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The Brown Bread Bakery has plunged abysmally in terms of hygiene, ambiance and service, ever since the original German owner Michael left after differences with his Indian partner. Drawn in by previous glowing reviews in popular backpacker guides, unsuspecting budget travelers and backpackers still arrive here only to be greeted by a musty odor, mice scurrying hurriedly between cushions and lethargic service. Make sure you ask the waiter if you are likely to get what is included in a set meal; the chefs often replace non-vegetarian items for vegetarian ones, for example mushrooms replace meat. The menu rattles on about various N.G.O's supported by this cafe as well as the freshest meat being flown in from Delhi. For what it's worth, the prices are inflated but then again, to each his own. Go for yourself and check it out - and maybe later head to the newer Brown Bread Bakery on the other side of the road for an unbiased comparison. The old Brown Bread Bakery is a perfect example of how change in management can make or break a business.
Varanasi Cafe and Bakery Restaurant has been a city landmark for quite some time. The bakery-restaurant is serves up authentic Indian and European preparations in a no-frills, homey setting. Be it those appetizing salads, hot soups, decadent baked eats or savory noodles, everything is cooked fresh and with the choicest of ingredients available. Nosh on their specials like salami, pastas and noodles and indulge in mellow pies and croissants for dessert.
Shri Restaurant is the rooftop dining venue of the eponymous guesthouse in the heart of the holy city. The open-air space features a rustic vibe, of wooden planks, dining booths, small lamps and a thatched roof lending it a very countryside feel. Menu features an array of Indian and European breakfast specialties, apart from light bites, pizzas, sizzlers and Chinese picks.
i:ba Cafe Restaurant is a slice of Japan in Varanasi in every respect. With a wonderful decor that stands out from the rest of the eateries, one can expect a slew of authentically prepared Japanese dishes served to perfection. Prices are not too high and the service is friendly. The only downside is its distance from the main Dasashwamedh Road however if you happen to be living around Assi Ghat, i:ba is not too far.
The Pizzeria Vatika Cafe deserves all of the acclaim it receives - this place truly dishes out the best Italian cuisine offered in all of Varanasi, and the standards haven't dropped since its inception in 1993. Wood-fired pizzas, focacia, cheesy lasgnas and even Chinese and Indian dishes await you at this cafe ensconced in leafy foliage where obliging waiters attend to you with rapt attention. For dessert, try their much-loved apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon! Pretty views of the river and a chance to catch up with other backpackers is yet another reason why Vatika emerges a winner.