The Vegan Food Guide to Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a vegetarian and vegan’s dream come true in Northern India, and due to its religious importance meat (and alcohol) are not permitted in the town. Unlike some parts of India, it is safe to graze on salads and raw foods here as most places will state how they wash their veggies in safe, purified water. I had many a stomach bug on our trip and I was happy to refuel on all veggies, soups, and every cake that I could get my hands on.
The options for worldwide cuisine in the town is also amazing, if your belly wants a break from traditional India food then you can do that here or if you love Indian food more than anything else on this planet, you’ll find wonderful Indian dishes here too.
Scroll down to find out our recommendations for vegan food in Rishikesh:
60’s Cafe/ Beatles Cafe
One of our firm favourites in Rishikesh, these guys have an extensive and interesting menu full of facts, quotes, and memes. They have a vegan section too and in the rest of the menu, other vegan dishes are labelled.
We tried the vegan pizza with cashew cheese (350 rupees), the Hassle-back potatoes (200 rupees), and the Indian-style tofu wraps (220 rupees) which ended up being way over our budget but the sacrifice was worth it – the pizza blew my little plant-based mind. Paul’s sandwich is a popular choice on the menu too, although if like me coleslaw isn’t your favourite filling it may not top your list and as with their other portion sizes it was massive.
The cafe has stunning views of the Ganges River below so it’s quite busy at lunch and even busier at dinner, so if you fancy a seat I’d recommend getting there early. Their music playlist is particularly funky and so is the ambience in general.
Pick up a couple of Beatles postcards, order a coconut chai, and take it all in.
Find them here.
The Eat Story @ Green Hills Cottage
This place happened to be where we were staying (see our guide to Rishikesh here) and we returned pretty much every night for dinner. It’s run by the same guys that own the 60’s Cafe so a lot on their menu is similar, although there are less vegan dishes here. The staff are amazing and will adapt dishes for dietary requirements too.
Like 60’s they have some great tunes which fortunately aren’t mostly made up of the most popular Beatles songs on repeat. Although, prices here are slightly cheaper too. Choose from cosy seating inside or outside in the beautiful garden that looks even more enchanting at night with numerous fairy lights.
I finally gave the vegetable Manchurian (180 rupees) a go and found it rich and tasty, although slightly burnt. We carried on eating our way through the menu and both really loved the vegetable Hakka noodles (180 rupees) and the Ratatouille stew which was expertly seasoned to a (boring) Westerner’s palate. I also nearly lost it at the vegan protein pancake stack at breakfast and there is no such thing as enough maple syrup.
If you do stay at Green Hills Cottage they do offer room service. We’d highly recommend this one.
Find them here.
Our friend recommended this one to us and I wish we’d tried it before. Little Buddha is located over the bridge close by to the Lakshman Jhula Bridge in the main shopping area. The menu is impressive and offers an array of dishes from around the world. Its also very popular at lunch time but the service and turnover is quick.
We foolishly tried to eat the Buddha platter and the Yogi Baba platter and happily failed. They have a page in their menu dedicated to platter options and ours was made up tofu, veggies, hummus, pesto, soup, and a chapati. It’s a great sharing option at 260 rupees each. Again, they also have vegan meals and sides labelled clearly in their menu. I’m undecided on my favourite restaurant but this one may just top the list.
Pick up a refreshing lemon ice, grab a table next to a fan and gaze out over the Ganges.
Find them here.
Pure Soul Cafe and Organic Kitchen
Pure Soul Cafe and Organic Kitchen is part of a boutique retreat that shows off its guests-only swimming pool to the side of the restaurant as well as breath-taking mountain views. They serve many plant-based dishes and if you fancy a juice cleanse you’ve come to the right place. Smoothies, salads, and warm main dishes fill their menu and if you are looking for something tasty to fill your belly give the vegan meatballs (250 rupees) a try. Or if you are after something sweet the banana, chocolate, and peanut butter smoothie bowl (150 rupees) is just the ticket. They don’t have many options for sweet things that fall under the vegan category but they do offer a superfood bliss ball.
Choose from comfortable seating on cushions or at a table inside or stare at the beautiful views at one of their outdoor tables. They are often very busy during lunchtime due to the retreat next door so you may have to wait for service but all the staff are lovely. Grab a green juice and make the most of the moderately fast wifi until the electric cuts out.
Find them here.
Free Spirit Cafe
Located in the bustling Tapovan area of Rishikesh, Free Bird Cafe sits above a clothing shop and again, like most cafes, offers great river views. The cafe is brightly decorated and has a cute, hippy style. The staff here are also really friendly and are happy to help. Try the amazing vegetable burger with fries, (hold on the mayonnaise) all for 100 rupees. It’s cheap, cheerful, and a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Find them here.
Ramana’s Organic Cafe
Voted as the best eatery on Happy Cow, Ramana’s food lived up to many delighted reviews. It’s is situated at a pretty spot next to the river which has an orphanage and a school on it grounds. There is an option to dine outside on the rooftop or inside in the old yet funky cafe.
Their menu is on a large board behind the counter and although it is limited several dishes can be made vegan. If you are starving try the set menu for 400 rupees or the aromatic thali for 250 rupees. The enchiladas (250 rupees) are plant-based as long as you remember to order them without cheese and I was given hot water with lemon as their ready-made lemon drink contained honey. Also on the menu are salads, soups, and cakes. Some of the children from the orphanage work in the kitchen and the food really is of the highest quality.
Our only negative was the several caged birds in the cafe, but apart from this, we loved our visit there. If you want to escape the noise of the town its worth the walk.
Check them out here.
Tattv Cafe is situated on the main road in the Tapovan district above its organic shop. The shop is packed full of imported goods, vegan cakes, snacks, gifts, and natural toiletries. Prices in the shop below are a bit higher but mostly due to a lot of the products being imported.
In their cafe above you can either sit outside on the veranda or inside with cool air-con. They have signs stating that they serve vegan-friendly food but it’s not as clearly listed on their menu so its best to inquire. If you want a light lunch give the garlicky mushroom hummus and pita (170 rupees) a go or fill up on the delicious falafel plate served with fries (250 rupees). Every member of staff is helpful, friendly, and the service is quick too.
It would be so easy to spend the day eating brownies, watching the river and ordering more brownies to take away.
Find out where they are by clicking here.
Pumpernickel German Bakery + Restaurant
Another eatery on Happy Cow that came highly-rated was Pumpernickel Bakery which is situated on the other side of the river past the Laksham Jhula bridge. The main cafe downstairs has the cake counter but if they are full you’ll be redirected next door to a rooftop cafe and when in April its sticky, hot, and full of flies. Although if you can handle the swarming insects the view from the rooftop is beautiful.
The menu has a multitude of different vegan options but we only stopped for cake. Their soy chai is particularly good and their vegan brownie would have been if it hadn’t been left out and had gone rock solid down one side which made that part inedible.
Overall, I was so disappointed with this place, maybe we just got there on a bad day and the flies are all over Rishikesh anyway. I’d love to say we went back but we didn’t although like I said it does come highly rated by other travellers…
Find them here.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to vegan food in Rishikesh, if you have any other recommendations or recommend any cakes or dishes please let us know!
Peace + plane tickets ✈