Nainital offers a variety of cuisines to tourist travelling here which is not only scrumptious but nutritious and pleasing to your palate. This includes ranges of continental, Mughlai, Punjabi and Seasonal local cuisines as well. People who enjoy fish recipes can go for Bengali cuisines prepared by Bengali and Tharus settlers. Brahmins in hill stations do consume meat like Lamb, Chicken and fish are also prepared here in the North-Indian style.
As you walk along the Mall road in Nainital, you can enjoy delectable variety of authentic Chinese food like momo or dim-sum, soups, chowmein or fried Chinese noodles, Chinese fried rice, wonton soups etc. with a steaming hot cup of tea next to the Tibetan Market situated along the roadside. If you want to experience the uniqueness of this town, do visit a very small eating joint that specialises in Lotta wale Jalebis and great samosas which is situated up a lane behind the bus stand and if you think you might get lost though that is likely possible in such a small town, do ask for directions. For those who want better ambience, you can visit the various restaurants along the walkway and restaurants in hotels near Mallital and Tallital who offer lamb, chicken, prawns and other multi cuisines. For vegetarians, you can eat at Ashok Vegetarian restaurant which is very economical to your pocket.
Food in Nainital also known as Kumaoni cuisine is very simply prepared with less hassles and that suits the harsh environments of all seasons of this small town. They mostly constitute of rice, wheat, mandua and other variety of grains, Urad Daal, Gehet Daal [also spelled as Gahat by some], Bhatt Daal, Masoor Daal with white meat and lamb. Cuisines specially prepared during festive occasions or guests consist of Puris, Pua, Spinach Kappa, Bade, Shyali, Kheer, Raita and Khatai coupled with a few more. For those who are food lovers and dont mind trying something new for your palate, a few lodges in Nainital do offer local Kumaoni cuisines.
Kumaoni recipes range from Chudkani and Bhattiya made of Bhatt & Soya beans, Gautras made of Gehet, Jholee made from Matha, Gabba vegetable with Jhakya. Others made locally are Aloo Daal Pakora [Potato mixed with gram pulses fried as snacks], Aloo Gutke [Potato Balls], Aloo Tamaatar Jhol [Potato and Tomato stew], Baadi, Bhang Chutney, Chainsoo, Gehet Kulath Soup, Gehet Kulath Daal, Gehet Chappaties, Gehet Rasmi Badi or Koftas, Jhangore ki Kheer [Sweet Dish made of condensed milk and rice with spices], Jholee [also spelled as 'Jholi' is curry seasoned with curd], Kappa [Made with Gram paste and Spinach with spices], Kafuli, Lesu, Mandua Ki Roti, Mixed Bhaddu Daal, Phaanu, Rus, Sani Huee Mooli and Nimbu [radish and lemon juice salad], Sisunak Saag [Made of spinach], Thatwani [also spelled as 'Thechwani'], Til ki Chutney [pickle made of onion seeds], Urad Daal ke Pakore [Fried snacks made of Urad pulse], Roat and many more.