Nusa Penida is a place where idyllic landscapes are made even more beautiful with incredible coffee!! Both – the island and the coffee – are magical!!
As we ventured out to explore this new destination, we stumbled upon a few cafés and went looking for a few others. Like everything about this island, some of these cafés brought a huge grin on our faces. Here are the three coffee shops in Nusa Penida that you must visit –
This café is a perfect combination of simplicity and class. We loved the relaxed vibe and the similing service here. The cafe opens at 8 am and is almost immediately packed with people lugging their backpacks and arriving for their daily coffee kick or a hearty breakfast. We are in love with their cold coffees and Piccolo Latte. And the food, lip-smacking!
Secret Penida Café is a not-so-secret and amazing choice. The nudes, the pastels and the pinks, the beautifully painted walls and the random swings, the cactii and the garden seating – all make for instaworthy frames as well as perfect island moments. We loved their food and the coffee was just wow!!
Sweet Spot Café is both an attention grabbing facade as well as a blink and miss one! The café, resembling a house, sits pretty on the side of the street with a small orange board that mentions the name. We spotted it one morning on our way to Crystal Bay but as we went back to find it, we just could not locate it, for quite some time!
It is a small and cozy coffee shop, and serves delicious food and coffee. We enjoyed our food with some live music played by the owner!
Which are your favourite coffee shops in Nusa Penida?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Places Nearby: Mawsamai Caves, Seven Sisters Falls, Nohkalkai Falls, Mawlynlong Village and Living Root Bridges to name a few.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We will go anywhere for food. Seriously, anywhere.
That explains why we took an hour-long ride in the hot sun, after a scuba session () to reach the depths of Auroville. Hidden away in the interiors of Auroville, you will find many a treasures and Well Café is one such treasure.
Wilderness is that word that defines this place the best.
Why we recommend this café?
Firstly, the food is insanely good. It is simple yet amazing. The café specialises in Mediterranian cuisine with limited options and the food is prepared fresh by the local women.
Secondly, the ambience is amazing. An open garden café with random chairs strewn under a thick canopy of trees whose trunks are covered in colourful sarees. You will find crafts made from recycled paper hanging from above. Chirping birds, a dog or two, and a few really colourful insects (we did not know God made these, this colourful!!) are your company. But don’t let this worry you, sometimes, such an ambience can do wonders!
Thirdly, the café and the entire WELL centre (that includes a handmade paper shop, art gallery, etc. ) is managed by women for the empowerment of women in this area. This place gives you a peek into their lives. Spend some time and chat with the locals and they will share their stories with you! There also is a homestay next door and in case, living amidst a thick cover and with locals is your calling, you should definitely check out this place.
Fourthly, this café also hosts musical nights and other events from time to time. The ambience is then transformed to one of those mid forest camping-party style places which makes it even more awesome.
What we absolutely love and still lust over are the Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguetteand the Eggplant & Labane Baguette.
First I burned my tongue fighting over the super hot vegetable omelette and now I am drooling all over my laptop at the thought it. This cannot be good!
Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguette – The vegetable omelette was delicious on its own. Thick and so well spiced, it had onions, coriander and more. The curd cheese that was spread over the crispy pieces of bread was heavenly. Yup, we did lick it off the plate! If only we could fill like a jar or a room with it and bring it back to Mumbai!! These were served with three salads, a beetroot and cream based, a mixture of cabbage, beetroot, carrots & more and another one which had a little tart due to the addition of vinegarette.
Eggplant & Labane Baguette – Labane or curd cheese spread generously over the crispy bread, topped with smoked eggplant slices. This was another delight! This was also served with salads, a pepper spiced cauliflower based salad being one of the portions served.
Well Café is a place you would enjoy as much for the food and courteous, smiling service as you would for the peaceful escape it provides from all forms of chaos!
If you are ever in Auroville, this is definitely a place you should check out!
P.S.: Trust Google Maps, even if you feel it has lost its mind! It will bring you here.
First look at Artika Café and you feel like you are in a slow-motion video of some lost town. Time probably, literally stops here! Artika Café is one of the best places to laze around in Pondicherry.
It is essentially a black and white shot, with a random table or two adding the colours. Dry leaves and white bougainvillaea decorate the courtyard, giving the feel of a never-ending autumn. The quietness here can be the brand ambassador for Pondicherry’s ‘Peaceful Pondicherry’ tagline! This peacefulness is what drew us here and kept us here and what made us never want to get up and leave!
A narrow and beautiful shrub covered path led us to the graffiti and mural-covered courtyard. There are a few tables in the open courtyard and a few lounge chairs in the shade covered area to just stretch and relax.
There are a few tables inside as well, in an old, pretty worn-out house but we chose outside, obviously!
There is an art gallery and a shop inside, which sort of seems like the thing in Pondicherry!
Once we had taken in the amazing surroundings and rested for a few good minutes, we asked for the menu, which is another surprise. They give you a big handmade paperboard menu that is handwritten – art all the way!
There are quite a few breakfast options, sandwiches, baguettes and crepes to pick from.
They have some really good combos to pick from. The food ranges from affordable to average pricey but one can easily find something
according to their budget.
Another good thing here is the free WiFi for as long as you want.
The service is prompt and super friendly.
We had a Ratatouille and Cheese Sandwich. The aroma of the ratatouille being prepared made our mouths water! The sandwich was delicious, non-spicy ratatouille with lots of veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and more with lots of mozzarella cheese! It was lip-smacking!
We also had Mango Lassi which was more like thick mango pulp smoothie! It was very refreshing and filling!
Artika Café and Gallery should be where you head to, to chill on a hot summer day or to get your work done in peace. And if nothing, a few hours of peace don’t hurt!
We had an amazing time at Artika Café, do tell us about yours!!
“Nope, definitely, this is someone’s home. We are in the wrong place!”
This is how the conversation will go when you first enter Kasha Ki Asha – that you have entered someone’s really well-kempt home and there is no way that a café exists here. Pass by those rooms with handicrafts and khadi kurtas and bags and you reach the centre of the home which again reinforces your belief that this is someone’s home and you are trespassing!
With a small central verandah with lots of flowers, a metallic statue of the dancing God and a few females going about their business, it has got to be a home, no?
Well, it is, but it is a home converted to an art gallery and also houses a café upstairs.
Breathing a sigh of relief that we have to be hungry no longer, we climbed up the narrow staircase to come face to face with the rooftop café and then… and then we smiled!
Kasha Ki Aasha is a dream we all had but never got. A terrace with cane furniture to laze on, lots of plants to keep it cool…. a space where we could relax and spend all our days and evenings and maybe even nights! Away from the chaos and cacophony, one can chill and be at peace at this café for as long as they want. And delicious homecooked food doesn’t hurt either!
We spent hours here, hogging and just sitting, doing nothing, at some points not even talking…just being quiet! That is the type of place Kasha Ki Aasha is. And if you love such places, you will love this one!
The women who run the café come upstairs from time to time to ask for any order or you can go to the stairs and holler for someone but apart from that, they let you be. No one keeps poking asking if you want anything more, something we Mumbaikars, or for that matter, metro-dwellers are not used to!
Coming to the food, they have a small menu and also serve some specials apart from the menu. The quantity is decent and one cannot help feel that the prices are a little high. That kept aside, the food is delicious! Their European and Thai thalis are hot selling and pretty famous! They also serve beer and wine. We stuck to mostly Indian options or Indian with a twist. Here’s what we tried and loved:
Traditional Indian Breakfast– Soft steamed idlis with a bowl of sambhar and a groundnut and coconut based chutney. The sambhar is non-spicy but had the perfect maa-ke-hath ka taste! The quantity of sambhar is a little less and you may have to ask for another bowl. The chutney is delicious too, with no hint of spiciness.
Chappati & Dal Fry – Two large and soft chappatis with slightly crispy centres and a small bowl of dal. Dal again was non-spicy but yummy with lots of onions and ginger. This preparation is again served with the chutney.
Pizza Dosai – Before we tell you what it is, we will tell you that it is delicious!! Two plain uttapams with lots of veggies on top – chopped tomatoes, onions, capsicum and more. This is then finished with lots of cheese! It tastes very slightly sweet owing to the tomato based sauce used to mix the veggies and the batter but the combination overall is amazing and something different!
Onion Dosai with Chutney – Crispy and thin onion dosas. These were again bang-on yummy and can be had even without that chutney!
Black Bean Burger – The black bean burger has two black bean based cutlets with a slightly charred and smokey flavour, topped with tomatoes, capsicum and onions. It is served with a cold macaroni salad that is spiced with black pepper and is delicious. Each of these can be had separately and the combination is lip-smacking.
The café is open only until 7 p.m. which is really sad considering the ambience is perfect for spending your evenings!!
All in all, Kasha Ki Aasha is an amazing place with good food and should find its way to your list of places to visit in Pondicherry!