We would have crossed Dehradun countless times, thanks to it being a gateway to the hill stations of Garhwal. But, it’s only over the past few years that we began considering Doon, as it’s fondly called, as a destination in itself.
Over time, we realised that this capital of Uttarakhand is an idyllic weekend destination for Delhi NCR residents looking for a break from their schedules. Over our multiple visits, there are a few places that have stood out, either for their ambience or food or hospitality or all. We’re happy to share these recommendations.
A word of caution though – Dehradun witnesses substantial rainfall during the monsoons; if you intend to visit, please take the season into consideration! All other seasons are OK for a visit.
Kalsang Café & Restaurant
Address: 88 A, Rajpur Road, Opposite Osho, Chander Lok Colony, Hathibarkala Salwala
Hours: 9:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Phone: +91 955 727 0285
Thumbs Up: Kalsang is located right on the main Rajpur Road which makes it easy to locate. The café is on the ground floor while the restaurant is on the first floor.
We chose the restaurant & were pleased to get a table with a view of the mountains. The ambience was done up in a Chinese manner, complete with paper lanterns & umbrellas. Very red décor!
Under the glass top of our table, we could read little notes left by previous patrons; Kalsang seemed much loved.
The restaurant claims to serve Thai & Tibetan cuisines but we’d only Tibetan here. We started off with Cold Coffee & Hot Chocolate, both of which were delectable.
We then moved to 😈 Momos & Chicken Noodles. These two were spicy but in the good way. The portion size was more than adequate for two people.
Thumbs Down: Its location makes parking a little difficult. The café & restaurant has a parking of its own but not more than five vehicles can fit here.
We found the service to be a little aloof; it could be because of the mad rush but the warmth was certainly missing.
Address: Near Shehanshahi Ashram, Old Mussoorie Road, Rajpur
Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM
Phone: +91 955 767 9927
Thumbs Up: Café Marigold claims “Enjoy a new and fresh menu every day in quaint surroundings amidst natural beauty!” Now, we can’t vouch for the ‘new & fresh menu every day’ because we’ve been here only once but we can assure you of the ‘quaint surroundings.
The café is located away from the hustle bustle in a somewhat rural – looking setting. The seating was in the open next to a tiny, vibrant building. We visited in the late morning hours & looked for just a quick beverage.
Our Cold Coffee & Hot Chocolate arrived on-time & were dainty. We sat in the charming garden & felt Café Marigold had a fairly laidback ambience. This certainly wins with the younger crowds IOHO.
Thumbs Down: The location of Café Marigold is also its drawback. It’s located right on the main road. Add the open seating to it. This results in dust going into the food & beverages as vehicles pass by.
The other bit was that while the café claims to open at 10 AM, when we visited around noon, it still seemed to be in a ‘getting ready’ mode.
Address: 3/B, Dhakpatti, Near MDDA Park, Rajpur
Hours: 12:30 – 9:15 PM (Tuesday closed)
Phone: +91 991 773 3111
Thumbs Up: Orchard came highly recommended from not one but multiple friends. Located in an enclosure, the restaurant had ample space for parking. We chose to sit in the terrace as the weather was still salubrious.
The view was of the mountains in the background & a sort of riverbed in the foreground. We believe the riverbed would fill up during the monsoon season; that would make for an even better ambience. We could also imagine the restaurant taking on a romantic feel at night, specially with live music playing in the background.
We ate Chicken Thukpa & Mutton Kothay which are the specialities of this family – style restaurant. Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup while Kothay is a half-fried, half-steamed Nepalese momo. Both the dishes were scrumptious! The quantities were generous; even the two of us couldn’t finish both the dishes. The Kothay is a must-try.
Thumbs Down: The aloof service again! We like servers being attentive. Also, the fact that it’s not dog-friendly ☹
Address: Ground Floor, LP Residency, 32, Kaulagarh Road
Hours: 12 – 10:45 PM
Phone: +91 135 275 2638
Thumbs Up: Coco Osteria was really a chance finding for us. But so glad we did because it’s turned out to be our favourite place in Dehradun till date! It’s part of a hotel called LP Residency.
Coco Osteria is located on the ground floor with al-fresco seating. The menu isn’t extensive but whatever’s on it is appetizing!
Coco Osteria boasts of ‘traditional handmade Neopolitana pizzas freshly baked in a wood fired oven’ & we totally vouch for that! We ate a Fiery Diavolo Pizza and a Pancetta & Pepperoni Half & Half Pizza. Both were scrummy; two of the best pizzas we’ve eaten till now.
The Half & Half Pizza is a brilliant concept where you can order two varieties in one pizza, ensuring you get to have different tastes without over – ordering (& thus wasting) food.
At Coco Osteria, we sampled the cocktails too & fell in love with their Jaisalmer Fizz (Jaisalmer Gin + Housemade Ginger Concoction + Sparkling Water). Ageless, energizing & minimal!
You can also order food from the two other restaurants of LP Residency – Wasabae & Zaffran. We had two kinds of dim sums from Wasabae & these turned out to be ambrosial too!
Coming to the ambience, the weather wasn’t kind but the large mist fans at Coco Osteria didn’t let us feel the heat. The seating was amidst plants which would make you want to sit for longer. European feels we say!
Now for the best part – Coco Osteria is dog-friendly! Bless them! They even provided F&B bowls for our doggos.
Thumbs Down: NOTHING! It blows our minds to think that a place consistently got everything right!!
Address: Swami Lakshman Joo Marg, Jamoliwala, Bhagwant Pur, Utari Gaon
Phone: +91 991 102 0246
Thumbs Up: While searching for dog-friendly accommodations in Dehradun, we came across Walterre & liked the images we saw on the internet. It’s located in Utari Gaon, a village on one of the roads leading to Mussoorie from Doon.
A boutique hotel, Walterre is Mr. Bikram Grewal’s holiday home. It’s three gardens with thick shrubbery & plenty of trees, designed to attract birds. If you love waking up to birdsong, this beautiful cottage is THE place!
Mr. Grewal, himself an author of books on Indian birds, has ensured birdwatchers have an enthralling time here.
The colonial design of Walterre awed us. A library on the first-floor is well-stocked with books on diverse subjects. On the terrace, wooden pillars support the semi-covered roof.
The interiors are exquisite, decorated with quite a bit of avian artefacts – lithographs & paintings.
Our room, the Peacock Suite, was excellent with its blue & green theme & peacock motifs. It was furnished with traditional wood furniture. The four-poster bed was SO dreamy! The linen was in shades of blue giving the room a comfortable vibe.
Walterre is a haven for nature lovers. We spent our mornings on the first-floor terrace watching the clouds roll down the mountains & the Sun rise behind them. A sense of calm amidst nature!
Walterre doesn’t have a set menu; the cook checked with us every day to inquire about our breakfast & dinner. We’d our breakfasts on the terrace in the company of cheeping birds!
Lastly, the staff members are courteous & their hospitality really made our stay memorable. They’re professional & well-trained.
A picture-perfect getaway from the demanding city life!
Thumbs Down: Not a drawback but more of a suggestion – if someone can guide on the birds & birdwatching, it will be fantastic!
So, the next time you head to Dehradun, don’t forget to check at least one of these places out. We’ll be glad to hear about your experience!