Where to eat at Kodai this summer

Altaf Cafe  

It is the perfect time for a break in the hills, and Kodaikanal is a popular summer destination for the southern folk. The cool weather makes one feel hungry all the time, and that is no problem as plenty of restaurants and small eateries here cater to the resident student population, the diverse local community and tourists.

Here is a roundup of local restaurants and eateries to visit at the hill station.

New in Town

TEN Degrees on PT Road is the latest addition to the dining scene in this hill town. Anand, a seasoned chef from Chennai, who is involved in running multiple restaurants in the metro, has, this year, set up shop here. The menu is eclectic, ranging from traditional Kerala dishes to continental sizzlers, burgers, and more. One of their signature dishes is wasabi prawns — prawn tempura tossed in wasabi-flavoured mayonnaise with a drizzle of honey. The stuffed chicken breast and baked pork chops are standouts in the Continental section. The crab curry comes highly recommended by a local food expert, and will be a good choice to go with their light and flaky Malabar parottas.

There is also an interesting array of desserts to satisfy the craving for something sweet at the end of a meal.

That’s a wrap

Muncheez is just below TEN Degrees and is an old Kodai institution, but in a new and expanded avatar. They serve hot and cold drinks, along with a variety of burgers, sandwiches and wraps.

A plateful of warm fries or potato wedges is the perfect way to start your meal on chilly days. The wraps, stuffed with beef and spicy garlic mayonnaise, are juicy and delicious. The burgers are also equally good, and for true carnivores, an additional meat patty at an extra cost is conveniently available on the menu.

There is a very casual and lounge-like feel to the ambiance here. It is very popular among the local students and is the right place for a quick and light bite.

Foreign flavours

Altaf’s cafe at Vattakanal has a predominantly Mediterranean menu to cater primarily to tourists from that part of the world. Walk down to Dolphin’s nose and back up, to work up an appetite before heading to the cafe.

At Altaf’s, grab a table under the porch for scenic views extending down to the plains and beyond. The hummus and tahini served with warm and pillowy pita bread are a must-try.

The falafel and shakshuka plates are delicious and wholesome, with a healthy serving of salad on the side. Wash it all down with warm lemon, ginger and honey tea. There are more Yemeni dishes on the menu, but they are seasonal and available only during the winter months.

Lakeside stories

The Lake and its surroundings offer activities such as boating, cycling and horse riding for visiting tourists. Another favourite past-time around the lake is snacking while people-watching. Roasted corn-on-the-cob is quintessentially Kodai. The freshly roasted corn, with its charred bits and a spicy, salty rub, is the perfect snack to munch on while taking in the views of the scenic lake and the crowd around. Another typical snack around the lake is the bread omelette. It is unlike a traditional bread and omelette sandwich. It is worth ordering just to watch them make one. It is a simple technique, but is executed step by step with great precision.


After a relaxing weekend or week in Kodaikanal, when it is time to pack your bags and head home, don’t forget to pick up some amazing and unique local produce to take back. There are many cheese makers in this small hill town, but Caroselle’s Montasio, Brie-style and Camembert-style cheeses are truly delectable. From George’s Gourmet Kitchen, some of the bestsellers are the organic stone-ground mustard, chilli garlic sauce, chocochip cookies and a variety of baked breads. Kiki Book Shop stocks these cheeses, sauces and bread items. Fresh garlic, shiny plums, tart tree tomatoes, crunchy pears, juicy passion fruits and luscious avocados are some of the local produce that can be bought from any of the numerous street vendors around town.

A few more places to eat in Kodaikanal are:

Tava on PT Road: For North Indian vegetarian food.

Cloud Street on PT Road: For pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.

Cafe Cariappa on PT Road: For a cup of the local brew in a cosy setting.

Welcome Hotel in Naidupuram: For delicious biriyani and other Chettinad mess-style delicacies.

Icy Tops Ice Cream Parlour on Club Road: For a scoop of natural ice cream in seasonal flavours.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:02:06 AM |

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