Shimla has no dearth of dining options, but the town definitely suffers from a lack of quality specialty venues -- most places tend to spread their bets in their attempt to satisfy the tastes of tourists, most of whom come from India's cities. Of these bland, mostly anonymous joints, your best bet is probably Baljee's (26 The Mall; tel. 0177/265-2313), where there's plenty of choice (stick to the Indian dishes, though, unless you're dead-set on a substandard burger or uninteresting Chinese), and the mix of diners provides decent entertainment. If you want to have a taste of a local specialty, then don't miss the aloo sabzi and poori (potato curry with deep-fried pancakelike bread) at Mehar Chand (Lower Bazaar; tel. 0177/265-3402), which also sells Indian sweets. But, honestly, the only place in Shimla where you'll find consistently spectacular and authentic Himachal specialties is at The Restaurant at the Cecil hotel -- the baluchi raan (tandoor roasted lamb leg flavored with mace, cardamom, and saffron) in particular is excellent, and there are eight different Himachali specialty dishes available per day.

Finally, high tea at Wildflower Hall is legendary -- sample the local infusions along with traditional Irish tea brack bread -- a baked reminder of the Raj, speckled with raisins and sultanas, steeped in Darjeeling tea, and served with unsalted butter and lemon curd. The restaurant at Wildflower is arguably the best in the state, where you can satisfy most cravings -- everything, from traditional Chaa gosht (a Himachali preparation of baby lamb in yogurt) to delicious ravioli and risotto, is prepared with a masterful hand.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.