Best Cafés in Leamington Spa!

Leamington Spa maybe a small town, but the choices for food and drinks it has to offer are never ending! Turn right on Warwick Street for a yummy cake or left on Regent Street for scrumptious cheese pastries. It is never not the right time to head to one of the cozy cafes and grab a cup of coffee as you watch the world go by.

Here are some of our favourite cafes:

Coffee Architects: The vibe of this place is amazing, with the colorful decor and cozy spots. They serve the best cakes in town. Really the best! And their coffee is just wow!

Raspberry Oreo Cake and Hot Chocolate at Coffee Architects

Savi’s Cafe and Bakery: Savi’s is one of the cafes that open early morning and serve mouth watering pastries and sandwiches. There are two outlets of this family owned business and both serve amazing options.

Cheese Onion Pastry and Hot Chocolate at Savi’s Bakery

Spa Town Coffee: A cafe with a relaxed and chatty vibe, we love the coffee and food here. We visited the coffee shop on a Sunday morning and just fell in love. An elderly man sat with his coffee and newspaper in one corner, a group of cyclists occupied a couple tables in the centre and a pair of friends sat in another corner, studying – this cafe drew them all in!

Falafel Wrap with Fresh Salad at Spa Town Coffee

Coffee #1: One of the biggest coffee shops here, it serves a variety of sandwiches, baguettes and more. This was the first coffee shop we visited in Leamington Spa and loved!

Tomato and Cheese Panini at Coffee #1

Gusto Ricco Cafe: Oh this place! The vibe, the music and the food. This is one of our favourite spots, be it for a light bite or to satiate our growling tummies. Open till 10 pm, this place with its rustic mood and chosen upholstery has some scrumptious homemade cakes and delicious coffee.

The Aviary Cafe: Located in the magnificent Jephson Gardens, The Aviary Cafe is one of the finest places in town. We hands down rate their hot chocolate the best. They serve a variety of handmade cakes and pastries. The cafe is pet friendly and generally crowded owing to its location.

Mashed Swedes Cafe: If you are looking for a heartsome breakfast, this is the place to head to. What amazing coffee and those waffles are to die for. We love the vibe and their service with a smile!

The Oxford Cafe: A cozy cafe with a very homely vibe, we loved their hearty and filling breakfast.

Leif Tea Rooms and Piano Bar: A cozy cafe that turns to a happening bar come evening, this place serves some delicious food and teas. They also have trivia nights, karaoke and you can also play the piano here!

Habano: More a Cuban restaurant than a cafe, this place serves delicious coffee as well. And the service here is amazing. Head here to try their delicious burgers and more!

Cappuccino at Habano

Some of the other cafes you can head to are Le Cafe, Cafe Rogue, The Larder, Tartine. Trust us, no one ever goes hungry in Leamington Spa.

A day in Royal Leamington Spa

Royal Leamington Spa or Leamington Spa or Leam, as the locals call it, is a town in Warwick district and lies along the river Leam. The mineral rich springs transformed a small village, Leamington Priors, into a bustling urban centre. And the queen accorded the town its Royal status.

Leamington Spa is a beautiful town with its Regency architecture – so well kempt and peaceful, that your first thoughts are, I could totally live here! And why won’t they be, this town was named the happiest place in the UK!!

I had the good fortune to spend a month living here, experiencing life first hand and it was some of the best days I have spent in a new place! I still dream about being back here, walking down the parade to shop, sip on some delicious hot chocolate at one of the numerous cafes and just be. If you are in Warwick, spending a day in Leamington Spa would be ideal. The town is well connected to both London and Birmingham via trains.

The Parade (the bottom)

Here is what you can explore in and around Royal Leamington Spa in a day:

Chesterton Windmill: Start your day early and take one of the buses from Parish Church Stand B to a nearby beautiful village called Harbury. Once you get down here, you have to walk a couple miles to reach the windmill. The road from the bus stop to the windmill does not have a pedestrian footpath and is a busy one, so be careful.
At Chesterton Windmill, you can enjoy a stroll or a picnic. It is a beautiful spot and well frequented by locals. If you have more than a day in Warwick, sunset here would be amazing view.
Also, don’t forget to note the time of a return bus, I did that and was stranded (in a beautiful village, so no complains) for 2 hours. There are a few pubs and restaurants in the village.

Chesterton Windmill

Jephson Gardens: Head back to the center of the city and walk to Jephson Gardens nearby. With the manicured gardens and flower beds, this is a beautiful space to spend some time. It is generally busy on weekends with families enjoying a day out. The garden also have a Sensory Garden and Greenhouse within its premises and a cafe that serves a mind blowing hot chocolate and delicious food.

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The Sensory Garden (Jephson Gardens)

The Parade: Take a stroll down the parade and shop to your heart’s content. Head to the Royal Priors mall while you are at it. At some of the streets near the parade, you find exclusive boutiques and stores and a whole array of cafes and restaurants.

This store on Regent Street has some amazing collectibles and great offers

Royal Pump Rooms: Browse around the exhibitions here. They also house a museum showcasing the building’s past and host an art gallery.

Riverside: Walk along the river side or eat at one of the many riverside pubs like The Waterside Inn or The Moorings.

The Loft Theater Company: Watch a production at this independent community theater, one of UK’s leading.

Leam Boat Centre: Hire a rowing boat and marvel at the town from the waters.

Enjoy a pop quiz or live musical at the pub Clarendon’s. They also serve some really good desserts. You could also pop by at The Leif Tea Rooms and play the piano.

Take a tour of Foundry Wood, an eco park or a stroll in Victoria Park and enjoy a game of bowling.

Warwick Castle: The castle is a few mins away by bus or an hour’s walk from Parish Church Stand B. The castle also has some attractions and art shows among other events for a full fledged experience. Check various websites for discounts on the tickets.

Our favorite Cafés in Shillong!

Shillong is a beautiful city, encircled by tall pine trees,  a climate that is dramatically moody and some really good cafés, whose ambience is made all the more better by the various shade of the city…

So strap in and read more about our favorite cafés in Shillong:

ML-05 Café

This is a breathtaking wonder! Situated amidst lush greenery, every picture taken at this cafe is instagrammable. Named after the local vehicle registration number, this cafè exudes charm and cuteness. Located in the outskirts of Shillong, ML05 is a bikers’ and travellers paradise. 

Margarita Pizza at ML-05 Cafè

Hoitea Toitea

If you seek absolute peace and calm within city limits, this is the place to be. This cafè serves some of the most delicious food in Shillong and specializes in exotic blends of tea. Even though we are not avid tea drinkers, this place has managed to make us start liking tea.  
The cafè shares the space with the Crinoline swimming pool (named after Crinoline Waterfall), leveling up the experience of having your meal.  
Recommendation: Try the Zen Collection of teas and every possible food item on the menu!!

Spaghetti and Veggies at Hoitea Toitea
Detox Juice at Hoitea Toitea

The Living Roof

Another cafè with amazing interiors and ambience, great location and more importantly lip-smacking food! 
This cafè has everything to keep you engaged until your food is ready – a pool table, live musical performances and board games. Outdoor seating offers the comfort of a quiet meal.
Recommendation: Try the shakes, coffee, pastas here.
This cafè  can also be your home when you are on a vacation. (Registered on OYO)

Dylan’s Cafè

This iconic cafè in Shillong is a tribute to the legendary Bob Dylan and the perfect spot for celeb spotting. Located in the heart of town,  a visit to this cafè on a chilly evening for a cup of hot chocolate is a must. The food is average but the overall experience is quite amazing. 

Hot Chocolate at Dylan’s Cafè

Cafè  Shillong

If you are not sure of where to hang, just close your eyes and head to this cafè. There is somethings about this pace, which even though located on the main Laitmukhrah street, is so peaceful. We love sitting outside and watching the city go by.
Recommendation: Nasi Goreng here is to die for. They serve local delicacies as well. 

Lasagna at Cafe Shillong

Hashtag Cafè  

Another delightful cafè in Laitumkhrah where you can sip your coffee and eat your heart out. There have variety of local dishes (Khasi and Naga) to choose from other than the regular Chinese and Italian cuisines. The music here is really good and they also host performances by local artists. Hashtag Cafè is a very pocket friendly option. 

The Grub – Cafè and Bakery

The Grub caught our attention for their huge stack of books and the open seating (terrace). The ambience is cozy and we love finding ourselves a comfy nook to enjoy our coffee and a devour a good book. The food here is quiet good.

These are our favourite, and there are innumerable other good eateries and cafès in Shillong, no one here dies of hunger! 

Two spectacular resorts in Cherrapunjee that will win over your hearts!

Cherrapunjee, famed for being one of the wettest places on earth (Mawsynram being the wettest) is breathtakingly beautiful and serene. The beautiful roads and the lush valleys and the forever foggy landscapes made us fall for them right away. Over the next three days, this love only grew stronger. Although the heart has no reasons, we can definitely tell you that these two places – Café Cherrapunjee Resort and Sa-I-Mika Park & Resort – had a huge role to play.

We drove from Guwahati to Cherrapunjee and had already booked our stay at Café Cherrapunjee a couple of days ago, but there was a certain anxiety, probably stemming from the fact that our stay in Guwahati had been not so great. We drove for a couple of hours to reach Sohra, the historical name of Cherrapunjee, and driving through the Sohra-Shella road, I saw a beautiful scene – stone-walled cottages with strikingly green coloured roofs and just as I was about to whisk my phone out to click a picture, we took a turn towards the cottages!

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This was our stay! This was our actual stay!! Yes, we had visited their site and booked the stay but images on the internet are not meant to be taken seriously, right?

We were overwhelmed by the beauty of this place! The clear blue sky behind the beautiful cottages, tall and lush green pine trees, smoke coming out of the chimney in the central cottage, this was a scene out of an old movie based in Scotland…but only, it was real. I vividly remember jumping around like an overjoyed kid as soon as the car came to a halt! The moment still makes me smile.

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Our room was in this cottage

Café Cherrapunjee had stolen our hearts and we were happy it had! Based in Mawdok village, midway from Shillong and the main Cherrapunjee Market, this quaint and beautiful place will make you want to stay back forever. The cottages are cozy, outstandingly clean and have a rustic charm. Tents are also available if you want to be adventurous. The age-old Dak Bungalow is converted to a restaurant/café where the staff (more hospitable than anyone you have met) whips up some delicious and heart-warming food. The cell reception is weak here and the resort has no WiFi, giving you the perfect opportunity to disconnect with the world and reconnect with your self and your travel partners.

When at Café Cherrapunjee Resort, remember to carry cash to make the payment (you will be making part payment via net transfer) as they do not have a network and can’t accept cards. You can always transfer the amount but the weak cell reception is a pain.

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Places Nearby: Dympep village is a ten-minute walk from the resort so you can visit some picturesque places here along with the Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge.

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Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge

After having checked out of Café Cherrapunjee, we did not think any other stay can make us this happy but found another beauty hidden amidst the meadows and mountains of Sohra – our second stay at Cherrapunjee – the Sa-I-Mika Park and Resort.

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Sa-I-Mika Park & Resort

A place designed to help you experience simplicity. This resort is much bigger in expanse and has a charm of its own. The various cottages here are all designed to replicate the simple Khasi lifestyle. Some cottages have hardwood flooring and stone walls while some other resemble the architectural style of the time when corrugated sheets were used to make houses. Fireplace, comfortable beds, khaats and muddas, and cleanliness mark the very spacious rooms here.

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The resort does not provide WiFi or televisions and yet we were not at a dearth of things to do. Explore the vast landscapes around, play with the dogs, go hiking or watch the stars under the clear beautiful sky – and we did all of these. And even ran inside our cottages at crazy speed when the rain started hammering down on us that evening! The next morning we headed to the common room for a simple but hearty breakfast and found out that many live gigs are hosted there. If only one was on when we were here…. but that just gives us an excuse to go back, right?

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Breakfast at Sa-I-Mika

Places Nearby: Mawsamai Caves, Seven Sisters Falls, Nohkalkai Falls, Mawlynlong Village and Living Root Bridges to name a few.

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The Orange Roots Cherrapunjee Resort is nearby and you can head here to enjoy a pocket-friendly and lip-smacking vegetarian meal prepared by the local Khasi women.

Book Cafè – Ningxia Lù (Ningxia Road), Qingdao

We tend to find the most amazing places when we are least expecting them.
On our recent trip to China, on a cold winter day, we had decided to explore the city on foot. After some shopping, we were just roaming around and that is when saw this cafe – Book Cafè – we exchanged stares and ran towards it!

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It is a huge cafe on the side of a bustling street and right next to Ningxia Lù metro station. This place is also well connected by local buses if you decide to take one.

Entering, we saw huge stacks of books arranged properly in pillar-like shelves. Cozy and inviting sofas along one side and a few tables on the other. The interiors were beautifully designed and made us fall in love with the place at first sight.

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The cafe was almost empty barring a few people who were lost in their books.

For non-Mandarin speakers, it does get a bit difficult to understand the menu but the staff was very friendly and those who understood a bit of English helped us through our dilemma. We ordered our coffee and decided to makes ourselves comfortable upstairs.

Until our coffee arrived, we browsed through the books and explored the cafe. There were a lot of beautiful paintings and books up for sale. Most of the collect is in Mandarin and if you understand the language, this cafe is a heaven to be lost in for hours.

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We browsed through a few books and interacted with the staff trying to get to know the city better while our coffee arrived. The best part about the coffee was the cute Chinese cutlery that they used.

After spending about two hours here, we decided it was time to go, but would definitely love to visit this place again – hopefully with better knowledge of Mandarin.

Bayroute [Cuffe Parade]

From the very moment we entered Bayroute, we were mesmerized by its charm…

Bayroute is uniquely conceptualized to capture the essence of Middle-Eastern culture, all the while being very chic and stylish.

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The décor makes every corner and every wall #Instagramable. Warm lighting, dust-coloured walls and kaleidoscopic window decor add a wave of calm to the entire experience. The music takes this experience a notch higher. You will definitely be transported to a beautiful and artistic magical land.

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Bayroute is not only about the ambience. They have taken care to represent the culture even in the menu. If you pay close attention, the way the menus are read mimic the Arabic style of writing. Such attention to details left a smile on our faces.

Now that we are on the menu, let’s talk about the variety! They have so many options to pick from and so many options within these options! It is quite overwhelming for someone not familiar with the cuisine. We won’t lie, we ourselves knew only certain dishes till date, but we come back with our knowledge expanded and our tummies satisfied.

Here is what we ordered and fell in love with:

 

Arabic Date and Palm Shake – Dates are a very important part of Arabic culture and cuisine. But for us, this was the first time we tried such a combination. In fact, the newness of the combination and the word Arabic adding a dash of excitement that it is an authentic preparation made us order it in the first place. The shake also had a hint of coffee in it making it a very refreshing drink. It was not too sweet (just how we like), rich and very delicious.

Reyhan – This was a very refreshing drink. The citrus-y fragrance kept drawing our attention while we clicked the pictures. Both Basil and Orange were quite strong in the drink but surprisingly none overpowered the other.

Bayroute Kale and Avocado – A deconstructed salad or should be say deconstructed happiness? Kale, avocado, zucchini and purple lettuce tossed in a basic dressing. The tons of cranberries and the lip-smacking tamarind dressing along with the falafel patties added a lot of funk to the greens.

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Muhammara – Muhammara is a Syrian red pepper dip with walnuts, garlic, pomegranate and olive oil. It has a grainy texture and had a spicy undertone. Nothing that makes you cry, but enough to tell you that it is there. We quite liked it. It came with piping hot Pita bread and pickled vegetables. This red dip made us fall in love with it and Google the recipe.

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Peynir Pide – Pide is something we have tried earlier and hence knew what to expect and were not let down either. Pide is a boat/canoe-shaped Turkish flatbread with a variety of toppings. Peynir had chunks of cottage cheese and olives topped with Burrata cheese and the famous Middle Eastern spice Zatar.

 

 

Bayroute Manakeesh – Manakeesh is another flatbread but this one comes from Lebanon-Syria. A Manakeesh traditionally only had spreads and spices on it.
We tried the one that not only had the traditional spices and flavours from the Middle East but also the more contemporary mix of Nutella, Banana and Caramel.

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# Labneh: Thick and creamy yoghurt, made by a technique that strains the curd of most of it’s liquid (hung curd) and renders this creamy yoghurt cheese. Garlic and lime added tanginess to it. Topped with zucchini, bell peppers and olives, this was delicious.

# Za’atar Cheese: Za’atar is an aromatic Mediterranean spice and herb blend. Loved this mix of thyme, oregano and sesame, only made more amazing by cheese!

# Harissa: Not for the faint-hearted, Harissa is the red chilli pepper paste made from a mix of chilli peppers and is most famous in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. These two slices made us cry. Very spicy!

# Nutella: This one needs no explanation but came as a respite for the hot and spicy Harissa slices.

 

Overall Experience: Bayroute is an amazing place, perfect in every way. We highly recommend it!

Bayroute – Google Maps