Hidden Places to Eat in Thamel

Features Issue 186 May, 2017
Text by ECS Staff

Fancy something delicious, but somewhere away from the usual? Here are some eateries that could be what you’re looking for.

There are a lot of well-known restaurants in Thamel, both international and local, but there are an even greater number of small, hidden places. Many, but not all, offer authentic local cuisine that can be harder to find in the bigger, fancier places. These smaller eateries also have the benefit of being easy on the wallet. It can take a little effort to track them down, but it’s well worth it. Here are some of our favorites.

The small courtyard that houses the rightfully popular Phat Kath upstairs also has some small gems on the ground floor. One is BOSA, a clean, glass and wood paneled establishment that specializes in mo:mo, specifically made of pork. Well worth a visit. Just next door you’ll find Kizuna, a one-room venue that makes tasty and affordable Japanese food. Order your food, and then take a seat at one of the tables scattered throughout the small courtyard and wait to dig in. 
Just a short distance north of these places you’ll find Momo Cave, down a narrow space on the right, between two buildings, and up some rather dark and dodgy looking steps. Don’t be deceived by its looks—this place has been around for years and is still popular, not only for their mo:mo, but also for tasty offal based dishes.

Roots Bar, down Narsingh Chowk Marg, and recognizable by the tempo stuck in the wall, is also a place that might seem less than reputable from the outside. But give it a try. The sandwiches, in particular, come highly recommended! And, haven’t you always wanted to enter a place with a tempo for a door?

At the very front of Thamel, on Tridevi Marg, turn into the second lane on the right, where you’ll find Picnic Korean Kitchen, which serves a wide variety of Korean dishes that are both cheap and delicious. They’ve got a loyal local following for good reason. 

Lotus Restaurant and Coffee Gallery, on the floor above Vajra Books in Jyatha, has been around for a while now,and serves cheap and tasty Japanese dishes—both the popular items, and lesser known fare, too. There are a few tables, but most patrons sit at the long counter that faces the open kitchen; it’s a relaxed personable place that more people should know about.

Gilingche Tibetan Restaurant is on Thamel Marg, but you might have to work a little to find it. Go inside the building right next to the Kuberya Mahal Hotel, and between the shops you’ll come out into a small open space with the restaurant in front of you. This is where the neighborhood locals come to feast on mo:mo, though you’ll also find a wide variety of Tibetan and other food options, too.

We’ll end where perhaps we should have begun, with breakfast: there are many, many places to enjoy a great breakfast in Thamel, but if you’re seeking something off the beaten track, head down Satgumti. Just before you reach the end of the twisty, seven-cornered lane, you’ll reach Eco Café & Eatery, with great coffee and breakfast choices; the muesli is particularly delicious. And as it’s affordable, when you’re finished you’ll still have the cash to try some of these other places!