All that hiking and paragliding can make you hungry! Here is a guide to dining out and eating in for residents and visitors in Bir and Billing.
Restaurants in Bir Tibetan Colony
- Paloma Bistro serves international vegetarian food including several vegan options, with good desserts and coffees.
- Silver Linings Cafe is a popular spot near the landing site with some eco-friendly features.
- Avva’s is recommended for its South Indian cuisine, also near the landing site.
- Green Guest House & Hygienic Restaurant Serves a variety of momos and other Tibetan dishes, just down the road from Deer Park Institute. Tel: 94181-05045
- Norling (a.k.a. “Garden Café) serves mostly non-Indian food (pasta, salads, etc.).
- Friends Cafe does good thenthuk (Tibetan noodle soup with veggies) and decent momos.
- Hotel Surya serves Indian meals and has WiFi.
- Other little places: There are several tiny dhaba-style hole-in-the-wall restaurants near the Hotel Surya where you can find good momos, parathas, and simple Indian meals.
Restaurants in Upper Bir
- Panditji (no signboard), just west of the main intersection in Upper Bir, makes good samosas and pakoras in his shop (not signposted), and is a gentle and warm spirit.
- Bhawani Guest House, near the west end of Bir serves a variety of food, but order in advance.
- Four Tables: Moved a bit outside of town, and likely you’ll need a taxi to find it.
If you’d like to cook your own meals, there are plenty of veggie vendors* in both Upper Bir and the Tibetan Colony. (*Note that meat is best avoided here even by non-vegetarians due to total lack of hygiene standards.) Kitchenware, including stainless steel cookware, plates, etc., can be purchased in a small steel goods shop on the NH20 just east of the Bir Road turnoff on the way to Chauntra, or in Baijnath. The only challenge is heat: cooking gas is in short supply and electric hobs are available but expensive. If your guesthouse owner or landlord can arrange cooking gas for you, that’s the best way. Otherwise, you can buy an electric hob (stove-like heating element) in Baijnath, Paprola, or Palampur and cook on that with approved (completely flat-bottomed) cookware.
Healthy & Vegan & Organic Options
Currently, the best selection of vegan options (including vegan desserts and soya chai) is Paloma Bistro. A few other restaurants in the Tibetan Colony are starting to provide a few options, so hopefully the trend will continue.
Other possibilities: The pasta at Norling (Garden Café) can be made vegan by special order. One can also find vegan momos and parathas in the Tibetan Colony.
To cook healthy meals at home, one would do well to stock up on organic provisions at My Earth Store in Sidhbari (opposite the Gyoto Monastery), which is the closest shop that caters well to health-conscious people.
Also, Dharmalaya Institute serves healthy, all-natural, mostly-organic, mostly-local, and 100% vegan food, though only for its programme participants (it isn’t a restaurant).
Want to add a new restaurant to the list?
Great! Simply post the relevant info in the comments below.