Whenever I talk about the best restaurants in Kathmandu, my friends back home are shocked at the variety of cuisines. Kathmandu has quickly become my second home, and while many people speed through the city, I actually love coming back between treks and adventures to relax and take in the food scene. That’s right, I said FOOD SCENE. Most people who haven’t visited Nepal (my past self included) have no idea how amazing the food is in Nepal. Out of all the Asian countries I’ve visited, Nepal has some of the best restaurants and the most diversified types of cuisine. Had it not been for my local friends taking me to all their favorite spots, I never would have found any of these places to eat.
This post contains restaurants located outside of Thamel. You can check out this blog if you want to read about my favorite restaurants in Thamel.
Type of Cuisine: French pastries
Price Range: 200-400 rupees ($2.00 – $4.00 USD)
My Picks: Almond Croissant, Almond Chocolate Croissant, Raspberry Cruffin, Chocolate Chip Cookie
La Mari has become my new obsession. They have the best croissants in Kathmandu without a doubt. This French style patisserie focuses on quality items that make you go “mmmm” after every single bite. I’ve become so obsessed that my husband put a limit on how many times we can go in a week. La Mari is more expensive than other places but after one bite you can tell why. I highly recommend their almond croissant which is my favorite.
Dal Baht Nepali Kitchen
Type of Cuisine: Nepali Food
Price Range: $2 – $5
My Picks: Chicken Dal Baht Set
Dal Baht Nepali Kitchen is one of my favorite places to get the famous Nepali dish, dal baht. Located in Lazimpat, a short cab ride or walk from Thamel, they offer one of the best dal bahts you can get at a restaurant. You can find a similar version in Thamel, but it’s super expensive. It costs between $2 and $5 here compared to Thamel where it costs $5-$10 for the same quality. It’s free refills on everything (except the protein), so you can eat as much as you want, making it a steal if you’re really hungry.
Organic Smoothie Bowl & Cafe
Type of Cuisine: Smoothie Bowls, Juice, Salads, Sandwiches
Price Range: $2 – $5
My Picks: Immune Booster Juice, Avocado Salad, The Hulk Smoothie Bowl
My friends have been telling me about Organic Smoothie Bowl & Cafe in Lazimpat for a while now. I finally got to visit, and I guarantee this will be a place that I frequent often. First of all, the restaurant is really cute with a boho feel. Second, it’s super affordable with smoothie bowls costing around $3-$4 USD. Last but not least, the food tastes as good as it looks. I’ve had smoothie bowls in a few places where it ends up tasting icy, but here, the smoothie bowls are creamy and delicious. I also loved the avocado salad I had which was inexpensive, filling, and tasty.
Type of Cuisine: Spanish-Inspired Food
Price Range: $3 – $15
My Picks: Nachos, Mushroom Tacos
When I heard there was a Spanish Restaurant in Kathmandu, I got really excited. Their instagram account boasted Spanish tapas which are my favorite! My friends and I went, and I’ll be honest, most of the “Spanish tapas” are more like Nepali snacks. That being said, if you keep you expectations in check, this place is amazing. It’s located within the Boudhanath Stupa area with an incredible roof top view! The food is delicious! We ordered the nachos to share and the six kinds of salsa it came with were the best I think I’ve ever had. I also tried the mushroom tacos which were yummy.
Type of Cuisine: Chinese Food
Price Range: $2 – $10
My Picks: Fruit tea, chicken with peanuts, stir fried bok choy, long slices of cucumber, and eggplant in garlic sauce
My husband and I were walking around Boudhanath Stupa and wanted some good food that wasn’t overpriced. He mentioned a Tibetan restaurant he’d been to in the past that he loved. They offer a lot of Chinese dishes, and I haven’t had good Chinese food in Kathmandu before, so I was excited to try it. White Dzambhala is tucked down an alley right off the main road. While it’s not super fancy, the food is delicious and fresh. Items here are extremely spicy, so we asked for everything without chili which was perfect for me. I highly recommend the fruit tea, chicken with peanuts, stir fried bok choy, long slices of cucumber, and eggplant in garlic sauce!
Type of Cuisine: Bakery and Bistro
Price Range: $2 – $7
My Picks: Cheesecake, Tuna Melt Sandwich, Fruit Lemonades
Deli Akuj raises the bar for cakes, pastries, and breads in Kathmandu. This little bistro style restaurant is the perfect spot for brunch with friends. Everything tastes amazing. They are most famous for having the best New York style cheese cake in Nepal, but their salads, sandwiches and other desserts also make the best of lists. What I love about this place is their attention to detail. Nothing goes overlooked and you can tell as soon as you take a bite that they’ve perfected every dish.
Type of Cuisine: Thai Food
Price Range: $3 – $7
My Picks: Green Curry and Pad Thai
Aroy Thai (previously called Thai Wok) is a hidden gem in the Kathmandu food scene. Located down a back street, through an alleyway, and on the ground floor of someone’s house, this restaurant feels more like you are eating at a Thai grandma’s house in Thailand rather than a restaurant in Kathmandu. We ordered the green curry, pad Thai, and chicken poppers. The food was amazing and reminded my of my time in Thailand. This place is as authentic as it gets. If you’re craving Thai food, Aroy Thai is the place to go.
Type of Cuisine: Indian Food
Price Range: $2 – $6
My Picks: Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, saag paneer, garlic naan
Tama is one of those places I have trouble finding even though I know where it is. If my friend didn’t take me there, I never would have discovered it. It’s a quick 10 minute walk from Thamel or a $1.50 cab ride. If you go, check out the section in the back with a garden which is situated away from the main road. The Indian food here is amazing, with great vegetarian options, and it’s super affordable. Two curries, three naan, and two drinks will cost around $8. The place gets packed around lunch time since it’s a local favorite, so make sure you go a little early or late to guarantee a table. I highly recommend the paneer butter masala and peshwari naan.
Type of Cuisine: Salads, Sandwiches, Burgers
Price Range: $3 – $7
My Picks: All of the salads!
Avocado Cafe is becoming one of our favorite places in Kathmandu. One of the things I miss most from home is the amazing salad selections. In the summer, Avocado Cafe is my go to place a few times a month, because they make the best salads in Kathmandu at a very reasonable price. They have a great outdoor seating area with plenty of space. I’ve never gone in the evenings, but they also have live music some nights!
Tip Top Sweets
Type of Cuisine: Indian Sweets and Food
Price Range: Less than 300 rupees ($3.00 USD)
My Picks: Pani puri, chola bhatura, Jalebi, Dudh malai, Lalmohan, Rashbari, Dal Kachori
Tip Top Sweets is the go-to place to get Indian style sweets including Lalmohan and Jalebi. It’s also the only place I recommend getting pani puri which is often sold in small carts on the street. The turnover rate at Tip Top pretty much guarantees freshness. My favorite, if you’re looking for something more filling, is chola bhatura (large piece of thin fried dough with chickpea curry) which is delicious, filling, and cheap!
Alev Kebab Sultanate
Type of Cuisine: Turkish
Price Range: 350-2000 rupees ($3.50 – $20.00 USD)
My Picks: Mezze Platter, Fried Trout, Mutton Soup
Alev Kebab Sultanate is Kathmandu’s first Turkish restaurant. I was a little hesitant to try it because I imagined it to be all meat kebabs and I’m not a big meat eater, but they also offer a variety of Mediterranean dishes as well. The restaurant has a white and turquoise theme with Moroccan tiles and lamps which transport you to Turkey. We ordered the mezze platter which featured flat bread and dips, all of which were fantastic (although one was too spicy for me). We also ordered the fried whole trout which was simple but flavorful. We were offered a free bowl of mutton soup which Suraj LOVED. I don’t eat mutton but he could not stop talking about it.
Type of Cuisine: Italian Food
Price Range: $4 – $10
My Picks: All the pizza, caesar salad, truffle mushroom pasta
Roadhouse has several locations including one in Thamel. The menu is pretty westernized, but they have some of the best pizza I’ve had in Nepal as well as some amazing pasta dishes and salads. It’s one of the few places I’ll order a caesar salad in Kathmandu. They also make an amazing truffle mushroom pasta. It’s a little more expensive than most places, but it’s still not super pricey.
Type of Cuisine: Continental (Kid Friendly)
Price Range: $3 – $10
My Picks: Chicken cordon bleu, pizza, mushroom pakoda
Rumi’s Bistro is the perfect place for families to dine out. They have on site parking if you plan to drive there. There’s a children’s play area located close to the outdoor seating so that you can keep an eye on your kiddos while eating. They also host events like Tuesday Trivia, Monday Night Magic, and Painting that are fun for the whole family. Best of all, the food is great with choices that will please adults and kids ranging from pizza and burgers to Italian pastas.
Check out my choices for the 3 Best Family Restaurants in Kathmandu!
Type of Cuisine: Vietnamese Food
Price Range: $3 – $7
My Picks: Pho, Bun Cha, Fried Wanton, Spring Rolls
Saigon Pho is located about 10 minutes from Thamel by car. You can also walk about 20 minutes to get there if you don’t want to pay for a taxi. They have a large menu of Vietnamese food which tastes pretty close to what I ate when I was actually in Vietnam several months ago. I would highly recommend the pho, fried wantons, and spring rolls. The serving sizes here are so big that it’s best to go with a group of friends and order a few dishes to share.
Type of Cuisine: Italian
Price Range: 500-1300 rupees ($5.00 – $13.00 USD)
My Picks: Forbidden Rice Risotto
Note: Piano Piano is only open for dinner.
Piano Piano is an Italian restaurant located in Lazimpat which is known for its high end Italian cuisine. The restaurant has a modern flare with Scandi inspired furniture and a beautiful outdoor patio. I’d heard the pizza here was amazing, but it was the black risotto and the bruschetta that had me wanting to go back again. The risotto was full of flavor and perfectly creamy. This is the perfect date night spot.
Food Truck Park
Type of Cuisine: Mixed
Price Range: $3 – $10
My Picks: Tacos
“I didn’t know they had food trucks in Nepal!”
“Well, they don’t actually move.”
My friend took me to the Food Truck Park, and it was cooler than any food truck gathering I’d ever seen. No, the trucks don’t actually move, but who cares? There’s a bunch of different options including Nepali classics, tacos, Korean food, and burgers. There’s also a place to order drinks. The tacos were amazing, and I would definitely go back for more. The best part of this place is how cute and cozy it is. I honestly can’t wait to go back. It’s a cool hidden gem in such a big crazy city.
Rasmita Mithai Pasal
Type of Cuisine: Nepali Street Food
Price Range: 50-100 rupees ($0.50 – $1.00 USD)
My Picks: Jeri Puri Talkuri, Pakoda, Samosa
One of my favorite places to grab a Nepali style breakfast is across from the sleeping Vishnu statue in Budhanilkantha. This is one of my favorite temples in Kathmandu because of its bright colors and gorgeous trees which create a happy relaxing vibe. This little local shop is perfect for grabbing street food. My favorite is jeri puri talkuri which is jeri (a sweet orange treat) sandwiched between two puri (a thin dough) and dipped in talkuri (a potato and bean vegetable curry that isn’t too spicy). The combination of sweet and salty is absolute perfection. The name out front is written in Nepali, so you’ll want the local shop with pink walls and a red sign.
Type of Cuisine: Mexican
Price Range: 200-700 rupees ($2.00 – $7.00 USD)
My Picks: Enchiladas, Horchata
Casa Mexicana is a small chain of Mexican restaurants in Kathmandu. They have a few locations including one in Lalitpur. We ordered the enchiladas and horchata as a drink. The horchata was delicious. It tasted like cinnamon infused milk. I also enjoyed the enchiladas, but if you’re not into spicy food, I would ask for things without chili. Nepali people love spicy food, so the food here doesn’t shy away from spices.
Ananda Tree House
Type of Cuisine: Cafe
Price Range: $2 – $5
My Picks: Lassi, Turmeric Latte, Coffee
These days it’s getting easier and easier to find good coffee in Kathmandu, so this pick is all about the vibe. Located near Boudhanath Stupa, Ananda Tree House has become a new favorite of mine. Their cafe has the perfect bohemian vibes with beautiful plants everywhere, warm colors on the walls, a cute shop featuring items made in Nepal, and an array of great drinks to choose from!
Looking for more coffee shops? Check out my picks for the Best Coffee Shops in Kathmandu!
Narayan Dai Ko Famous Momo
Type of Cuisine: Nepali Street Food
Price Range: 100-300 rupees ($1.00 – $3.00 USD)
My Picks: Buff Momo, Buff Choila
Usually when a place puts the word “famous” in its name, it’s bluffing. But, Narayan Dai Ko Famous Momo is actually famous among locals as the best momo in town. I’m not a big fan of buffalo meat, but the buff choila here is the only buff choila I’ll eat. Choila is a spicy Nepali snack often served in Newari families. They also make awesome momo and are famous for the buffalo momo. This is a local restaurant with no frills, but the food is good and cheap. If you’re looking for an affordable meal, this is the place to go.
The Dwarika’s – Toran
Type of Cuisine: Mixed
Price Range: $4 – $15
My Picks: Khaja Set
The Dwarika’s is a luxury hotel located in Kathmandu near Pashupatinath Temple. This hotel features traditional Newari style architecture surrounding a giant courtyard that feels like you’re in the jungle rather than the busiest city in the country. There are several restaurants on the premise (all of which are top notch), but it’s the Toran restaurant where you sit outside that feels like a trip to another time. I love their khaja set which features traditional Newari snacks!
Type of Cuisine: Thakali (Nepali)
Price Range: 500-800 rupees ($5.00 – $8.00 USD)
My Picks: Chicken Thakali Set
Jimbu (also known as Capital Grill) is one of my favorite places to get dal bhat in Kathmandu. Jimbu is a traditional Thakali restaurant, however, Capital Grill offers a separate menu full of continental options including pizza, burgers and more. Jimbu is famous among locals and foreigners alike as one of the best places to get a Thakali set in the city. It is a little on the expensive side for dal bhat, but the food is authentic and delicious. Plus, there are free refills on everything except the meat!
Janakpur Dahi Lassi Bhandar
Type of Cuisine: Lassi
Price Range: Less than $1.00
My Picks: They only serve lassi
This place is such a local favorite that there’s always a line spanning into the street and blocking traffic. The only item on the menu is lassis in size small (40 rupees) or large (70 rupees). I highly recommend getting the large because these are the BEST lassis I’ve ever had in my life. No exaggeration. I don’t know what they put in it, but they are really amazing. The sign on the storefront is in Nepali, but you can Google the location or just look for the mass of people all drinking around a single stall. This one is worth going out of the way for.
Salon de Kathmandu
Type of Cuisine: Korean and Continental
Price Range: $3.00 – $8.00
My Picks: Ricotta Cheese Salad
My favorite cafe in Kathmandu is Salon de Kathmandu which is located in Lazimpat. They are situated on a small side street that is quiet and away from the chaos of the city center. This cafe has a small menu featuring salads, sandwiches, snacks, and more. What I really love is the outdoor seating area which is perfect in the summer. My friends and I meet here regularly to catch up on weekends and it’s the perfect spot for brunch with the girls.
Check out my post on the 3 Best Cafes in Kathmandu
The Old House
Type of Cuisine: Continental
Price Range: $4.00 – $8.00
My Picks: Sliders
The Old House is located on a quiet side street tucked away near Durbar Marg. This hidden gem is exactly what it’s called, an Old House that’s been renovated into a beautiful trendy restaurant. Their outdoor seating is very romantic at night with tons of twinkle lights hanging above. The food is delicious and the staff are friendly. They have a great menu which makes it hard to choose because you want to try everything. If you’re looking for a romantic date spot, this is it.
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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.
I can’t wait to try some of these places. We didn’t get a chance to check out the food scene during our last trip. But now we have a second chance 🙂 thx for sharing this amazing list. I was wondering if you’d be able to recommend any cooking class in the Thamel area I wanted to learn how to make tibetan bread and dal bhat.
Hey Millie! I took a cooking class in Pokhara to learn momo making but wouldn’t recommend the place. I don’t know of a place in Thamel but if you end up in Bhaktapur and stay at Nyatapolo guest house, the woman there does cooking classes and she makes amazing food. I think it’s $15 per person to learn to make dal baht
There are different food cultures, I hope I have a chance to try it one day.