Two weeks ago, I decided to travel to a new destination and explore my own diverse nation a bit more. India has a lot to offer in terms of cultural diversity and epic destinations. I had limited time and budget and was looking for a quaint getaway – Pondicherry was the answer. Why Pondicherry ? Well, I am somewhat a beach fanatic – so as long as I am close to the sea and can enjoy peaceful evenings , fresh sea breeze and watch the waves, I am quite content. Plus, of course, to explore the French colonial town and tantalize my taste buds with scrumptious French cuisine – I was not disappointed.
Pondicherry’s White Town is a great place for long strolls, random photo sessions, cute & colorful buildings and top notch cafes and restaurants catering to French and Indian cuisine, majorly. When my friend and I explored White Town for the first time, we knew right away that we would end up spending all our time (next 3 days) and all our money (around $150) on binge eating in White Town – and we were damn right.
Here’s my take on the best cafes and restaurants from my vast (3 day) experience prowling in and around White Town in search of great food –
1. Opus 8 – The fact that it took us 1 hour to find this cafe has nothing to do with my greater appreciation of this place. Apparently the address given for the cafe on Google maps is incorrect so you just need to call them up and somehow find your way through numerous parallel (and weirdly lookalike) streets in Pondicherry. Somehow my navigation skills took a turn for the better (Which NEVER happened before) in Pondi and we were lucky that I somehow grew an inbuilt GPS to find my way to food (Human nature?). So with my impeccable and advanced GPS , we reached Opus 8 after 1 hour (actual distance from hotel was 10 minutes) and we were in for a surprise. It was the BEST ambiance I had ever seen – like ever – seriously. You will fall in love with this place as soon as you enter and you will never wanna go back. No kidding! It looks like a quaint french house from inside – so cozy and comfortable. Lovely books adorn the shelves, smiling french staff, comfy couches, great group of people to hang with AND amazing home cooked meals served with lip smacking desserts.
We were in heaven !
After eating to our hearts desire (their awesome warm goat cheese salad with bacon), we lounged for a while before heading back home but not before we promised ourselves to come back – We went there 4 times since our first visit (That’s 4 times in a span of 2 days) – Now you know how much we loved this place.
Oh and did I mention they have a kick ass lounge rooftop bar that opens every alternate day (after 630 pm) with 1+1 mojitos on Wednesdays? Yumm!!! The decor , music , cocktails and the ever smiling staff make the lounge one of the BEST places to drink & meet people in Pondicherry.
Big thumbs up for Opus 8 – They made it to top of our list.
2. Cafe des Arts – It was love at first sight as soon as I stepping into Cafe des Arts, nestled in the heart of White Town. They offer a cute seating arrangement both indoors and outdoors. Cafe boasts of great decor with a trodden rickshaw and a lovely lotus pond in the garden. Colonial french architecture and amazing French cuisine makes it one of the best (and most popular) places to eat out in Pondicherry.
I fell in love with their salty crepes and full English breakfast. With a lot more on the menu to explore and so little time , its on my list if I ever make it to this lovely town again.
3. Satsanga – This amazing (but very simple) outdoor dining French cuisine restaurant was budget friendly with great food and cheap beer. Simple plastic chairs and not much in terms of ambiance or decor to offer – apart from a tastefully done wall, I was a bit skeptical at first. As soon as I tasted the food , it was a different story altogether. We dined there twice and ordered Indian and Chinese (we were having French food all day so we wanted a change) – both were excellent choices.
4. Baker’s Street – Big whoot whoot for Baker’s street. It puts a small dent in your wallet but hey – it is totally worth every penny. The food is filling and their palate is mouth watering. We got ahead of ourselves and over – ordered – which meant we had to sit there for 2 hours to eat/ digest our food – but we didn’t mind one bit. Try the beef burger , strawberry tart and the Caesar salad – you will be thanking me for this recommendation.
5. L’e Space – This rooftop cafe is almost always full and it’s pretty clear why. Their cocktails are knock outs – we had two and we were flying to Disneyland in our dreams. The food is amazing and you can eat to your heart’s fill in under $5 – Yup, that’s right! Plus the decor – rusty , artistic and inviting. Great for an evening out for dinner with friends.
6. Rendezvous Rooftop Restaurant – This one is not for the penny pinchers, but if you are looking for a romantic dinner date (or in our case – great food with classy decor), then do check it out. Perched on a high roof, it gives you a nice city view. Blue neon lights and white minimalist furnishing make for sassy interiors. Food was great too – we tried their chicken sizzler which was sizzling to say the least.
Apart from these, other cafes/ pubs worth a visit are – The Road, LB2, Seagulls, DisDis & Co & Asian House.
Pondicherry is a haven for food lovers. So, if you are a foodie, you know where to go next, right?
Have you been to Pondicherry ? Do share your favorite food joints in comments so I can jot them down for a future visit.