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Dal Bhat is a Nepali meal which basically means cooked lentil soup and steamed rice. The platter ideally also includes a type of vegetable curry, leafy greens, at least one type of pickle, and a meat dish (which is optional). On average, a Nepali consumes two meals of dal-bhat every day, which amounts to 90 kg of rice every year. If you are wondering what makes the dish so appetizing, here is a list of restaurants in Kathmandu you can try for a plate of lip-smackig and finger-licking dal-bhat, to find out the answer yourself.
Housed in a real once-upon-a-time palace, Bhojan Griha offers authentic Nepali dal-bhat. Their set menu is a four course meal, which flaunts Nepalese food culture and heritage in each course. Dining at Bhojan Griha is a royal experience, accompanied with cultural performance of live singing and dancing. They have both western seating as well as Nepali cross-legged floor seating arrangements.
- Location: Dillibazar, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 441-6423
- Tip: You can choose a veg or non-veg meal on arrival. Reservation is recommended.
The eatery offers the crowd favorite Thakali dal bhat. The seasoning to the curries is what sets this meal apart, but includes essentially the same components of a dal bhat set. Thak Khola is the place to be, if you are all about the taste and don’t want to burn a hole in the wallet. Although the place is small, they offer floor and table seating.
- Location: Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur
- Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask for extra ghyu (clarified butter). No need for reservations. Just show up.
The restaurant brings the unique flavors of Tukuche, a quiet town in the Himalayas. Specializing in Thakali food, that isn’t very different from Nepali dal bhat, the restaurant has a rustic environment, reminiscent the lodges in the village of Tukuche. Do try adding Prumuchhop (Thakali chili powder), an ever-present ingredient on the table, on any dish to bring out an interesting flavor.
- Location: Durbar Marg, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 422-5890
- Tip: You can even buy Prumuchhop at the restaurant. Don’t forget to take some for home. Reservation is encouraged.
From its décor, to traditionally dressed staff, the crockery, the overall ambience, and the food served, Krishnarpan at Dwarika’s will transport you to a different era. Although the main course for the dinner is dal bhat, you have the option to select a multi-course meal which includes a 6 course or an 9 or 12 or 16 or a whopping 22 course. Krishnarpan definitely knows how to turn a humble meal of dal bhat into an experience.
- Location: Dwarika’s Hotel, Battisputali, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 447-9488 / 447-0770
- Tip: The restaurant is only open for dinner. Dinner starts at 6 pm and lasts till 11 pm. Reservation is required.
Thakali Ghar Aangan is known for their Thakali menu and décor. The ambience of the place is homely and neat, with various arts and artifacts peppered across the wall for display. But what makes this place worth a visit is its food. While the main attraction is Thakali dal bhat set, the menu offers a vast option of Thakali dishes too. We recommend you order a vegetable Thakali set and add a lot of side dishes to it.
- Location: Bansbari, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 401-8563, (+977) 9841-741-192
- Tip: Second serving is free unless you decide to throw it away. Also sharing a single plate of Thakali set is not entertained. Reservation is required for a large group of 10 or more people.
Located in the heart of Lalitpur, the restaurant’s menu is rich with Thakali and some continental dishes served for lunch and dinner. Their Thakali set is available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian option.
- Location: Jawalakhel, Lalitpur
- Phone: (+977-1) 552-3614
- Tip: Feel free to ask for second, third and even fourth serving. Everything except for meat chunks is available for unlimited serving. Reservation is recommended only for large groups.
This restaurant flaunts a menu that includes an exotic selection of Nepali dishes. All dishes show off Nepali cooking style, spices, and sauce. Dal bhat is an obvious favorite for people who frequent this eatery. Along with great food and ambience, the restaurant puts up a cultural show for its patrons every evening.
- Location: Kamaladi, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 422-5172 / 422-8723
- Tip: The loft bar at the top-most floor of the building is perfect to relax. Select a drink and some snacks, and unwind. Reservation is recommended.
Another destination for authentic Nepali dal bhat, located in a restored palace, is Nepali Chulo. The name literally translates to ‘Nepali stove’ and fits perfectly, as it is in the chulo that every delicious plate after plate of dal bhat is prepared. The meal is served in brass utensils, and can be eaten by hand or cutlery. Dinners are paired with beautiful live cultural performances.
- Location: Lazimpat, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 400-2009 / 441-8206
- Tip: They have western seating and Nepali cross-legged seating arrangements. You can book their Banquet hall for meetings/conferences as well. Their menu includes authentic Newari cuisine too. Reservation is recommended.
Promoted as a family restaurant, Alice is a small oasis surrounded by natural beauty plopped in the maddening city. The interior is a fusion of traditional Nepali and Japanese culture which is reflective of its vast menu. Along with Japanese, Chinese and Continental cuisines, the menu also includes a rich list of Nepali dishes. A set Thakali thali is appetizing and available with chicken, mutton, fish, or just vegetables.
- Location: Gairidhara, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 442-9207 / 425-7318
- Tip: Reservation is recommended.
The restaurant set in the neo-classical backdrop of a Victorian inspired palace that is Baber Mahal Revisited, exudes royalty. The ambience, the silver utensils and cutlery, and the hospitality make a humble but delicious plate of Nepali dal bhat here feel like a feast fit for the kings.
- Location: Baber Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu
- Phone: (+977-1) 426-7346
- Tip: Arrive before 7 pm to enjoy the cultural show. Reservation is recommended.
Dal Bhat is an experience in a single plate. It tells you so much about the Nepali people, their culture, and their history. Do make it a point to try it once, even though you may not want to go back to it again, which in fact is a rare occurence.