Restaurants & Bars

Nepal (with stops in Delhi and Amsterdam)

digga | Jan 10, 200911:48 PM     4

(Wasn't sure which board to post this on...)

B and I just returned from a trip to Nepal and we transitted through Delhi and AMS so made 2 quick stops in these two cities. We ate only at places that were frequented by Westerners and on the beaten path because one of us got VERY ill on our last trip. So, sadly, no street food, either.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time for a meal (we both wanted Indonesian). We landed and reached the city before anything opened, ~7am. Nothing seemed to open until well after 9am - I can see why, it was so cold and dark. We found a bakery and had good espressos and a muesli bar, all bound up with a small amount of chocolate. B loved it! We hit Rijks and Van Gogh museums before grabbing a cone of Belgian fries a few blocks from Centraal Station. They were good, not sublime, and they were drowning in the red chilli sauce B ordered. We would have preferred the sauce on the side. Medium size was ~3 Euros. (Note: Unless you are sharing, do not order the large size - the guy in front of us did and he couldn't believe how large it was.)

We really had only one memorable meal - lunch at Mosaic, a place we found through a recent NYT article. (Sorry, I didn't take notes so I don't have the real names of the dishes.) The menu features dishes from many different regions in India - not your usual fare. We started with an aloo appetizer that reminded me (in a good way) of American potato skins - hollowed out baby potatoes which were "re-stuffed" with the insides all mixed up with delicious mixed dried spices and, I think, re-baked in the jackets. I had a Gujarati-style corn curry (Kadhi?) that was unusual to me. Really tasty spooned over the good rice and with a bit of piquant lime pickle, all delivered to my mouth with a bit of paratha. As good as my meal was, B out-ordered me. He had a chicken in gravy dish that was really spectacular (I had only tried a bit of the sauce as I don't eat meat). WOW! I wish I had the name of that dish. The sauce was a revelation! We also ordered some of the best naan we've ever tasted. Simply called cheese and tomato naan, it was like some of the best pizza we'd ever tasted. The service was attentive, the place was a nice respite from the hectic city, and the prices were reasonable (Rs 800, which is about $16 USD with $1=Rs 50). They have beer but we refrained since we were so tired from our flight. We had our last meal at the Intercontinental in Nehru Place where we staying for a splurge at the end of our trip - the breakfast buffet was enormous. I made several trips for the Indian food and Asian jook (rice porridge) station, while B happily munched on fruit, meats, salmon, etc. Freshly squeezed juices, like sugar-free cucumber spinach, were refreshing.

-Kathmandu/Patan/Boudha: After a while, all the farang restaurants start to look the same (you start seeing the same menu everywhere, well known to users of Lonely Planet). Breakfast was eaten in our hotel every morning. Ate dinner twice at New Orleans Cafe. The name is cheesy, but the place is really pleasant at night - candle-lit (partly out of necessity due to frequent black-outs in KTM and throughout Nepal) and cosy, with live music on certain nights. First dinner was veggie (me) and non-veg daal bhaat (B). Both were delicious, especially with cold Everest beer - soupy daal served with rice, spinach, bread, chicken for the non-veg. On the pricey side, at ~Rs 250-300 ($3 - $4 USD with $1=Rs 75) - you can get daal bhaat for less than that but we were ok with paying farang prices for the nice atmosphere and the fancier version of the national dish. The second dinner, I had veggies in a lemongrass sauce which was good, but not very memorable. Beautifully presented, though, with rice and other fixins (Rs 275). B had the steak which came with fries and veggies. Not bad for Rs375. Had delicious momo nearly everywhere (I swear, they taste almost just like my mom's Korean dumplings). A particularly good one at Helena's. All were made to order and came with same savory, creamy, slightly spicy sauce. In between, we had small snacks on rooftop decks over-looking city squares in Patan and Boudha and I got my fill of thukgpa (Tibetan rice noodle soup). Our last meal - B had to have the steak sizzler at K-Too and deemed it the best of the trip. The usual steak, fries and vegetable for Rs 325 ($4.25 USD). I had the daal bhaat which was very good, except for the very salty spinach.

-Chitwan National Park: Meals were eaten at our "resort" (a term I use loosely - rather rustic, which we both liked). The breakfasts and lunches were merely used for caloric intake, but the buffet dinners were quite delicious. Fantastic Nepali food one night, ok Chinese the next. Really good popcorn and ice-cold San Miguel beer at happy hours made us happy.

-Pokhara: Not much to report. One snack at Mike's - the peanuts sauteed with ginger and garlic was a delicious surprise. It came with bits of tomato and cliantro. Great with beer. We had burritos which were enormous and tasted ok. Another steak dinner at Everest (cooked way too long, but B still managed to eat it all). I had the Tibetan sha-bale, described to me as Tibetan pizza. It reminded me of Chicago stuffed pizza - so good. And huge. I could eat only 1/3 of it. It made a nice snack the next morning for the two of us.

Overall, a great trip! We're already craving those momo...Not quite the same here in Boston.

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