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Located a few minutes away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Raj Bandhu Sweet Shop is buzzing with activity during all times of the day. Selling the choicest sweetmeats in town at fixed rates, you can even sample a few of the usual suspects such as gulab jamun, jalebi, motichur laddoo and others. Spicy deep-fried snacks that Indians consume at tea time are also on offer. This shop is hard to miss because of the line of policemen who sit right by the entrance to guard the little streets leading up to the temple.
Run by the Japanese woman Megu, along with her Indian business partner Sanjay, the Megu Cafe offers diners a restful break from the chaotic alleys outside. This cozy restaurant boasts an exciting and authentic menu where all of the dishes are prepared by a skillful Japanese cook. Cute wooden chairs and tables with glass tops make for a pretty picture while the chopsticks invite the initiated to try their hand at it! While Japanese tourists understandably flock here, locals and others are not left behind. Closed on Sundays.
Jaffles Restaurant is the in-house restaurant of one of the city's oldest accommodations for budget travelers, the Yogi Lodge. Open even to casual passersby and locals, expect to be treated to an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian (rarity in Varanasi) delicacies crafted by the chef's skillful hands. This is also a great chance to mingle with budget travelers and hippies in the Old City.
Lassi, a yogurt drink topped with fruits and spices, is hugely popular in the Northern side of India, and Varanasi has the atmospheric Blue Lassi Shop to boast an exclusive shop. Painted in blazing blue, the small outlet is on the narrow alley leading to the mighty Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The small seating area has a nice display of photographs. Served in earthen pots, the drink is a must-try while in India; look no further than this blue laden charmer to try it out.
Located in a bustling area of Dasashwamedh Road just by the main entrance of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Madhur Milan Cafe is a small, unpretentious affair which lets the food do the talking. Locals and Westerners flock here to indulge in flavorful and generous helpings of popular Indian fare such as parathas, dosa, samosa, pav bhaji, paneer pakoras and more for unbelievably cheap rates. Not your regular cafe built within an actual structure, this one is essentially an open space which sees the chefs tossing dosas on large heated pans in full view of the street. A few seats are available for seating however standing and eating is the way to go about it!. A small counter at the side displays mouth-watering traditional Indian sweets in glass cases that can be had after your meal.
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.