Almost every review you read about eating places around Kasauli will mention Gyani Dhaba at Dharampur. Most will suggest that you eat there at least once en route to or from Kasauli. So we did give it a try on our way to Kasauli. Gyani Dhaba is not a typical dhaba and you will be disappointed if you expect khaats spread outside and trucks parked around. Instead you will find scores of cars some of them luxury ones parked in the front. It is an indication of the kind of clientele that frequents Gyani Dhaba.
As you drive from Kalka to Kasauli the scenery and vistas just gets more serene and beautiful. But as you near small junctions where there are shops and small eateries the noise level increases phenomenally. Gyani Dhaba is on a stretch of road which has small eateries, shops and cafés on both sides for about a kilometer or so. There is nothing unique about the dhaba's décor just the usual tables and chairs with a counter selling produce of the surrounding area - fruit preserves, honey and tea and another selling a few daily need products. The best tables are the ones lined up by the windows because it is better lit and gives a view of life outside.
We reached there around noon and ordered parathas - aloo and paneer, omelets and tea. Curd and pickles were provided on the side with the parathas and butter cubes was provided for a charge. Both the parathas were excellent especially after adding some on it and a dip in the pickle. The omelet though a little oily was fluffy and tasty. And the tea was good and freshly made with just the right amount of milk and sugar, a perfect "paani jyada, doodh kam, shakar kam, kind".
On our way back to Kalka, we went to Gyani's again. It was lunch time and we ordered a chicken tikka, a vegetarian and a non vegetarian thali and chhaas. The thali comes with 3 rotis, a bowl each of rice, a choice of black or yellow dal, salad and boondi raita with paneer muttar in the vegetarian thali and chicken curry in the non-vegetarian thali. The thali overall, was nothing spectacular - the yellow dal was simple, but there was nothing much to write about the paneer muttar and chicken curry. Another thing that surprised me was that they did not have chicken tikka and the chhaas they served was Amul's Masti chhaas. For me a dhaba not serving chicken tikka and chhaas was an oddity. They had ice creams and gulab jamun for dessert and we ordered the gulab jamun. We enjoyed the gulab jamuns, they were nice and soft without being too oily in a thin and light sugar syrup. And the best thing is the bill at the end of the meal does not hurt.
Our verdict - enjoy their parathas, the tea and the gulab jamuns. And do check their counter selling the preserves, pickles, honey and tea leaves.