There are dozens of excellent, and not so excellent, restaurants and cafes in Kathmandu. You will very quickly find your favourates but in the meantime, here are some of our favourites for you to try.
(Prices: $ = inexpensive (under $10 for one or two courses and a non-alcoholic drink) $$ = mid range (under $20 for one to two course and a non-alcoholic drink) $$$ = expensive
Thamel and Durbar Marg Area
Café Mitra, Thamel $t o $$
Hidden away this lovely little restaurant serves beautiful, handcrafted fresh food. It’s a little tricky to find and as pre-booking is highly recommended we suggest you call them in advance. Vegetarian food is available.
Dechenling Garden Restaurant, Thamel $
This is another gem of a restaurant hidden away in the street behind Java Café in a garden setting. It serves Bhutanese food (cream cheese and hot red chillis!), which it is famed for, among others.
Places Restaurant, Thamel $
This is probably the best vegetarian and vegan restaurant in town and the only place this author knows to get a soy latte! Located on Seven Corners, this unassuming casual restaurant serves great food, well presented. It has live music a couple of times a month and often hosts live art also on its rooftop space.
OR2K, Thamel $
This funky restaurant serves vegetarian Middle Eastern cuisine. Situated in Mandala Street it’s a great place for either lunch or dinner. If you go to dinner you will enjoy the cool lighting and ambiance.
Fire and Ice, Thamel $ to $$
Reportedly the best pizza in town, this pizzeria has been running for more almost 20 years. The owner is an Italian woman with a keen eye on service and value for money. Pizza, pasta and an assortment of salads and desserts are on offer. They are also open for Italian breakfasts.
Mezze, Durbar Marg $ to $$
This is the upscale brother of Roadhouse Pizza. Still offering pizzas it’s also offers things such as Middle Eastern platters, steaks and chicken dishes. Situated on a rooftop there is a fantastic view of the old palace and cool breezes in the summer. Phone ahead if you want to guarantee you get a table (or sofa) on the terrace.
The Chimney, Yak and Yeti Hotel, Durbar Marg $$ to $$$
The Yak and Yeti was established by Boris Lissanevitch, a legend in the story of tourism in Nepal. He was a famed Russian ballet dancer and entrepreneur who has left behind this legacy in the Chimney Restaurant. Serving original recipes such as borsch and chicken a la Kiev, there is also baked Alaska and, in the winter, fondue on the menu. The winter also sees the traditional lighting ceremony of the copper-shafted fireplace which gives the restaurant its name.
Grill Me $$
This restaurant has a small garden area as well as indoor seating and serves pork chops, steaks and the usual items.
Singaporean food in Kathmandu! Sigma recreates the food stalls of Singapore with Singaporean and Malay dishes at a give-away price. The setting is quite basic but the quality of the food makes up for it. This restaurant closes quite early in the evening and is closed on Saturdays.
El Mediterraneo $
Spanish food created especially for you by the Nepali owner who lived for a time in Spain. Tapas are a big item on the menu and you can make special requests to the owner/chef on quieter nights.
Summit Hotel $$
This hotel has been very popular with expats for decades and has a good bar, with real fire in the winter, and restaurant. There are plenty of outside seating areas and a pool (with membership). Food is quite the normal fare, but the atmosphere ensures that it is worth visiting time and time again. They have a regular BBQ nights at the weekend and host a Christmas Fare in December.
Situated in Baluawatar, Mikes Breakfast started out off in Durbar Marg several decades ago when Mike decided he wanted to live in Nepal. Not wanting to spend his whole time working, he opened a restaurant which operated around breakfast time – hence the name. Unfortunately, Mike passed away a few years ago but his legacy goes on with American and Mexican food being served in an outdoor setting throughout the day. Breakfasts are still the specialty!
Che Caroline, Babar Mahal Revisited $$ to $$$
The best French restaurant this side of Paris! Well, in Kathmandu anyway! The owner is a French lady who has lived here for many years. A courtyard setting provides the ideal spot for expats and locals alike who come for brunch, lunch and dinner. Although the prices are quite high it is value for money in that a side salad and big breadbasket comes with every main course. All the usual French delights can be found here. Next door is also a unique shop owned by the same French woman where you can find gifts from India and Nepal.
Dwarikas Hotel, Battisputali $$ to $$$
There are several restaurants in this Newari style red brick boutique hotel near Pashupatinath. But our favourates are the Friday night buffet barbeque (value for money and romantic poolside setting) and Krishnarpan. Krishnarpan offers from 6 to 22 courses of Newari specialty dishes served by staff wearing ethnic costume from all around Nepal. Your menu will be printed with your name on it so pre-booking is essential. This is a whole cultural experience in itself! They also have a continental restaurant and a small Japanese restaurant tucked away near the pool. The bar, overlooking the swimming pool, is also worth dropping into (the bar, not the pool!) for a drink after work.
Rox Restaurant, Hyatt Hotel, Bouddha $$$
Within the Hyatt Hotel, the Rox Restaurant, the hotel’s signature restaurant is situated on three levels, and serves traditional home-style Southern European cuisine.
Garden Kitchen, Boudha $
Behind the main kora round Bouddhanath stupa there is a lovely restaurant serving traditional Tibetan fare. It is always full with monks, students of Buddhism, and locals. Go upstairs for a more comfortable seating area and to view a few handicraft items for sale.
Alice Restaurant, Gairi Dhara $
A fantastic family restaurant catering mainly to middle class locals, this restaurant offers a wide range of food from Nepali and Indian to Japanese. In fact the owners used to work in Japan and came back with a Japan inspired idea for a restaurant. There is a children’s playground inside the restaurant itself but plenty of nooks and crannies for business dealings or lovers chats. Extremely busy at the weekends with families attracted by the playground. Book ahead.
Rato Mato, Lazimpat $
This first floor restaurant and small bar is a little hard to find – it is situated directly across the road from the City Hotel on Lazimpat. When you enter up the narrow stairs you will be thinking “momo and dal bhat”. You could not be more wrong. The menu is varied from chicken sate, potato skins, grilled prawn skewers to pork chops, gnocchi and tofu steaks. Laid back live music is provided on a Friday night.
Thamel and Durbar Marg Area
This is reportedly the first café in Kathmandu to serve ‘proper’ coffee and has a reputation for great coffee and good food. Situated across the road from Fire and Ice, it is conveniently located and good for social or casual business meetings.
Not a café as such, but anyone who serves soy lattes in Nepal deserves another mention!
Situated at Nag Pokhari, this café serves better food than coffee but it is also a great meeting place and the western food is of high quality.
Just opposite the British Embassy is a lovely, friendly café serving a range of items from Eggs Benedict; beetroot, carrot and humus dips; chicken sate, to pizza and pastas. Run by a musician, this café often has evening events check their FB page.
Tings Tea Lounge
As the name suggests, this café is really a tea lounge and a boutique hotel. Situated off Lazimpat this is the place to come if you like different teas served correctly. It also services beer and wine and a limited menu of Middle Eastern, Asian and European cuisine. Burgers on Saturday! Closed on Mondays.
This café serves delicious cakes prepared by its sister concern, Lakuri, situated in the Café Soma branch in Baluawatar (opposite the Russian Embassy). Unlike its other branch, Café Soma in Jamsikhel does not have a garden but is never the less very popular.
Not far from Café Soma is a café named Higher Ground which is very popular with expats.
Situated in the Moksh complex, just under the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, this café was set up as a social initiative – you pay what you like for the coffee.
Throughout the city are Bakery Café outlets. This is a very old chain of cafes that was one of the first social initiatives set up in Nepal. For the past couple of decades, Bakery Café has employed hearing and speech impaired waiting staff in all its outlets. Nepali-focused food in clean surroundings.