25 Best Cafes In Rishikesh For Food, Ambience And Working
Updated: Sep 18
Rishikesh, the holy town located in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, doesn’t only have the highest number of yoga schools in the world, but also a myriad of cafes that by themselves are an important factor in experiencing Rishikesh in a more fulfilling way.
Whether it’s soaking in the majestic views of river Ganga with a delicious platter or being surrounded by lush greenery set against the Himalayas or simply being one with the energetic field of a place steeped in ancient spirituality and healing, Rishikesh cafes have something for everyone.
I’ve spent the last 5 months living on and off in Rishikesh and obviously it’s meant a lot of time spent at cafes, whether just to take in the views, meet friends or get some work done with a cup of coffee. And so I think I’m well placed to offer my recommendations of the best cafes in Rishikesh that are a must for any traveler whether short-term or long-term. Being one of the Hindu holy towns, all cafes mentioned in this article are vegetarian by default, but don’t let that dissuade you from thinking they lack anything in variety or taste.
Here’s my list of 25 Best Cafes In Rishikesh
1. Om Shanti Cafe, Laxman Jhula road
Om Shanti was the first ever cafe I went to in Rishikesh and was blown away by the view, especially given how it's located in a narrow alleyway full of shops selling souvenirs and yoga paraphernali. No matter where you sit, you’ll see the Ganga in front of you, but if you’re lucky enough to get the corner seats, it actually feels like sitting on the deck of a ship cruising on thr Ganga. Watch the the ebbs and flows and rapids (in season) of the river as well as the colourful rafts that’ll whizz by in the background of your food. The cafe decor is truly bohemian with a slew of hand-made and natural art strewn around, along with a shrine to the most highly regarded yoga gurus of all times. One could spend hours sitting at the cafe but take a book along, as unfortunately working on a laptop from here isn't allowed! Every Friday through Sunday, Om Shanti cafe has a kirtan (devotional live music) which only adds to the spiritual ambience.
Food is average, but the peanut salad and the vegan breakfast platter (with chickpea pancakes and roasted potatoes) are my favourite.
Price range: 200 on average for a dish.
2. Karma Cafe, Badrinath Road, Lower Tapovan
A true boho cafe with the most elements of nature, it's the unassuming Karma cafe located opposite the more famous 60s cafe, on the farther end of the busy Badrinath Highway road.
Set in a heritage bungalow style building, what strikes out the most about Karma cafe to me is the 1000 if not more plants of all size, colours and varieties strewn all over the cafe. Most of the plans are in planters repurposed from old jars, bottles and cans giving it the eco-boho look and feel that speaks to me. (They're available to buy too.) Other than that, the cafe is large, spread out across an indoor and the patio section, the latter offering views of the Himalayas above and a stream right below adding to the nature theme of the place.
Food wise, the cafe offers a standard continental cafe fare with a lot of omlets and very few vegan ones. (a con for me.)
Price range: Rs. 200 for an average main, 100 for a coffee.
3. Shambala Cafe, Laxman Jhula Road
Located a few shops before Om Shanti cafe, Shambala cafe is another favourite of mine and has a view similar, if not better than Om Shanti. Get a corner seat and enjoy the same stunning views of the Ganga and the Ram Jhula in the distance with a very distinct hippie vibe with Buddha and Ganesha tapestries forming the walls of the cafe. The best part is that Shambala doesn't have a no-laptop policy so it's a perfect cafe for digital nomads.
The menu is the standard banana pancake trail one with Indian, Israeli, Italian and Chinese dishes. Vegan options are few and far between. The Arrabbiata pasta and pizza are great and so are the Indian curries with a slight tandoor/smoky taste to them.
Price range: Rs. 180 on average for a main, Rs. 50 for a masala chai.
4. The Arches Cafe, Laxman Jhula
Located right next to the Laxman Jhula, cafe Arches is part of the Salvus hotel and one of the most upscale cafes in Rishikesh. Its great decor and vegan food earns a well-deserved a spot on my list of 25 best cafes of Rishikesh. Compared to the other cafes on the list, this isn't a hippie or a boho cafe with lower seating but a modern one with neutral colour tones in walls, sofas, the green door 'Arches' (and hence the name) and a plethora of plants very similar to my own place back in Bangalore in terms of its minimal midcentury aesthetic. It does have a view of the Ganga with the iconic Trimbakeshwar temple from the balcony and an interesting bed-like seating on a raised platform. Food wise, one of the most extensive menus with largely continental fare and a few Indian options include some interesting options like Buddha bowls, and the small eats.
Price Range: Rs. 350 for a bowl, Rs. 200 for a cappuccino.
5. Tulsi Cafe, Upper Tapovan
The very underrated Tulsi cafe is a bit of a hike from Tapovan but worth a visit for its unique theme and healthy food. It’s a concept cafe that follows sustainable and ecofriendly practices and claims to have been made from waste materials. Set on the second level, the cafe has a nice view of the Tapovan forest and the mountains in the distance. Ambience-wise, Tulsi has a unique decor indeed repurposed from waste materials like cloth scraps, utensils, broken electrics and more giving it a purposeful yet boho feel.
(Check out the 30-second Reel I made on it.)
The menu has tons of vegan and gluten-free options. The smoothies and fresh juice mocktails are great and so are the khichdi bowls when you just need some comfort food.
Price range: 150 on average for a main
6. Little Buddha Cafe, other side of Laxman Jhula
Little Buddha has the best view of the Ganga if you get the corner seats! Even if not, the extensive menu makes it worth it. It’s located on the other side of the now defunct Laxman Jhula so taking the boat to get there is the best and fastest way, but can also be reached by crossing the Ram Jhula and taking a 500 meter walk along the river. The cafe is usually very crowded thanks to its views, great food and the nice EDM music playing in the background. (I actually had to ask the staff about their playlist!)
The vegan platters are a must-have as the quantities are generous. It’s also one of the few pet friendly cafes in Rishikesh.
Price Range: Rs. 300 for a platter.
7. Rustic Road Cafe, Laxman Jhula Road
Located on the slope that goes towards the busy Laxman Jhula road and the point for taking the ferry across, Rustic road cafe enjoys neither the Ganga or the mountain views. Still this cafe makes it on my top 10 cafes in Rishikesh list because of its food itself. It’s one of the few vegan and gluten-free cafes so expect to see options like vegan pizzas made with chickpea flour and pasta with cashew cheese sauce! Has a little bakery section too with some nice gluten-free brownies and cakes. All their pizzas are made in a little wood-fire pizza ovens making them one of the few cafes to have it.
Price range: 250 on average for a pizza/pasta.
8. Shalom Cafe, Laxman Jhula Road
Located on the same narrow alley as Om Shanti cafe and Shambala, Shalom cafe is part of the Shalom backpackers’ hostel and hotel. This cafe too has a great view of the Ganga especially from the corner seats and has both lower mattress seating as well as chair and table options. Has changing points located at every table and allows working on the laptop.
The menu is standard with lots of breakfast platters and standalone options.
Price range: 150 on average for a dish. Poha for Rs. 60
9. 12 Monks Hostel And Garden Cafe, Gulab Nagar, Upper Tapovan
While 12 monks isn't much of a standalone cafe, it's part of a hostel and makes it to this list because of the activities happening at it on weekends. Set in a garden area, 12 Monks hosts regular open mic, standup and live music nights Friday through Sunday while on Thursdays, they have a live kirtan. The main entrance door of 12 Monks is usually plastered with all the flyers of other events happening in the area which itself makes going to the place worth it!
10. BeMonk Cafe/ Restaurant
This fairly new restaurant still makes it to the list and deservingly so. It’s one of the fine-dining cafes in Tapovan (or Rishikesh for that matter) and the menu is completely Sattvik. A part of a wellness center, the cafe boasts of an eclectic Indian-fusion menu with interesting quinoa bowls and salads. The place has a great view of the Ganga on two sides, ambience is warm, with a lot of South Indian elements baked into the decor as the owners are from the South of India. On weekends, BeMonk has live classic music where the owner herself lends her voice to a song or two.
Price Range: It’s on the expensive side and a main is priced around Rs. 400-700 and the Sattvik thali is priced at Rs. 1100
11. Jungle Calling, Ghunghati Galli, Upper Tapovan
The most unique place on this list, Jungle Calling can be barely called a cafe but rather the eatery of a resort by the same name. Located on the upper most reaches of Upper Tapovan, Jungle calling is unique because it’s located halfway on the way to the Secret Waterfall. Its location makes dining here an almost surreal experience as it's right next to the stream reminding me of the riverside cafes I went to on my Manali trip. The menu is limited but to make the most of it, try the Kathi rolls and the Momos and enjoy the gushing stream in the background! Don't bother working from here as the networks usually fizzle out by this point.
12. Secret Garden Cafe, Upper Tapovan
True to its name, this cafe is nestled amidst a thicket of plants and spread across a large area in Upper Tapovan. Started by an Indo-Austrian couple, the menu has a predominantly continental fare and attracts a largely international crowd since a lot of the Yoga schools are based in this area. Food-wise, the smoothie bowls are fresh, delicious and filling and the vegan wraps are interesting experiments. They also have some Austrian delicacies. One of the few cafes to have a proper coffee machine, enjoy their lattes and cappuccinos as you work since the place also offers a decent Wifi! Secret Garden is also one of the few pet friendly cafes in Rishikesh, however beware of the two pet dogs that squat around the cafe as they can get aggressive with other dogs.
Price range: Rs. 220 on average for a main, 150 for a beverage.
While the above were according to me the best cafes in Rishikesh, I’ve been to a lot more and they too deserve a mention.
13. 60's Cafe, Badrinath Highway, Tapovan
Despite living in Deecon Valley (IYKYK), it took me months to get to the famous 60's cafe - not to confuse with the Beatles' Cafe - and what a miss. If the multiple Tripadvisor badges and certificates at its reception walls don't tell you enough about the popularity of the place (which unfortunately dimmed post Covid), the decor, the theme and its ethos should. As the name says, the cafe is a homage to the roaring 60s rock n' roll era, with the biggest nod to the Beatles who came to Rishikesh in the 60's. The cafe is decorated tastefully with vintage rock posters, antique gramophones, tons of books and magazine. The thing that stood out to me the most was its menu itself as it has generous amounts of texts interviewing some famous people, their lifestyle, and has lot of blurbs on the Hippie Movement of the 60s.
The food is great, menu has a wide range of vegan options, and they do have a coffee setup. Great outdoors if the weather allows, but insider is even better.
Price Range: Rs. 250 for a pizza, Rs. 180 for a vegan cappuccino.
So here’s the rest of the 22 best cafes in Rishikesh you should check out.
14. Echoes Cafe, Lower Tapovan
A concept cafe, Echoes cafe in lower Tapovan is staffed by the deaf and dumb staff who communicate entirely in sign language. The place is on a terrace so has a bonus of a great top view of the Ganga. The food is average but eating here also comes with the satisfaction of having supported a good cause.
15. Uttar Dakshin Restaurant, Lower Tapovan
While not much by way of a view or ambience, this cafe makes an honourable inclusion on this list of best cafes in Rishikesh because it’s one of the few South Indian cafes in the area. Serving South Indian staples like Masala Dosa, Idli, Sambar as well as the famous filter coffee, the place will feel like home to the South Indians stuck in Rishikesh!
16. Freedom Cafe
Located near the Little Buddha cafe on the other side of Laxman Jhula, Freedom Cafe too has a stunning view of the Ganga, especially if you manage to land one of the two tables in the Ganga-facing patio (even though they're only meant for smoking, and they don't serve food there.)
The cafe gets really busy on weekends and not ideal for working. Extensive menu and most of the food we tried was good.
17. Beatles Cafe, laxman Jhula Road One of the most famous cafes that’s already on most travelers’ lists and hence not one of my top 10 favourites due to its crowds. The cafe is dedicated to the Beatles who called Rishikesh their home in the 60s and is filled with Beatles’ paraphernalia, Sepia photographs, and all.
18. Nosh Garden, Laxman Jhula
Located next to the iconic Trimbakeshwar temple, Nosh garden has an Arabic-inspired decor and a lower seating overlooking the Ganga. The food is average and on the pricier side.
19. Two sisters' cafe, Gulab Nagar, Tapovan
A true hole-in-the-wall cafe, Two Sister’s Garden cafe is more a bakery with a few eating options and a tiny but tastefully done garden in the patio of a Yoga Ashram. Usually frequented by the Yoga school crowd, the large section of baked goods especially the fresh cookies and cakes are a treat!
20. Tattv Cafe, Badrinath Road, Tapovan
A popular cafe located in the middle of all the action! Tattv cafe serves as the perfect landmark due to being located on the busy Badrinath Main Tapovan road and right below an Ashtanga Yoga school and next to the two supermarkets in Tapovan. The cafe itself has a nice Indo-Western menu and great salads. Some tables have a Ganga view.
21. Bistro Lavenia's, Badrinath highway road, Tapovan
This cafe is located right on the uber-busy badrinath highway or the main Tapovan road that connects upper Tapovan with laxman jhula, but is quite lesser known as compared to the other cafes on the list. Maybe it’s to do with its board being hidden amidst the hundreds of hoardings and boards for rafting and adventure shops! Lavenia’s bistro is located on the 2nd floor of a busy building and also has an extended open patio section with a great view of the mountains. The cafe is decorated with vintage posters of rock and pop bands and plays music on demand.
22. Chillout Cafe, Laxman Jhula side
Placed across 2 levels offering lower seating, this cafe too is right on the bank of the Ganga river and offers a great view from day to dusk. The colourful seats are a departure from the monochromatic tones of the other cafes. There are no vegan options and the food is average. But I’d go for an evening snack if Little buddha happens to be shut or I can’t get the corner seat there.
23. VJ's by the Ganges, Badrinath Road, Tapovan
A 100% open-air cafe/restaurant, VJ's by the Ganges is a departure from the usual lower-seating, hippie-decor cafes that are typical of Rishikesh. It's a family and group friendly cafe in a garden setting with a great view of the Ganga, especially at sunset. They have an extensive menu with wood-fired oven pizzas, a variety of pastas, Chinese mains and starters, and the whole Indian fare. I've only ever been there with large groups but I did spot a few couples on seemingly romantic dates.
The music choice isn't the greatest (they seem to play trashy 90's Bollywood music) and the mosquitoes can be annoying at night, but barring that, it's a great place for an evening out.
24. Pumpernickel Germany Bakery Cafe, Laxman Jhula
A true hole in the wall cafe, the unassuming bakery/cafe on the Laxman Jhula side (a couple of shops after Freedom Cafe) has a couple of tables in the balcony that face the Ganga and are a great spot for catching the sunset with a coffee.
The bakery items are delish and very reasonably priced. Price Range: Rs. 100 for a soy Cappuccino and Rs. 60 for a cinnamon bun.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of all the cafes in Rishikesh. I'm sure there are many I still haven't explored, while new ones keep cropping up. I'll be sure to update this list with more cafes as I continue to call this amazing place my home.