food with a guide who knew which stands were legit.

PUSHKAR ESSENTIALS

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Restaurants and cafes in Pushkar

In this Pushkar food guide, I’ll start with some of the popular Pushkar restaurants and then move on to the Indian street foods you should try. Let’s start with the best healthy breakfast in Pushkar…

Fancy exploring the food scene with a local guide? Try a Pushkar food tour for $11

Dreaming of India but not ready to take the plunge? Come with me on my February 2023 small group tour inc Holi festival! See the itinerary, FAQs and booking details here.

Sonu Juice

Fruit salad Sonu Juice cafe Pushkar

Often in India I found it challenging to find healthy meals in cafes, especially for breakfast. The locals prefer fried foods in the morning whilst us Westerners often want something lighter to start the day. This wasn’t a problem thanks to Pushkar cafe, Sonu Juice.

There are actually a load of these stalls around and I’m not sure which is the original but I ate at the one linked. The healthy muesli was my go-to, packed with kiwi, grapes, pomegranate, orange, mango, papaya and coconut. The dream!

Laughing Buddha Cafe

Veggie burger at Laughing Buddha cafe Pushkar
The cutest cafe in Pushkar

The Laughing Buddha is famous in Pushkar, just as the Little Buddha is the most famous cafe in Rishikesh.

These hippie cafes have a lot in common: veggie menus, colourful wall hangings and blissful views. Laughing Buddha is up a flight of stairs with a pretty balcony looking out over Pushkar.

They serve healthy salads and homemade bread but I took the least healthy option with a veggie burger and fries!

Coffee Temple, U Turn Hotel

Coffee at U Turn Hotel Pushkar cafe

I don’t know what’s better, the coffee here or the amazing lakeside views. I discovered this Pushkar cafe by accident because a woman I shared a tuk-tuk with when getting off the night bus from Rishikesh got dropped off here.

U-Turn Hotel has a vintage clothes shop in the lobby and one of the nicest restaurants in Pushkar on the roof. The next day I googled ‘best coffee in Pushkar’ and it told me about a place called Coffee Temple which I didn’t realise was the same as the rooftop restaurant.

The French press coffee was so good, as was the food. I only had a plain meal as I was prepping for my food tour but the avocado toast looked like the perfect brunch.

The other highlight was sitting on a comfy sofa that jutted out off the rooftop, looking out over the peaceful Pushkar lake. Honestly, this is the best cafe in Pushkar to just chill out.

Sixth Sense Restaurant

Curry at Sixth Sense Restaurant Pushkar

I can’t lie, I only came to Sixth Sense Restaurant to nose at the inside of Inn Seventh Heaven but I was happy to find some of the best food in Pushkar inside.

I’d heard about this pretty hotel, which actually isn’t even expensive to stay in, and I wanted to see it for myself.

Interior of Inn Seventh Heaven Pushkar restaurant

The food in this Pushkar restaurant was very tasty and only set me back 140 rupees. I was the only person in the restaurant besides the staff which was a bit odd, but I guess it’s slightly hidden away. If you need to escape the busy streets, this is the ideal refuge.

Shri Venkatesh Restaurant

Thali curry at Shri Venkatesh Restaurant Pushkar

I never tire of thali in India, especially when it varies with each portion. Usually you’ll get paneer, chickpeas, veggies, curd to cool your mouth down, and a chapati to mop it all up.

In Pushkar, I ate at Shri Venkatesh Restaurant where I paid 200 rupees for thali and a drink. It’s a modest family-run restaurant on the main street and feels a little more authentic than some of the tourist cafes.

Nirvana Cafe

Nirvana Cafe Pushkar
Nirvana Cafe Pushkar

This hippie cafe in Pushkar is similar to Laughing Buddha with its Western-style dishes and quirky, colourful interior.

As the name Nirvana might suggest, there’s something spiritual and freeing about this cafe. It’s not the fanciest Pushkar cafe but it is a cosy place to sink into a colourful beanbag, order a herbal tea and admire the colourful wall art, murals and posters.

Walking up the stairs to Nirvana Cafe will tire you out especially in the summer heat but it’s worth it for the views over Pushkar Lake. There’s no air con but luckily the breeze above the city rooftops feels refreshing enough.

Street food in Pushkar

While I enjoyed all the meals mentioned above, most are quite touristy. Pushkar is quite crowded and ‘discovered’ these days so it’s actually a little difficult to get away from the Western crowds.

The food tour offered by Moustache Hostel was really good: I paid 500 rupees and we tried 14 of the best foods in Pushkar. Whether you do an organised tour or seek these Indian street foods out for yourself, I would recommend the following…

Dahi Papdi Chaat

Dahi Papdi Chaat street food Pushkar

I really liked this dish (which is usually eaten as a snack) because it was sweet, tangy and refreshing: quite different to most of the hot, heavy food I eat in India.

Chaat is usually made with potato pieces and crispy bread, mixed with tamarind sauce and cooling yoghurt. This is a typical North Indian food so Pushkar is a good place to try it. We ate this in the little alleyway beside Riv Cafe.

Rating: 8/10.

Dahi puri

Dahi puri street food in Pushkar

Don’t leave India without trying puri which are little crispy shells served with chat and yoghurt.

We tried a few different types in Pushkar, one which was full of tamarind water and literally went allll down my chin and top. So very messy!

Rating: Pretty moreish but not so filling, 7/10.

Aloo tikki

Aloo tikki Pushkar street food

This was the best street food in Pushkar for me. Aloo means potato and tikki means cutlet, so you can probably guess that aloo tikka = potato patties. These ones were mashed up and served with chickpeas and chutney.

Rating: You could really taste the tangy chutney which made this dish so flavoursome – 10/10.

Chole and kulcha

Plates of chole and kulcha in Pushkar

I knew kulcha already because I had it in Amritsar. It’s basically an unrisen flatbread which is good but needs to be eaten with something for a bit of flavour.

Chole is similar to channa masala which is a chickpea curry and one of my favourite Indian foods. So neither of these dishes were brand new to me but they’re very tasty, filling comfort foods.

Rating: 7/10.

Kachori

Kachori Pushkar food

Kachori is a type of fried batter filled with chutney. Even though none of the local Pushkar foods we tried were probably that healthy, this one felt particularly oily. We’d had so much chutney already by this point that I was maxed out.

Rating: 5/10.

Desserts and sweets in Pushkar

In most Asian countries, I much prefer savoury food to the sweet. However much of the best food in Pushkar is served for dessert.

I was already familiar with the milky Indian sweets which are displayed in shopfronts but, in Pushkar, I got to try some new Indian desserts including…

Malpua

Malpua Pushkar street food

Oh wow, fried dough soaked in syrup. What’s not to like? This is a heart attack waiting to happen but I loved it. It reminded me a bit of jalebi but softer. Find it at a street stall near Riv Cafe.

Rating: 7/10.

Sweet lassi

Lassi drink in Pushkar

You can’t beat a lassi when you’re feeling hot in India. Mango and banana are popular variations that lots of tourists like, but I also rate the plain sweet lassis sold in Pushkar. Street stalls sell them in little clay pots which you throw away when done – a good alternative to plastic cups, I guess.

Rose lassi Pushkar street food

In Pushkar, I also tried a rose lassi, something my tour guide tried to pretend was specially organised for me because of my name. Lots of desserts are rose-flavoured in India and I like the perfumed flavour.

Rating: Maybe too sweet but 8/10 nonetheless!

Kalakand

Kalakand Indian dessert Pushkar

If you’ve eaten Indian sweets before, you’ll recognise the taste of Kalakand which is basically boiled, sweetened milk and a lot of sugar. It’s like a liquid version of the Indian sweets, flavoured with pistachio.

We ate this at the side street near Riv Cafe, a few metres from the Dahi Papdi Chaat at the start.

Rating: Tastes like milky, creamy sugar – 7/10.

Related reads: my Rishikesh cafe guide and Pondicherry cafe guide

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See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

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Pushkar food guide

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