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Tucked away in the by-lanes of Varanasi's Old City lies the Vishnu Tea Emporium whose hand-painted signs are seen on almost every wall of the ghats area and its alleys. Young Vishnu who speaks a smattering of French proudly discusses how he explains the tea-making process to French tourists in their own language. Home-made spices and coffees are up for sale, while those wanting to sample a hot tea before buying it can do so too.
Jyoti Cafe is a neighborhood spot to relish authentic local cuisine preparations in a no-frills setting. The friendly owners are quite welcoming of their guests, which usually comprise foreign tourists and locals alike. Stop in for a hearty breakfast of mueseli curd honey, cornflakes or the wholesome porridge, even as you get to choose from a wide selection of lunch and dinner options like aromatic curries, rice dishes, noodles and chopsuey.
Spicy Bites is a family-friendly oriental cuisine restaurant in the heart of the holy city. Located on the busy Bangali Tola Road close to the iconic city ghats, this eatery serves up classic Japanese, Korean, continental and Indian specialties. Start off with any of its appetizing soups and take the culinary experience ahead with staple oriental dishes like Okuradon, Chicken Chukadon and those wholesome sushi rolls. Chinese and North Indian preparations are also an all-time favorite here.
Apex Restaurant is the in-house restaurant of Varanasi's charming waterfront, budget hotel - Hotel Alka. Like most others, it serves only vegetarian dishes but no one's complaining. The chefs dish out an assortment of typically North Indian fare as well as Chinese and some Continental dishes. Recommended is the dal khichdi with curd and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Apex has shaded areas as well as alfresco areas but the seating space by the edge offers diners superb birds eye views of the ghats and people going about their daily routine. A good idea would be to catch a meal here on a full moon night - nothing quite compares to surreal sight of silver moonshine gleaming upon the dark waters of the Ganges.
Perched on the rooftop of Kautilya Society, Filocafe is a neighborhood bistro frequented by the society's residents. The breezy terrace coffee shop offers an exciting selection of hot and cold beverages, frappes and light bites. Apart from the delicious espressos and cappuccinos, it also serves up about 45 different kinds of teas.
Kerala Cafe in the heart of the sacred city serves up delectable South Indian grub in a relaxed setting. The no-frills eatery offers an exciting menu featuring South Indian standards like lemon rice, masala dosa, filter coffee and other classics. Hop in for a typical Kerala-style feast and enjoy the generous portions and friendly service.