Discovering Pondicherry's Best Cafes: A Guide To The Top 10
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Puducherry (Pondicherry) has long been renowned for its thriving café culture that caters to every taste and mood, from cute, tiny bistros to stylish upscale patisseries. As you wander through the charming streets of Pondy, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and baked goods will lure you in to discover some of the best cafes this town has to offer, offering the perfect break from a long day of exploring the city’s many sprawling beaches and old colonial buildings.

1. Coromandel Cafe 

The Coromandel Cafe and Restaurant is a contemporary eatery that is a part of the legendary La Maison Rose complex. The restaurant continues to thrive under the creative direction of head chef Jay Adams. The restaurant is focused on delivering a customer-centric experience using the best seasonal produce, sourced from local suppliers that are based in the city as well as from friends of the establishment that are based in Auroville. Customers can expect to feast on a seafood-heavy menu that features local flavors presented using classical French cooking techniques. The restaurant also serves Blue Tokai coffee and is pet-friendly, making it an ideal stop for an evening stroll with your pet. The signature cheesecake and rhubarb margarita are must-haves while at the restaurant.

Address: 8 Romain Rolland St, White Town

Price for two: INR 2,000 (with alcohol)

Timings: 8:30 am-10:30 pm 

2. Baker Street

This "concept store" is helmed by an eighth-generation Alsatian pastry chef, Mr. Jean Luc Klugesherz, and dishes out traditional and contemporary French desserts made using local ingredients. The establishment is renowned for its impeccable breads and viennoiseries, which are made daily in house. All items sold in the restaurant are made from scratch, including popular fondant cakes and ice creams.

Address: 123, Bussy Street, Near Clock Tower, MG Road Area

Price for two: INR 1,200

Timings: 7 am-10 pm, open 7 days a week

3. Indian Coffee House 

This charming old cafe was the inspiration for Yann Martel’s bestselling book "Life of Pi." Avid readers will instantly recognize the interiors of this fifty-year-old institution, which have remained almost unchanged from what Martel described at the time of writing the bestselling novel. The cafe is frequented by all manner of folk, who are drawn to the establishment’s economic prices and high-quality coffee. The establishment prides itself on serving 100% arabica coffee with no chicory added. Visitors can expect to feast on a range of petit fours, from veggie cutlets to French toast. A cup of coffee at the cafe with an accompanying snack will run you about 500 rupees.

Address: 125, Jawaharlal Nehru St, opp. Muthu Silk House, MG Road Area

Price for two: INR 500

Timings: 6:30 am-10 pm 

4. Bread & Chocolate 

This Auroville-based minimalistic cafe continues to be at the forefront of innovation in the Indian pastry scene. The cafe is run by Daniel Trulson, a pastry chef from Chicago. The cafe serves specialty coffee sourced from Subko Coffee in Mumbai and desserts made with chocolate produced by Mason & Co., the Auroville chocolaterie owned by the cafe’s co-founder, Fabien Bontems. The cafe is frequented by people all over the country who come to taste Trulson’s take on various classic and contemporary French pastries and viennoiseries, which are the results of years of training under some of the best names in the industry. 

Address: MDR 1115, Auroville Rd., Kuilapalayam

Price for two: INR 1,000

Timings: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., closed on Mondays

5. Crêpe in Contact

This beautiful crêperie is housed in an old colonial building with large, spacious interiors that are perfect for a family brunch. The establishment is famous across town for its many crepes and galettes, which are economically priced and of extremely high quality. The perfect spot for people watching their calories, this crepe shop uses a range of batters, including ones made from buckwheat and quinoa, paired with a range of fillings, from classics like tomato and cheese to house specials like the Lorrient, which features hummus and feta.

Address: 29 Needarajapaiyer St, MG Road Area

Price for two: INR 800

Timings: 9:00 am-6:00 pm, closed on Mondays

6. Marc’s Cafe  

This quaint cafe is considered one of the pioneers of third-wave coffee roasting in India. The establishment is helmed by Marc Tormo, a roaster and Q-grader with over twenty years of experience in the coffee industry. Marc roasts coffee daily on a Probat roaster for both the drinks served in the shop and the bags sold on the cafe’s website. The highlight of the cafe is the extensive coffee menu, which features a range of plain and milk-based coffees that are based on the several single origins and blends that are roasted on site.

Address: Auroville Rd, Auroville, Kuilapalayam

Price for two: INR 500

Timings: 8:00 am-8:00 pm 

7. Café des Arts

Café des Arts is a homey cafe that extensively features French colonial architecture in an open courtyard setting. The cafe is famous for serving French staples and Indian comfort food at economical prices. The apple crepes and ratatouille are highly recommended by the patrons of the establishment.

Address: 10 Suffren St, White Town

Price for two: INR 800

Timings: 9 am-6 pm, closed on Tuesdays

8. Rendezvous Cafe Restaurant

This modern rooftop restaurant is situated in the heart of Pondicherry’s French Quarter and has been serving delicious Mangalorean food to locals and tourists since the mid-nineties. The restaurant is helmed by the mother-daughter duo, Vanessa and Valerie Mathias. The Mangalorean chicken ghee roast and vanilla panna cotta are must-haves here.

Address: 30 Suffren St, White Town

Price for two: INR 2,500 (with alcohol)

Timings: 12-3:30 pm, 6:30-10:30 pm; closed on Tuesdays

9. Lé Cafe 

This beautiful open-air cafe is housed in the beautiful Promenade Hotel, overlooking the beautiful emerald waters of the Bay of Bengal. The restaurant features a range of continental fare with a heavy French influence that is typical of the area. Organic coffees and baguettes are made fresh in the cafe and are highly recommended.

Address: 23 Beach Rd, White Town

Price for two: INR 500

Timings: 12:00 am-12:00 pm 

10. Courtyard restaurant, Le Dupleix

This French restaurant is located in the heart of the beautiful Le Dupleix hotel, where customers can enjoy a range of French and Creole cuisine under the shade of a centuries-old mango tree. The restaurant places an emphasis on sourcing natural and/or organic produce daily. The butternut squash with parmesan pudding and the creme caramel are the highlights of the menu.

Address: 7 Casern St, White Town

Price for two: INR 1,500

Timings: 7:00-10:00 am; 12:00-3:00 pm; 7:00-10:30 pm