The Lazy Dog | My favourite venue in Old Manali

Unarguably, old Manali’s most scenic hangout, The Lazy Dog enjoys the luxury of the best outdoor seating, with a scenic view of Minalsu River and the beautiful green mountains.

Outdoor - The Lazy Dog
Outdoor – The Lazy Dog

In the past few years, everyone I know who had returned from Manali, spoke highly of The Lazy Dog. And those who went in off-season, came back disappointed, as its not operational during that period. So, I consider myself lucky that I finally managed to visit the most talked about place in Manali.

Started by Gopal Kaushik, a young journalist turned restaurateur from Delhi, The Lazy Dog, Manali is now 8 years old. Turning a shabby little shack, into this fancy restaurant, wasn’t easy. Gopal and his partner worked day and night, built the café brick by brick. Even today Gopal, singlehandedly keeps reinventing the place. A mountain side, acts like a wall for the outside seating area and doubles up as the arena for live gigs. When I asked Gopal, how did he manage to get the best spot in Old Manali to open a café, his reply was instant and came almost before I finished my question: “I am the luckiest guy in the country”. I couldn’t agree with more.

Interiors - The Lazy Dog
Interiors – The Lazy Dog

I visited Lazy Dog for the first time, around lunchtime and took my backpack along. As I took a seat in the open, I instantly fell in love with the setting. The gushing sound of the river, the spectacular mountains, lovely flowers and greenery around me, were more than enough to make me smile. After exchanging a few pleasantries with the staff, I found out, there were two friends who loved travelling, turned partners and opened this cafe, however, Gopal is the only one running the business now.

A few minutes into the conversation and after a few beers, my siblings and me ordered for food. We had already decided to binge on Trout fish, so we ordered for:

  • Fresh Rainbow Trout (grilled, served with lemon butter sauce and grilled veggies)
  • Chicken Schnitzel with fries
Fresh Rainbow trout with fries and veggies, lemon butter garlic sauce - The Lazy Dog
Fresh Rainbow trout with fries and veggies, lemon butter garlic sauce – The Lazy Dog

The Trout was beautifully grilled to perfection with mild spices and the lemon butter sauce on top, just added an amazing zing to it. The mushrooms and broccoli added further crunch to the soft, mushy fish and sauce. This single bonefish was a lot easier to finish and we certainly did so, in no time.

Chicken Schnitzel - The Lazy Dog
Chicken Schnitzel – The Lazy Dog

Chicken Schnitzel comprised of a big piece of chicken covered in crunchy batter, fried and served with fries and tomato ketchup. Though it tasted good, but it couldn’t match up to the one I’ve had at Café Illiterati in Dharamsala.

With out tummies full, we sat there for some more time and played few card games. As we decided to leave, live music came on, with a wonderful band singing earthy, soulful and melodious songs. We just didn’t want to leave now.

Gopal and his staff are really friendly and kind. Such was the hospitality that I couldn’t help but spend hours sitting there. When I travel to different cities, besides having great food, I try to find a place that you would want to go back to. I found several lovely places in Manali, but nowhere else would you get to lose yourself in the sounds of the river or the chirping of birds. Lazy Dog is the perfect dream come true, for all those looking to escape the mad race of cities and spend laid back moments in the lap of nature, of course, with a pint of beer.

For more, Read : Best places to eat in Old Manali 

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