Patan, a small city, just a half hour drive outside of Kathmandu is known for it’s beautiful architecture. It’s little windy alleyways and colorful shops draw visitors from all over Nepal. But, when I looked online for restaurant recommendations, the lists seemed pretty repetitive and to be honest, not that great. Most recommended the same five restaurants that surround the popular Durbar Square. After eating a less than mediocre meal at a few, I decided to investigate and find some better options. Here are my picks for the best restaurants in Patan.
Coffee Tea & Me
Best Hidden Gem
The name drew me in, the chill vibes convinced me to stay, and the food made me to want to come back. Coffee Tea & Me serves incredible food considering the modest open style kitchen. I had the grilled fish which was accompanied by a slightly spicy red tomato sauce and a raw cilantro, carrot, cucumber and onion salad which paired perfect together. The food was at par with that of a fancy restaurant minus the pretentious ambience and high price tags. My fish was $4, something I’ve bought at other restaurants for almost twice the price.
The Village Cafe
Best Traditional Nepali Food
A few friends had mentioned The Village Cafe to me, and when I searched online, I really liked what the restaurant stood for. They source their ingredients from local villagers while teaching them to put an emphasis on quality and freshness. The women who grow the food then come to the restaurant and prepare the meals making them as authentic as going to someones home. They also receive special training to help them cook like professionals. Even without knowing all of that, the food itself is incredible. The only time I’ve had food this good was when I was invited to locals homes.
Best Non-Traditional Nepali Food
I went to Raithaane with a friend who lives in Lalitpur at her recommendation. Let me tell you, this place is awesome. It’s tucked away behind a back alley and it’s appearance is unassuming with simple tables set in a garden, but the food speaks volumes. This restaurant takes traditional Nepali cuisine from all over the country and elevates it to a fine dining experience minus the fine dining price tag. Most of the dishes range from 200 – 350 rupees ($2 to $3.50 USD). We chose to share 4 plates including the roasted veggies salad, sweet potato and turbar fries, rikikur (potato pancake), and batuk with chukauni (lentil patties with a local style potato salad). The rikikur was amazing and by far the best potato pancake I’ve had in all of Nepal. The dipping sauce that came with it which was described on the menu as “serkam spring onion achar” was phenomenal. I highly recommend this place.
One of my favorite spots to grab a coffee and baked good is the Himalayan Java chain. It’s like the Starbucks of Nepal and is the perfect place to whip out your computer, chill with friends, and drink really good coffee. My favorite is the honey latte, which I’ve been trying to order at cafes in the USA to no avail. The pastries and baked goods are also worth a try. I’m a big fan of the no baked cheesecake topped with blueberries.
Best Cheap Eats
It’s super hard to find Honacha because there is no sign in English. It is on Google Maps though, so just follow that until you find a little hole in the wall that looks like you are walking into someones private kitchen. If there’s a woman sitting on the floor cooking, then you’re in the right place. This little place has amazing local food for crazy cheap. The food pictured above only cost $1.25. They make a few items each day, and that’s what is served so there is no menu. When I went, there was beaten rice (my favorite), bara (egg and buffalo pancake), and barbecue buffalo rubbed in chili spices. It was insanely spicy. Like my eyes were watering, but it was also delicious.
I should mention that you shouldn’t eat here if it’s your first week in Nepal (your stomach might not be able to handle it if you haven’t adjusted to the local food yet).
Dhokaima is located right next to Patan Dhoka. It’s a cute little restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating in a peaceful courtyard. There’s also a book shop attached in case you want to grab a book with your breakfast. It’s a little on the expensive side with a full breakfast coming in around 700 rupees ($7), but it comes with coffee, juice, toast, and your main. I’ve eaten at places for a similar price and the food honestly sucked. Here, everything is super fresh. The bread looks homemade and the jam is full of actual strawberries. The California Veggie Omelette tasted like everything was picked fresh from the garden. The coffee also seemed more like a cappuccino than the typical instant coffee other places serve.
When a friend told me about a creme brûlée donut in Kathmandu Valley, my jaw dropped. My favorite donut ever is from Brooklyn and it’s a creme brûlée. I went to The Workshop with low expectations but it was almost as good as my favorite Brooklyn donut! These are by far the best donuts I’ve had in Nepal and I make excuses to drive to Patan just to stop in and grab a few. Donuts range from 90 to 150 rupees ($0.90 – $1.50).
Evoke Cafe & Bistro
Best Bar Food
I’ve been to Evoke a few times because it’s honestly one of my favorite places. I highly recommend it for late night eats. I came here for an event one night and got the grilled cheese when I was a little drunk. It was the BEST grilled ham and cheese sandwich I’ve ever had. The other reason I like this place is the atmosphere. There’s a painting studio, tattoo parlor, and store selling locally made items attached. It’s a really cool place with a little bit of something for everyone.
The only bad thing about Piano B is the green tinted windows that make this photo discolored. As soon as I sat down, I was brought a menu along with fresh bread, extra virgin olive oil, and a balsamic reduction to dip in. It almost brought a tear to my eye and reminded me of home. I wasn’t that hungry, so I decided to order some appetizers in lieu of a meal. I had the meatballs and mini pizzas. Both were perfectly delicious and made me realize how much I miss bite sized treats. The only thing about this place is that it is super expensive by Nepali standards. I would highly recommend this for a fancy night out with friends or a special date. It is by far the best Italian food I’ve had in all of Nepal.
Café du Temple
Honestly, Cafe du Temple is not a place I’d write home about as far as food goes. In fact, I feel the food is kind of subpar. But, it offers the best views in Patan. The restaurant has a rooftop that looks straight over Durbar Square. It’s the perfect place to grab a lassi or iced cold drink and take in the views from above where it’s a little less chaotic.
Best Upscale Restaurant
To be honest, this place was a little too pretentious for me. The staff was extremely formal, and everyone in the restaurant seemed a bit snobby and judgmental. That being said, the food was amazing. I had the lasagna with garlic bread and a salad. Everything was delicious and perfectly cooked. The portion was really large and filling, so the expensive price tag didn’t seem as bad as some places that give smaller portions. I think this is the perfect place if you want a fancy evening out. It’s maybe a little too high scale if you’re just looking for a regular meal.
Best Social Enterprise
Higher Ground is a social enterprise that trains and hires women from poverty stricken areas. They also have a community development organization which creates scholarships. On top of that, you can get a great meal here while supporting a good cause. I went for breakfast and ordered the English breakfast and a cappuccino and it was amazing!
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.