Cafe Kathmandu opened in the Spring of 2006, serving authentic Nepali cuisine.
This restaurant is small, cosy and worth a visit. We went on a night they were having a Tibet evening with movie and talk. Food not exceptional but it was crowded and the owner did his best to accomodate everyone. The daal bhaat tarkaari ($15) was the most expensive item on the menu, veg or chicken or goat curry + daal + chutney and steamed rice. I agree with another review that the daal was bland. In Nepal it would have been a lot spicier. All in all these small ethnic restaurants run by hard-working owners bring life to our city and should be supported as much as possible.
A friend of mine lives a block away from Cafe Kathmandu and has always wanted to give it a try. Who else in town specializes in Himalayan/Tibetan cuisine?? So a bunch of us went there for dinner last night. It was a real pleasant experience trying out something new that wasn't that far off from the kind of food I like.
We got to the restaurant at 7pm and were the only ones there. The owner was very welcoming and accommodating from the start. Unfortunately, the smell of the restaurant left little to be desired. It smelled like cross between an old book store and a church. I was expecting a nice aroma from the curries stewing in the kitchen. Luckily, I kinda got used to the smell and didn't bother me at all after 20 minutes. The owner thanked us for visiting his restaurant and offered helpful suggestions and descriptions of the menu offerings. All the items on the menu are perfect for sharing and that was exactly what we did. We ordered a bunch of tapas-like dishes including roti, sesame-lemon potatoes, shredded pork simmered in spices, both steamed and fried chicken dumpling w/ chutneys, singadaa (samosa) and chicken chili. All were very tasty and delicious. We also shared 3 mains: daal, boneless chicken red curry and a potato w/ bamboo shoots and black-eyed peas.
Everything was really really good and spices were not overpowering. The owner packed up our leftover daal and included a nice helping of fresh rice.
All that food plus drinks only came to $68 for 5 people!! We left full and satisfied!!
I guess the decor is a bit hippie/backpacker/we-are-the-world, but the photos on the wall are beautiful and an amazing quality and contrast well with the colors on the wall. I don’t think there’s anything in Vancouver quite like it. The food is nice…it seems like a sort of homemade quality, and the ingredients seem fresh and well-prepared. But I didn’t find the tastes all that exciting, I thought it was alright. It’s an enjoyable experience though and a lovely little restaurant.
My partner is not a big fan of Indian or anything too spicy or out of the ordinary. So we went sort of mainstream with the menu: momo (Nepalese dumplings) with pork and 3 delicious dipping sauces - tomato, cilantro and tamarind chutney; lemon sesame potato salad with toasted rice flakes and goat curry (medium hot).
We enjoyed each dish which were a nice complement to each other.
We shared the 3 dishes and washed it down with beer and chai tea which was absolutely smooth but unsweetened therefore flat tasting so needed some sugar which helped enhance the spices.
Will definitely head back there soon to try other menu items!
The decor tells the tale-standard 70's era eastern themed hangings/paint job and table/chairs.
The service is fast and polite but if this is Nepalese food it's no wonder so many Nepalis end up in India.
Considering that Nepal is an impoverished agrarian society with little access to anything other than a few grains and pulses the food on the plate reflects that reality-there's nothing to get excited about and no flavours that aren't presented in a more interesting and tasty fashion in other restaurants across the city.
We had eaten at five restaurants and chose Cafe Kathmandu to return to on our last night in Vancouver. All of the restaurants were on Commercial Drive and all were very good. However, the vegetarian choices at Kathmandu were outstanding. We've had Nepalese food in many countries, admittedly not Nepal. Kathmandu was the tastiest whether it was the US or Europe. And yes Nepal's cuisine is more subtle than Indian food -- that's what makes it most special. The restaurant's ambiance, aside from the owner, is most pleasant for an evening spent eating and enjoying those who are at your table.
When you walk in to Cafe Kathmandu, the experience begins. The pictures on the wall draw you into the experience, and the friendly server (again, I imagine it's the owner) greets you warmly.
He was keen on explaining his menu and walking us through our selections as this was the first time eating nepalese food.
It's tough to rate this, as the food the came out was pretty good, seem well prepared, but lacked flavor. I don't know if this is indicative of all Nepalese food, but it left me wanting something more, something different. It could be that is closely related with the South Indian food I have grown accustomed to eating.
Nonetheless, the warm welcome from the host will encourage another visit at some point. It is rare to be treated so well, and can forgive any shortcomings it may otherwise have.
Parking is a little difficult to find in the neighbourhood too... so walk if you can.
First thing I noticed was the picture of King of Nepal with the words "Bad King".
We had the Ck's signature appetizer the lhasa momo. These small steamed dumplings were a hit. The cilantro chutney was smooth and the tomato chutney might be a bit too spicy for some people. Kothay which was fried dumplings was nice and crunchy. The jhinga(prawns) was too small a serving to justify its price.
I had the rice and red lentil puree. It was not outstanding but nice and filling. All in all it was a good night and having an interesting discussion about politics, society and Nepal made it a memorable evening.
Cafe Kathmandu was definitely a good experience. We really enjoyed the chicken curry and the kothay (fried dumplings). The service was great too. Although this restaurant may not appear as flashy as other restaurants, this place is definitely a gem.
Cafe Kathmandu is without a doubt the favourite place for my family to go out for a meal. The goat curry is to die for and owner Abi Sharma will make sure to dial in precisely the degree of heat you require to meet your spice needs. My wife and I are major heat junkies and have found no other place in Vancouver that provides the level of spicy heat in food we desire and that heat is not provided by sacrificing any flavour whatsoever!!
Cafe Kathmandu is kid friendly as well. Our circle of friends have celebrated many a big occasion there and never been disappointed. It is also a great place to go if you are a vegetarian.
I have lived all over the world and have never found a curry I enjoy more!!!
Decor was nice. There are lots of wonderful framed prints of Nepal on the wall. Restaurant is small but cozy.
The service from presumably the owner was nice.
This is a very good restaurant that offers great value. I wouldn't hesitate to come back again. The dishes appear to be low in sugar and salt. The natural flavours of the food comes out. This tastes like home Nepalese cooking but I never went to Nepal so I can't say for sure. The use of msg and other preservatives was low.
The food served here is better than most Indian restaurants.
What we had:
Aaloo achaar $6
Chilled sesame-lemon potato salad flavored with timmur (Himalayan peppercorns) and fenugreek
This was a mild yet flavourful dish. We liked it except we did not expect it to be cold.
Kukhurako maasu $12
Boneless chicken simmered in a curry of onion and spice.
This was a very nice dish. We asked for medium heat for all our dishes but medium is quite mild to our tastes. This dish went very well with the rice.
Lightly seasoned potatoes simmered with bamboo shoots and black-eyed peas.
This dish was too mild to our liking. The bamboo shoots were nice. The potato presence was not strong. Overall it's a dish that needs more flavour.
Large (Daal bhaat tarkaari) $15
The very definition of a meal in Nepal. Your choice of vegetable, chicken or goat curry accompanied by daal, with steamed rice, roti and achaar (chutney).
This was our favourite dish. The goat was quite good. The meat was not gamey at all. The roti, daal and achaar were quite good.
I was here in January and thought it was fantastic. The food was a bit different from the usual and the service was so friendly. Ate here again last weekend and have to say my opinion hasn't changed. The food was outstanding. We let Abi (the owner) just cook for us and he came up witha wonderfuf menu. We ate well, there were three of us and including a generous tip, we paid $20. each.
Will definitely be back and would definitely recommend it.
Having just come back from Nepal, me & some friends were keen to try this place out in an effort to remember the wonderful time I had there - it hit the spot. The momos were exactly how they tasted in Kathmandu and the Khumbu Valley. We got a half order of veggie & the other half of pork, the dipping sauces were yum but the hot sauce was exactly as I have tasted in Nepal. We also enjoyed the bhutuwaa - goat was extra good. Also excellent was the kaauli - v.good. As I went vegetarian on my trip, I cannot compare the kukhurako maasu but it was full of flavour and really delicious. The daal was better in Nepal, I think more flavoured there than at Cafe Kathmandu but this is not a showstopper. Another recommendation to try is the raaio - very different taste to anything western. All in all, a place I would thoroughly recommend but one last word .... get some thukpa (soup) on the menu!
Excellent value for money. After having been to a lot of ethnic cuisine restaurants, Cafe Kathmandu comes across as one of the best places to go. Not pretentious at all, and very simple yet flavourful delicacies from Nepal, a place not too renowned for its cuisine. Generous portions served by an ever enthusiastic host, along with really cool pictures and murals from Nepal add to the dining experience here. A much recommended option for vegetarians bored of eating the standard and often terrible-tasting items offered by Indian restaurants in the Vancouver area... though similar in terms of preparation, the tastes and textures of each entree are distinctly different from Indian food. In nutshell, a very enjoyable restaurant with a small but delectable menu.
So living on the drive I always like to try new cuisine such as ethiopian, italian, vietmanese, etc. I stumbled by this place while venturing to the area of the drive south of broadway (which is rare). Nepalese sounded intruiging so I put it on my list of restaurants I wanted to try.
Finally went down last night and I wasn't dissapointed. The food quality was excellent and all the spices were familiar but different. Hard to describe. Had a toasted soybean dish as an appetizer, as well as some seasoned chicken cubes. Very nice. The chicken was tender and flavourful. Main course was a Goat Curry. Again the meat was of very high quality and the spices were perfect.
The server (who I imagine is the owner) was very attentive and helpful. We were definitly well taken care of. We we are to dine for 2 for $33, including beer!! Never seems to be busy so try it before this jewel dissapears.
We were looking forward to trying this restaurant for some time. Mr & I have been to Kathmandu and although Nepal is not known for it's culinary excellence, we did have some good experiences there. I was expecting the food to be more comforting and flavourful. While it wasn't bad, it wasn't good either. The portions were small and overpriced. Everything was pretty mediocre. We want to support restaurants such as this, but probably won't be back again.
Bang for the buck is really high here. It's not fine linen dining but a very bright and cheerful room that is impecabley clean awaits. I'll take better prices, great service and cleanliness any day over a frou frou decor.
Went with a few friends and we worked through 5 dishes, 4 were very good but the dahl lacked umph. A killer hot sauce revived it to a degree, but I suspect that the vegetable stock was weak or only water was used in it's making. Admittedly we ordered the mild version so I will have to retry with a higher heat rating.
In particular the Kukhurako maasu (similar to butter chicken's consistency but with out the heavy cream overtones) was delicious. A deep intense flavourful sauce was mopped up by nice roti.
Other dishes sampled, Bhutuwaa (goat appetizer), Momo's (dumplings) and Kaauli (cauliflower and potatoes) all spot on.
Discovered this placed while arranging a driver's licence on commercial. Despite not big crowds in the place, the owner is very enthusiastic, counsels very well and doesn't get bored as you ask the same questions over and over. He will even give you little bits to taste from the things you haven't chosen. This man doesn't only run a very original place, he makes you discover the sense of hospitality. The food is very authentic, tasty and delicious.
The wine selection is comparable to the one in the Everest base camp, but what to expect from a country that isn't famous for its grapes.
Try it, definitely!