The most delicious Indian food
Susanne Mulholland

Susanne Mulholland

Owner and Tour Leader

How much spending money should I take with me to India – eating out

This guide looks at the costs of eating out while on holiday in India. It will help you decide how much spending money you should bring with you on holiday.
view from the restaurant over the lake
view from the Ambrai restaurant over the lake in Udaipur

Spending money for restaurants on your holiday in India

One of the most common questions we receive is “how much should I bring on holiday with me?”

 

When I ask the same question it usually means “how little can I get away with bringing with
me?


The reality is that it all comes down to your personal preferences. You can survive on a very tight budget in India. There are loads of great information out there that will guide you. What you will find below is what I like to think of as the middle ground. Not lavish, although I can certainly do that if the finances allow but certainly not skimping on my comforts.


If you’re in the major cities it can cost you a lot more than the smaller regional areas. Sometimes a lot more. Often I feel the prices are the same as back in Australia or the UK.

This guide focuses on eating out.

 

My basic daily travel allowance

 

I can live nicely on ₹1200 a day which covers non-alcoholic drinks, lunch, a light dinner and possibly a coffee.

Eating out

One of the joys of visiting India is trying all the different food. India is such a diverse country and this is reflected in the different specialties that you can discover.

Street Food

The key to good quality street food is to find selections that are freshly cooked and you’ve seen coming out of the cooker. You can enjoy a nice selection to share for ₹200 for two.

Drinks

From the small hole in the wall family run stall to delightful rooftop establishments, there are a number of great options. Many places do not serve alcohol, so always check if you are after a cocktail.
For everyday drinks expect to pay approximately:

  • Masala chai – ₹40 – ₹80
  • Fresh lime soda – ₹80 – ₹120
  • Cappuccino – ₹90 – ₹130
Masala Chai

Meals

We recommend you check out the www.zomato.com app or website for reviews and menus.You can have an enjoyable thali for ₹300 or an amazing dinner at a luxury hotel. Non-veg options are always more expensive than the vegetarian equivalent. You could pay ₹190 for the vegetarian option of the dish and ₹350 for the lamb or chicken option. Most high-end restaurants will not set your bank account into the red, as they could at home. However, check to ensure if the prices include tax. 

Taxes at restaurants

If you are stopping to have a drink in an upmarket hotel the prices will be a lot higher due to the taxes that need to be charged.

  • service tax – around 6%
  • service charge – levied by the establishment and often 10%
  • VAT for the food – 5% for standalone establishments and 18% if at a hotel where the room rate is about ₹7500.
  • Alcohol has a separate tax rate. 

Oh, and some of the rates are state based, so will be different depending on where you are.

Prices in menus usually are exclusive of the tax rate. 

The photo here is of Bar Palladio in Jaipur where I have enjoyed a nice dinner with a cocktail for about ₹2500.

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