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.
Please note that in the past few years the food scene in the Bir area (especially in the Tibetan Colony) has exploded, with so many new restaurants and cafes that we haven’t been able to keep up. All of our visitors are welcome to mention new restaurants in the comments section below, and if you include details we will try to add them to the list here.
Restaurants in Bir Tibetan Colony
- Avva’s is recommended for its South Indian cuisine, near the paragliding 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
- June16 Cafe is another option near the landing site, with an international menu including western-style breakfasts and healthy vegan options. Tel: 98330-16000 FB
- Norling (a.k.a. “Garden Café) serves mostly non-Indian food (pasta, salads, etc.).
- 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.
- Surya Hotel 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
- 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.
- 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.
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
So far, there aren’t yet any restaurants in Bir that really specialize in healthy and vegan options, but there are several that offer a few choices. (For a while, Paloma Bistro had several good vegan deserts, but no longer as of 2022.) 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.