After staying for three weeks in Bhutan, the landing in Kathmandu was a little overwhelming owing to its busy airport, crowded streets, and cramped bazaars. But this beautiful country, tucked away in the mountains between India and China, soon engulfed us in her charm. The first stop in Nepal was Thamel, which is the cosmopolitan center, always buzzing with the music from cafes, bars, and hustle-bustle from the street markets. Thamel is a “little bit of everything,” a completely different “city within a city.” Though the taste of Bhutanese dishes was still on our mind, we roamed through the streets of Thamel to explore the taste of Nepal, and after staying there for a week, we have a list of our favorite cafes. Have a look:
This place was situated right beside our homestay. Undoubtedly, one of the best places if you want to try authentic Tibetan cuisine. Alongside the best dumplings and Thukpa, you can also get yourself Nepal’s best domestic brew, the Sherpa beer. The restaurant is run by a family native to the place, and that is the reason for its authenticity! Although the place is small, food is hygienically cooked and tastes extraordinary.
This restaurant is locals go-to place with authentic Nepalese food at a very reasonable price. The restaurant is located at the crossing of Chaksibari Marg and Z Street. Though the entrance is non-glamorous, you will not leave this place without having your stomach filled. Vegetable Daal-Bhat is our all-time favorite dish at this cafe. Moreover, you can try Special Thakali with Chicken also. The restaurant is warm in winter, the staff is friendly, and they give a refill too.
The Roadhouse Cafe
If it is too many Nepalese meals for you and you are craving some western food head to The Roadhouse Cafe. A break is never complete unless it includes a “good lazy pizza” episode, and here they offered us just what we needed. Pizza! The Roadhouse Cafes are a fantastic chain of cafes spread throughout Nepal, but Thamel is where they started, and so has the originality-factor attached to it. The cafe has earthy vibes and is beautifully decorated with indoors complimenting the beautiful outdoor views. And the authentic taste of pizza made it so much better!
Western Tandoori and Naan House
The phrase that best describes this place is: Raw and Fresh. It is a tiny shop, with a big tandoor right at the entrance. The freshness of the food they serve here was evident from the taste and aroma of it. Even though there was not any air conditioning and it used to get a little hot sometimes, people were always pouring in here. We visited the cafe more than just once and savored the freshness as much as we could!
Himalayan Java Coffee
One of the best Nepalese Coffee Establishments in this part of the world. This coffee place is situated on the first floor of the shopping complex on Mandala Street- popular for eateries and apparel shops. What started as a small specialty coffee shop is now an international brand. And for all the right reasons! The place brews authenticity and is always filled with the aroma of happy tourists. You should not miss this place at all if you call yourself a coffee enthusiast!
The perfect place for digital nomads on the move! The Hub is a co-working space with a fantastic internet facility and coffee to go with it. If you want a work environment that does not snatch away the feeling of a vacation from you, The Hub is what you are looking for.
This open-air restaurant serves Mexican and Indian tandoori dishes with an add-on menu of western cuisine. We were lucky to relish our food with live Nepali music. Now, that is a unique combination to come across, and one should savor it while you can. The place is spacious. There are even firepits outdoors, which will light up your winter evenings, like nothing else!
The Tibetan cuisine and Nepali Music, tandoori dishes, Thakali platters, and cheesy pizzas are just a couple things that Thamel had to offer. Not to mention, incredible coffee, too! We could not have asked for a better place to start our journey in this beautiful country!