Darjelling: The Foodies' Paradise
Touriosity Travelmag|May 2021
Darjeeling, also known as the Queen of Hills, has a colonial past. Back in the days when Calcutta used to be the capital of the British Raj, Darjeeling happened to be the most coveted hill station for the Gora Sahibs and the Mems. It was only an overnight train from Calcutta, followed by a 12-hour journey on the toy train from Siliguri. Even to date, the place is covered with buildings of the colonial era, which are now occupied by government offices.
Abhirup Ghosh

Much to the predilection of the European tourists, a lot of eateries offering European food sprung up in and around the center of the town, some of them operate even today.

Here in this article, the author wishes to talk about his experience in some of the finest eateries in Darjeeling. While the town hosts a number good places to eat, some located in renowned hotels, for this article, the author has shortlisted four standalone restaurants for the readers.

Keventer’s or Kev’s

Keventer’s is one of the most iconic and oldest eateries in Darjeeling. The classic rooftop restaurant of the Keventer’s has also featured in the Bollywood movie, Barfi. The maestro, Mr. Satyajit Ray, in several of his novels and stories talked about the Keventer’s specialty – hot chocolate. This is located right in the heart of Darjeeling town.

A 110-year old shop, established in 1911, it was a part of a chain of businesses owned by Mr. Edward Keventer, a Swedish entrepreneur. The estate in Darjeeling consisted of a shop, a restaurant on the same premises, and a farm in Ghoom. After independence, Mr. Keventer sold all of his businesses in different parts of the country to different families. The property in Darjeeling was sold to a Bengali family. The Jalans, the current owners of the shop and restaurant, bought it from the Bengali family only in the 1970s.

In terms of offerings, the eatery was originally a milkshake bar, remained as such for the first four or five decades of its existence, and it was only in the 1960s that it started serving food items too.

Before and after the independence, the managers of most of the tea gardens in and around Darjeeling were Europeans; also the hills of Darjeeling houses several convent schools and hostels, and most of the students in these schools were European. Hence, the European clientele of this place continued to influence the menu. The restaurant serves European food items like sausages, meatloaf, ham, bacon, baked beans and, more.

Interestingly, they manufacture the meat and the milk products served by them in their restaurants, which is their USP.

The restaurant being located in one of the iconic areas of Darjeeling, this place famously feeds anywhere between 800 – 1000 customers in a day. Some of the favourites in Keventer’s are Sunny Side Up, Pork Platter, Bacon Sandwich, Meat Platter, Salami Sandwich, Sausage, Hotdogs, Hot Chocolate and Coffee.

The average pocket-pinch for a couple here will be only Rs. 400 - Rs. 600 depending on the appetite.

Glenary’s

Yet another old and renowned eatery in Darjeeling is the Glenary’s. Located a couple of blocks away from the Kev’s, this one houses a bakery, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and a pub, all in one building. This is one place you would like to eat at, every time you visit Darjeeling.

This place is currently run by the Edwards family, however, it has a long and interesting story. This place was originally started by Mr. Vado, an Italian gentleman, and was known as Vado’s. Later, one Mr. Adolph Pliva, bought half of the business, and the name of this place was changed to Vado’s and Pliva’s. Subsequently, Mr. Pliva bought the other half too, and named it Pliva’s.

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