Raja Cafe (Opposite Entrance, Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho)

In a nutshell:

I was told about Raja Café’s impressive Culinary heritage & we liked food that they served – Inspite of a decline from the time it was a ‘Legendary Restaurant’. It is surely not the best in its category in the current day but surely worth a visit.

the entrance

Meal for 2: Rs. 600 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

I had heard a lot about this place from friends who had visited Khajuraho before – ( 8 – 10 yrs back). As I started chatting with people in Khajuraho, many mentioned the Legend of Raja Café – started by a European couple & used be be a superb place to eat & hang out….in those days. I was also told that it was much better earlier than today.

I was pleasantly surprised as I entered the place. Very nice & casual décor – options to sit outside as well as inside the a/c dining hall. There are two entrance gates on two sides & they r beautifully done. The ‘sit outside’ section has beautiful Garden chairs & the area was dimly lit. The ‘sit inside’ area was brightly lit – good for me coz better lighting means better food snaps. Before coming to this place I thought it wud b plastic chairs & tables like Mediterraneo & other eateries in Khajuraho but it turned out to be pleasantly different.

A view of Raja cafe from outside the gate – open seating section in the front & indoor seating in the background

The staff member who served us was good, quite prompt & served us with a smiling face. He handled our queries (about the menu) well. I wud say that he was as good as one cud get in this part of country.

They had quite a huge menu card – ‘Fresh from our Bakery’ section starts with apple pie, croissants, muffins, lemon tart, Brownie etc. drinks like different kinds of coffee including the likes of cappuccino hazelnut, different kinds of tea, many options of shakes, vegetarian & non vegetarian club sandwiches, the usual list of beverages, Indian, Continental & English breakfast, omelets of diff kind – European & indian, Chinese soups & main course, a huge section of continental – 16 to 18 dishes & a list of North Indian approximate 10 vegetarian & 10 nonvegetarian options. In Tandoori section they had approximately 12 diff tikkas, nans & kababs. Apart from this they offered 4 kinds of south indian dosas. For desserts one cud choose from a long list of pancakes, waffles, banana flambé & banana fritters. They also had Indian Fixed menu & the most interesting named item – ‘European thali’ (grilled mixed veg, pasta with tomato sauce, rice pudding, mashed potato)

the menu card

The large menu was very balanced menu with almost equal number of vegetarian & nonvegetarian food on offer in each section.
Food was good but not outstanding. Good place to spend some time & eat some good food when in Khajuraho – Food at Mediterraneo was far better.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:

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Tree house Restaurant at Ken River Lodge (Village Madla, District Panna, Madhya Pradesh)

In a nutshell:

Super loved the look, feel, detailing & the overall experience at ‘tree House’ just besides the huge Ken River & liked the food that was more like ‘home cooked’ than at a Restaurant.

Entrance to the campus of Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

Address & other details: Ken River Lodge

Meal for 2: Rs. 800 onwards (without alcohol)

Buffet @ Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian (Not available always)

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

Located 35 kms away from Khajuraho & very near to Panna Forest Reserve, this restaurant is quite an experience – Taxis & autorickshaws are available in abundance to take u there. The roads from Khajuraho to Panna are narrow but not bad . To go to this lodge, one has to get into a village road & the as the road ends, one has to enter a dirt track. The scenery is beautiful & the experience awesome.

Scenery as u approach Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

Post u park the car, u have to walk to the Ken river lodge – starting with a rustic wooden footbridge.

wooden foot bridge @ Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

As u enter the clearing where the ‘Tree house’ is situated, u realize that it is not a tree house in the true sense. It is a large hall with a large balcony (facing the river) made with wood but placed on a strong cement structure.

‘Tree House’ Dining Hall @ Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

Branches of real trees protrude from the floor of the dining hall.

Trees protruding out @ Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

The wooden balcony with the river flowing by, has seating arrangements & it is amazing – It is great for some romantic moments & also for a group of 5-6 friends.

Balcony seating @ Ken River lodge, Panna, Madhya Pradesh

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Madras Coffee House (Opposite Ticket Counter , Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho)

In a nutshell:

I just hope someone opens an eatery in Gurgaon that serves such good food as Madras Coffee House, Khajuraho.

the facade of Madras Coffee House

Meal for 2: Rs. 120 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

If u talk location in Khajuraho, nothing can get better than this – situated bang Opposite the Ticket counter of the most popular Western Group of temples. In other words, the place where this restaurant is located is like ‘the Times Square of Khajuraho’.

Outstanding masala dosa @ Madras Coffee House Khajuraho

The owner & his family stay in the same premises – in rooms besides the Dining Hall. I had a brief chat with him post I praised the taste of the food here. He said he came from Southern part of India in the 1950s, briefly ran a shop in Malviya Nagar Delhi & then moved to Khajuraho & has stayed back ever since.

The facade has not been painted quite long & the interiors are also as basic as it can get – but neat & clean.

The interiors of the restaurant – Madras Coffee House Khajuraho

The traditional food is awesome & I found it better than most Delhi & Gurgaon Restaurants. They also serve fusion food like Cheese Dosa, cheese utthapam etc , which seems to be very popular with the European tourists.

In fact, they also serve non South Indian Food like different kinds of Omelet, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, different kinds of pancakes, porridge, sandwiches, thali, South Indian curries, North Indian curries & even egg Biryani, veg chowmein & egg chowmein!!!!

utthapam @ Madras Coffee House Khajuraho

We stuck to basic South Indian food & it was awesome.

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Mediterraneo (Gol Market, Khajuraho)

In a nutshell:

An Italian food shop that serves better food than most Italian Food Restaurants in Delhi NCR – our tastebuds had a superb time here.

facade of the restaurant

Address & other details: Ask any auto wallah to take u to the Gol Market – Its easy to spot Mediterraneo in that super tiny market.

Meal for 2: Rs. 600 onwards

YUMM lamb preparation @ Mediterraneo, Khajuraho

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

This Restaurant is advertised as an airconditioned Italian Restaurant with ‘Italian Chef & Dutch supervision’. The restaurant is located on the first floor – one has to enter a narrow alley to go upstairs. As we climbed up to the first floor, we realized that the Restaurant had 3 sections in it – First was an open area with cement tables (that were smartly colored) & plastic chairs.

Open air seating @ Mediterraneo, Khajuraho

The middle section had beamed ceiling like yester-years & stone slabs atop those (in place of a ‘dhalai’ cement ceiling). Ceiling fans hanging from the beams. At the end of the room was a wood & glass showcase as is commonly seen in people’s homes – this was full of small antiquities & wooden handicrafts. The walls had beautiful rustic indian pictures & paintings.

Non A/C middle section @ Mediterraneo, Khajuraho

Towards the end, there was an air conditioned restaurant section. Since we walked in at 12.00 noon, we asked the Guy at the Restaurant to guide us to the A/C section. He said with a very polite tone – ‘Sorry sir, we have not yet opened the A/C section as it is unviable for only 2 guests. As more & more people walk in, we will start the A/C. Request you to sit in the Middle section.’ He said this in a very open & informal way, with a lot of honesty – I appreciated the same.

Wood fired Stone oven in which YUMM pizzas are baked @ Mediterraneo, Khajuraho

We sat in the middle section. Surprisingly it was good – even after 3-4 hours of walking in the sun seeing the historical monuments in Khajuraho. On a later visit, we saw a large cooler being brought in as well. The view was not bad & the place was quite airy too.

While climbing up I had noticed a washroom at the ground floor – it was however on lock & keys. I figured out much later that for using the washroom I had to ask the staff – they wud give a key & I wud have to use the washroom, lock it back & return the keys upstairs!!!

The staff was very polite & warm. I came to know that this Restaurant was started by a European lady & now it is run by one of her Indian acquaintances.

Thin crust Pizza @ Mediterraneo, Khajuraho

The food was the focus here & I was pleasantly shocked to find such good food at Khajuraho. Not too many restaurants even in Delhi can make as good thin crust pizza as Mediterraneo makes in their Wood fired Stone Oven. The pasta served here is ‘home made’ as well. Meats & Salads options r too good. For desserts in-house made crepes of different kinds hogged the limelight

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