This is not a best of list. Let’s just get that right out there. There are far too many great things to eat in Nepal for that to be the case. It’s instead a collection of great things we’ve discovered or eaten or loved over the last few months—some of that has been rediscovery, or finding new (to us) places to eat old favorites. There should be enough diversity here to cover most every palate, so let’s dig right in!
1. Bhakka at Bhakka House, New Baneshwor
This is a dish that’s mush loved in Eastern Nepal, particularly the Terai and which, luckily for us, in now becoming more available in Kathmandu. It’s been described as a spongy rice cake, and comes with accompaniments and achars that complement its texture. But really, it’s something you have to try for yourself.
2. Warm St. Marcelin Salad at Pauline’s Garden, Baluwatar
All of the salads at Pauline’s Garden are amazing—as are the grilled prawns and just about everything else there—but this salad, a recent addition to the menu, really takes things to the next level. A generous, well dressed salad is served with a toast on it, itself topped with melty, warm St. Marcelin cheese slowly oozing its way into your salad. It’s amazing. Go eat it right now!
3. Pork Sliders at Musicology, Jhamsikhel
Sliders are just mini burgers, but somehow we find that its smaller size allows for more of the additions that make burgers so wonderful; the meat-to-everything-else ratio works, and these pork sliders are an excellent example of that. Fresh and light, yet still an indulgence. Yum.
4. Buff Jhol Mo:mo from Coffee Station, Thapatali
There’s no way we’re going to say these are the best jhol mo:mo in the city, as that is too subjective, but what we will say that every winter we make the rounds, trying them whenever they’re on the menu, and this year, these, from a little coffee shop near Norvic, have been favorites. In addition to buff, you can also get them in veg, paneer and chicken.
5. Chicken Wings at Cafe Soma, Jhamsikhel and Baluwatar
So here’s where we say that yes, of course Cafe Soma makes awesome breakfasts and sandwiches – but we knew that already. In the afternoons and evenings, however, you can order these awesome chicken wings by the dozen or half-dozen. These are lighter than the usual Kathmandu variety, and oh-so-tasty. Good to bring home to enjoy with drinks and a movie, too.
6. Classic BLT at Best Brew, Jhamsikhel
Sometime last year we discovered this unassuming looking coffee shop around the corner from Herman Helmer’s Bakery. It was easy to become regulars, mostly because of this simple but well-executed sandwich. You don’t need a lot out of a BLT—except the proper ratio of tomato, bacon, lettuce and mayonnaise, of course. The thin, crispy fries don’t hurt either.
7. Spicy Cooking Buff at Yak Restaurant, down an alley opposite the entrance to the stupa, Boudha
This is not a photogenic dish. But it’s amazing. There is literally everything in here: two kinds of mushrooms, greens, thin sliced potatoes and buff, noodles, and probably some other things that we;re forgetting. it’s greasy, spicy, and very satisfying. You can spoon it over rice, sop it up with a ting mo:mo, or just eat it as soup. And as with everything else at this restaurant, portions are large, so bring a group and order away.
8. Egg, Bacon and Cheese Bagel at Curilo, opposite British Embassy, Lainchour
Despite the menu listing, this isn’t a bagel, so don’t expect it. What it is is a delicious breakfast sandwich (the bun has a hole in the center, hence the moniker) layered with egg, bacon, tomato and a slice of melting cheese. A small serving of chopped tomato, onion and fresh coriander, almost like pico de gallo but not, accompanies it. It’s fresh and tasty and just the right size for when you need something to fuel your morning but don’t want a heavy meal.
9. Cold soba noodles at Oshell Food Bar, Lazimpat
A new addition to Oshell’s already popular menu, these soba noodles are handmade fresh daily, and can be ordered hot or cold. This is the cold version, and it’s a tasty, refreshing meal that’s perfect for these days when the weather is starting to get warmer; the buckwheat noodles have a nice bite and nuttiness—it’s a great dish.
10. Alu Dum at Nice Momo, in the lane behind Labim Mall, Pulchowk
Spicy, flavorful alu flecked with spices, scooped up with an unusually textured roti: warm, layered, almost flaky. You can find this dish almost anywhere, sure, but this is a simple and beautifully executed version that will linger long in your memory—and on your taste buds, it’s spicy! And of course, their mo:mo are good, too…
11. Donuts at Kotzy’s, by St. Mary’s School entrance, Jhamsikel
There’s a reason these donuts sell out so fast every day: they’re delicious and inexpensive, a treat you can always afford. Regular donuts, filled donuts, donut holes with chocolate dipping , everything this little cart sells is worth it. The blueberry and custard filled donuts usually sell out first, though, so plan a trip early. When everything’s sold, they just close for the day.
12. Pork Cutlet Set at Lung Ta Japanese Restaurant, below Kar.ma Coffee, Thamel
Lung Ta is a small (and we mean tiny) newly-opened Japanese restaurant that has only a handful of tables, and from the look of it, just two people working there; yet it’s not uncommon to find every seat taken when you pop by at lunchtime. It’s a limited menu featuring mostly standard Japanese fare, but it’s all made fresh and is remarkably delicious and good value, too. Really worth a visit.
13. Papaya Sukuti Salad by of Silk and Salt, Tumbahal, Patan
A lovely little fusion dish from a restaurant that specializes in just that—a mixture of fresh papaya and dried buff meat makes an unexpected and delicious meal. Enjoy it in the cute garden or character-filled inner area of this restaurant located in Patan’s historic old town.
14. Fish Tacos by Food Truck Park, Nagpokhari
This fun place to eat was on everyone’s radar last year with its an assortment of tasty food styles served out of tricked-out trucks; we loved the tacos—fresh, cheap and good! These are the fish ones, but chicken and veg are also available.
15. Frozen Yoghurt by Froyo, Uttardhoka and other locations
Perfect for when you want something sweet and decadent tasting that also happens to be so fresh and healthy. Get your frozen treat today!
16. Hotpot by Jiudingyuan Sichuan Hotpot Restaurant, Jyatha
If you’re looking for something completely different, get together a group of friends and come here. Order ingredients of your choice: there’s a lot of meat variety, including offal and other components, then cook them in the boiling cauldron built into your table, dip into the specially prepared sauce, and enjoy. It’s a relaxed, convivial way of eating, something to do on a special occasion.
17. Rocky Road Waff-Wich Waffle by The Belgian Waffle Co. Nepal, Jhamsikhel and Durbar Marg
This waffle is for the person who, more than anything, loves sweets—especially waffles, and this the company’s best-loved one: a dark chocolate waffle base with sandwiched vanilla ice-cream, topped with oreos. Sometimes more is more!