Laughing Buddha is one of most atmospheric places to eat in Hampi. With serene river views that span beyond the temples and ruins, this riverside restaurant is the place you want to spend your evening at. Food here takes ages to arrive, so thankfully this atmospheric shady hut is a good place to chill out with cushioned seating on the floor. The crowd is chilled out with mostly foreigners and a few Indians here and there. And also a bunch of mixed crowds. This is a great place to connect with fellow travellers and people from different parts of the world. We had two friends join us while dining at Laughing Buddha. So it made six of us. I met Lisa and her friend at Laughing Buddha and we all had a great time talking about her hometown London, her stay in Goa, her travel experiences and our Hampi trip.
Laughing Buddha isn't set along the main road in Virupapur Gadde (Hippie Island). Even though there's nothing like the main road, I meant the road which other guesthouses and restaurants are situated at. You need to walk a five minutes walk off the main street to reach this place. It is dark and shady. If we were in the city we would avoid this place, but since we were traveling and Hippie Island was considered safe, we walked through the dark alley. And at the end we found a lit shed. It's just a little shack on the river side. Laughing Buddha has a similar setting as The Mango Tree. A very chilled out vibe with people comfortably sitting on the mattresses - chatting, eating and enjoying a drink.
I've heard the view is really great. But since we went there in the night, we hardly could see anything. The weather was a little more pleasant than other parts of Hampi which was warm and dry even in the night. There is TV and WiFi available. Also, Laughing Buddha is one of the few places that serves non-vegetarian food and booze. The lighting is minimal with just a few incandescent lanterns hanging above.
The menu includes a variety of finger food, Indian and continental food. We opted for a variety on our table. Even though no one drank, we ate to our hearts content. For starters we went in for Chicken Chilley and Crispy Chicken. They were amazing. Recommended.
But what we ordered next wasn't up to the mark. We got a Chicken Burger and Chicken Penne Pasta with Red Sauce. The pattie in the burger was dry and hard. There wasn't any cheese or even hints of mayonnaise in it. It was just the pattie with some veggies served between the buns. The Salad and French Fries which accompanied the burger were delightful. Thank Goodness, these saved our evening. The pasta again was tasteless and not worth ordering. Not recommended. Only go in for the starters. They were really nice.
For dessert we had something delicious. I forgot the name though. It was caramelised bananas served with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate genache. As I said in my previous post, the fruits in Hampi were so fresh and juicy that every fruit dish or dessert tasted so good.
Laughing Buddha was on top of the to-visit restaurant in Hampi. I had it on my mind ever since I started planning the Hampi trip. Even though the ambience was great, the location, the food and the service weren't good. Probably this place came as a disappointment since I had high hopes from it having heard so much about it and recommendations from friends. But whatever, this visit let me tick off the top visit place in Hampi. I'd recommend this place for chilling out with friends over drinks and some finger food.
Text and photographs: Flexcia D'souza || Food Blogger Goa