What type of restaurants are in Kathmandu?


Kathmandu has a large selection of restaurants serving everything from traditional Nepali cuisines, Tibetan, Chinese to Indian and international dishes.

Dal Bhat at a restaurant in Nepal
Dal Bhat is Nepals national dish and is available everywhere in meat and veg versions.
Best of all there's a restaurant to suit every budget.

Popular international cuisine like Italian pastas and pizzas are readily available. So too are beef steaks, fried chicken and kebabs. Vegetarians will also be pleased that Kathmandu has a plentiful supply of vegetable only meals.

There are however some cravats to be aware of. Many restaurants in Kathmandu have put their own style or flair to well known international meals. Meaning not every pizza will be the same and that pesto may have no basil in it.

On this page I'll show you where and how to get the best meal in Kathmandu.

If you already know what you want, then here are some dedicated pages with restaurant reviews

Where can you find the best restaurants in Kathmandu


There are four options for good quality restaurants in Kathmandu.

The first area is the tourist hub of Thamel which offers the largest selection of budget, mid-range and high-end restaurants in the country.

The second area is Paknajol next to Thamel and easily walkable. This area sides more with budget restaurants and a few up and coming places. It's not brimmed with places to eat, but it can offer some gems.Egg with fried rice in Kathmandu

The third area is around Naxal in east Kathmandu. This is largely a high-end area catering to expats, NGO workers and diplomats. Restaurants here can be pricey. The service is usually good along with nice surroundings. You'll need transport to get there and back.

The final option is in south Kathmandu along Jhhonchen or Freak street. It's mainly budget but there is also a booming little cafe scene here if you want to get away from the crowds.


 


Taxes & Service Charges on Restaurants in Kathmandu


There is a 10% service charge and a 13% VAT charge on all meals and drinks served at restaurants in Kathmandu. Not all restaurants implement these charges. The charges are not always shown on the meal items on a menu. There's usually a mention of the charges at the bottom of the menu.

The service and VAT charges are usually added up and added to the bill which is then presented to you. Many budget restaurants do not implement this but do ask just in case you get a surprise on your bill.

 


Should you leave a tip at a restaurant in Kathmandu?


If there is a 10% service charge on your bill, then no you do not leave a tip!

This may seem very strange if you are from a country that leaves tips. But, in Nepal this is the way it's done. The service charge is the tip. There have been many cases to ensure staff get their service charge money at the end of the evening or week.

If on the other hand you do not see a service charge then the choice is yours. Tipping is not a Nepali custom. So it is not expected. Though tourism has made many expecting it.

 


Restaurants in Thamel Kathmandu


There's no need to book a table ahead. Even if you do, there's no guarantee it will be reserved. Exceptions to this are if you know the restaurant personally. Thamel is also semi-pedestrian free, so forget about taking a taxi. It's easy to walk around though.

Restaurant can easily be divided up into breakfast restaurants, lunch restaurants and or dinner restaurants.Beef steak served up in Kathmandu, Nepal

Some of the best restaurants to eat at in Thamel include:

  • Rosemary Kitchen: Offering great breakfast and dinner options from pancakes to grilled chicken and steaks.
  • Brezel Cafe & Bar: Have a lovely open courtyard with a nice evening and breakfast menu suitable for most budgets.
  • Third Eye: A fine dining Indian with fantastic curries, naan and kebabs.
  • Friends: A great place to go with a group so share a meal with. Hummus, kebabs and great lassis.
  • Black Olives: Another open courtyard restaurant with pastas, roast chicken and continental delights.
  • Yala Cafe: Breakfasts are their thing, head here for some eggs Benedict.
  • Himalayan Steak House: The original steak house chef still sizzles up beef to your order.
  • Places: Vegetarian and proud with delicious meals that won't have you missing meat at all.
  • Gilinche: Tibetan restaurant with a nice variety of food you won't find elsewhere
  • Newa Momo: On a budget? Hands down this is where you go for great momos.

For full reviews of the above and more check out my pages on the the best restaurants for lunch in Kathmandu and the best restaurants for dinner in Kathmandu.


Vegetarian restaurants in Kathmandu

With a population of Hindu, Buddhist and Newari finding vegetarian meals in Kathmandu is not a problem.

Some of the better options for Vegetarian restaurants include:Nepali salad in Kathmandu

  • Places: Vegetarian and proud with delicious meals that won't have you missing meat at all.
  • OR2K: One of the longest running restaurants in Kathmandu with oodles of hummus and veggie options.
  • Green Organic Cafe and Farmers Bar: Serving up great salads, pastas and even vegan meals.

 


Vegan restaurants in Kathmandu


Do be careful in Kathmandu if you are a vegan. The term is not always fully understood. Explaining it will likely get you a waiter nodding their head thinking of a vegetarian option. A secret method to getting around all this that you might have come across before is to mention you have egg, cheese and butter allergies.Vegetable - vegan momo soup in Kathmandu

Speaking with the restaurant manager may also help. It's probably best to stick with dedicated vegetarian restaurants when seeking out vegan meals. Likewise sticking to mid-to high-end restaurants may get you better results.

Some of the better options for Vegan restaurants include:

  • Places: The menu is extensive here. Do ask the waiter about egg and milk products before ordering.
  • OR2K: The staff here are not the best. Use you own discretion when ordering.
  • Green Organic Cafe and Farmers Bar: One of the few places where they know what a vegan wants.

Again, the term vegan is not always understood in Nepal or is misinterpreted. Staff also change a lot so use due diligence.


Restaurant Cleanliness in Kathmandu


This one is important. Sanitation is an issue in Kathmandu. I've seen the toughest of stomachs who survived 6 months in India go down within a week in Nepal. Things have improved since the long electricity blackouts have stopped. However, it's important to still feel the restaurant is clean before eating there.

I've eaten in all the restaurants mentioned here and in the subsequent pages and not had any problems. That said, staff seem to change every 6 months in most places. So again, so exercise your own due diligence.


Eating Street Food in Kathmandu


Don't do it. Kathmandu's street food carts are not safe at all. Especially the meats. They are not refrigerated and usually recooked several times over.

The deep friend breads and samosas offer a 50/50 chance of a bad stomach afterwards. Ignore the YouTube videos and blogger posts where they try the street food they are mainly paid for promotions sponsored by tour agents.

Most Nepali living in Kathmandu don't eat the street food aside from the deep fried roti, breafast donuts or fried sweets in large markets. Even then, the oils are rarely changed. Local stomachs are also used to it but even then the odd bout of bad stomach is surprisingly common. Street food in Nepal is not the same as the rest of Asia. The best option for street food is do as most locals do and eat at local restaurant or cafe. In this case, do read about cheap restaurants in Kathmandu.


Restaurant opening hours in Kathmandu


Here are some insider tips about restaurant opening hours in Kathmandu that catch many people out.

Bacon and egg breakfast in Kathmandu
Bacon and egg breakfast in Kathmandu ... one best treats you can have in the morning

During the off-season restaurants tend to close up by 9pm. During peak season they like to close up then too but on average they'll take a less order at 10pm. By 11pm the staff can generally be found to be nodding off. Late night eating is not popular!

It's hard to get a breakfast before 7am too. If you have an early start, pre-order a cold breakfast the night before at your hotel or pick something up at one of the many bakeries the night before.

The good news is that many restaurants will serve breakfast all day long!


Want to find more places to eat in Kathmandu?


They are all listed in my guidebook to Nepal! Sample page of Panauti from Nepal guidebook

All the very best places to eat

From budget to mid-range all the way to fine dining. Discover the real insider places to have breakfast, lunch or dinner in Kathmandu and all over Nepal!

Here's a sample of what's included:

  • Every restaurant & hotel has been reviewed independently
  • All budgets are taken into account
  • Discover places the other guidebooks don't know about
  • Eat locally or eat internationally
  • Find places to eat from Kathmandu to Pokhara all the way to Bardia and the mountains.

Meanwhile, online, here are some more choices to help you fill up!


Map of restaurants in Kathmandu


Full directions and reviews of restaurants with better maps are available in my guidebook below. Yellow indicates breakfast restaurants, green are lunch restaurants, red are dinner restaurants and blue are budget restaurants.


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