Singalila Restaurant – Home Cooked Flavors in Darjeeling, India

By Mark Wiens 13 Comments
Eating in Darjeeling, India
Eating in Darjeeling, India

It’s often in circumstances when you’re not searching, that you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Same goes for good restaurants.

After a 4 hour zigzagging mountain jeep ride from New Jalpaigur to Darjeeling, we were hungry. And so hungry in fact, that even though I wanted to find somewhere good, I was willing to eat just about anything.

And that’s when we stumbled right into a restaurant that was just like Vishalatchi Food and Catering in Kuala Lumpur (not by the genre of food they served, but by the deliciousness) – a restaurant so good I’d have to return to eat multiple meals in a row.

Pork curry
Pork curry

Singalila Restaurant is very simple.

Open the curtain, walk down 2 steps, and you’re in the little dining section where there are about 3 long tables paired with benches. The kitchen is just to the left hand side and during lunchtime hours the restaurant is always filled with jeep drivers satisfying themselves with delicious food.

It’s a family restaurant, mainly operated by another incredible motherly cook and her daughters.

The toughest thing about eating at Singalila Restaurant were the near freezing temperatures outside and inside… but once that food arrived, I nearly forgot about the outside temperature.

Piping hot beef curry
Piping hot beef curry

There’s no menu at Singalila Restaurant, and you get whatever is available that particular day.

The food is mostly native dishes from the area, a mixture of Sikkimese and Tibetan flavors accompanied by a bit of Indian influence.

You always start off with a plate of rice, a couple of mixed vegetable curries of the day, and a side of dal.

From there, you can order a meat addition. The first day I had the beef curry and pork curry (pictured above), a powerfully flavorful concoction of chunks of meat that were ridiculously tender, warm, and so flavorful.

Darjeeling restaurants
Chicken curry to die for

The next day I had the chicken curry, an equally delightful curry.

Plate of garnishes and a killer green sauce
Plate of garnishes and a killer green sauce

And one of my personal favorite things about Singalila Restaurant was the communal plate of garnishes and hot sauce.

The little ball chillies were about the size of marbles, but they were indeed fiery, and warmed me right up. The green sauce, which I still haven’t been able to fully identify what it all included, was one of the top sauces I’ve ever had.

Just like pol sambol, I had dreams about the green sauce.

Beef thukpa noodle soup
Beef thukpa noodle soup

Though I ate the rice meal at Singalila Restaurant nearly everyday I was in Darjeeling, India, I hadn’t tried their Tibetan style thukpa noodle soup.

So on my last day in Darjeeling, in addition to a plate of marvelous rice and curry, I had a bowl of the motherly beef noodles. It was served quite plain, but after adding a few squeezes of lime, those insane chillies, and some onions to the mix, it was quite a beefy delightful bowl of noodles. Still, I preferred the rice.

A extremely satisfying meal in Darjeeling, India
A extremely satisfying meal in Darjeeling, India

There are few things more rewarding than finding and eating motherly meals when you travel!

Singalila Restaurant, Darjeeling, India
Singalila Restaurant, Darjeeling, India

Singalila Restaurant – Darjeeling, India

Hours: Opens around 12 pm or so, best to eat here for lunch

How to get there: The restaurant is located in a jeep driver hangout parking lot, across the street from Hotel Capital and across the intersection from Keventer’s (a famous restaurant). It’s just down the main road from Chowrasta Square at the 4 way intersection.

If you’re on your way to Darjeeling, be sure to check out my Darjeeling travel guide.

13 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Chering

    2 years ago

    Hello Mark,
    This is he recipe for the green sauce:
    Blend a handful of Mint & Coriander with boiled tomato (1) & chili and salt in a mixer.
    Cheers

  • SaravanaKumar

    7 years ago

    I just went through your Darjeeling Travel Guide which was very informative. I have planned to visit this beautiful place within couple of months..I will ensure that I, with my family go to the Singalilas..

  • Devdutta Sen

    7 years ago

    Will definitely check the place out in May.

  • Devdutta Sen

    7 years ago

    I am travelling to Darjeeling in May this year.Will definitely visit.The food looks delicious. You get the some variety of food in all the hill areas of North East India.Do visit again.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Davdutta, great to hear from you and that you’ll be going to Darjeeling soon. Enjoy the food!

  • paul | walkflypinoy

    8 years ago

    I fell in love with the chutneys and curries in India. I am amazed at how they combine simple ingredients and spices into sauces that has layers and layers of flavor. probably like the green sauce you had above. And yeah, local family run restaurants usually spell good food.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Yes, those curries and sauces at homestyle restaurants are just unbelievable!

  • Laura

    8 years ago

    Oh man, now I’m regretting reading this! My mouth is watering, but I have to go to bed. Aiyah…

  • Maria

    8 years ago

    What a spread?! To judge that restaurant by it’s ‘cover’ I’d never guess… so glad you took care of that for me. *grin*

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Haha, yes just a small curtain… and it leads to meals that are so delicious!

  • CJ

    8 years ago

    It looks SOOO GOOD! God, I have to visit Darjeeling again! It been 9 years and I wasn’t adventourous about food back then! Your blog rocks!

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Thanks CJ, hope you can visit Darjeeling again soon!