Welcome Kathmandu Cafe, serving Nepali/Himalayan food in downtown Asheville

How many restaurants would begin business on Christmas Eve? Kathmandu Cafe is doing it, and serving both lunch and dinner.

“Welcome to the world of dal, bhat and tarkari (lentil, rice and curry), a popular meal prepared twice daily in every family’s home throughout Nepal,” the menu declares.

“When my wife and I first visited Asheville in late 2000, we fell in love with the Smoky Mountains (hills to us!),” explains Manoj and Sushila Lama, the restaurant’s owners. “We immediately decided to move and make Asheville our home. We opened our retail shop, Himalayas Import, which offers fair trade artifacts and handicrafts in the Battery Park area of downtown. Wanting to share more of our culture with Asheville, we decided to introduce our traditional cuisine from the Himalayas, ensuring that you will not miss even one single spice.”

Lunches run $6.50 to $11 without drinks. Currently, the menu lists chai (tea), a yoghurt/mango drink and sodas. Manoj hopes to be able to serve wine and beer soon.

Dinner entrees run $9.50 to $15. A quick look at just a couple of the vegetarian entrees includes:

• Aloo, bodi, tama (potato, black-eyed peas, bamboo shoots simmered in curry sauce and Himalayan herbs)
• Vege chau chau (Pan fried soft noodles and vegetables with fresh ginger and garlic)
• Begun bharta (clay oven-roasted eggplant curry cooked in slow heat with fresh ginger garlic, tomato and fresh ground garam masala).

There are also chicken, lamb and seafood entrees; thali (combination meals); tandoori bread and Nepali desserts, not to mention appetizers, soups and salads.

Manoj is excited about the restaurant’s clay oven. The dinner menu offers six specialty items, many of which have been marinated overnight in homemade yogurt and fresh ground spices.

The restaurant is located at 90 Patton Ave., the former location of Sugo. Call 252-1080 for more information.

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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8 thoughts on “Welcome Kathmandu Cafe, serving Nepali/Himalayan food in downtown Asheville

  1. Jim Donato

    We’ve only had Nepalese food once, in British Colombia, so we’re happy to see this newcomer to the Asheville restaurant scene!

  2. annica2

    sounds good. shoot. i feel that 17 hour bus ride from kakharvitta to kathmandu now.

  3. entopticon

    My wife (a nutritionist and food author) and I ate there for lunch today, and it was a wonderful surprise. We both agreed that the naan was easily the best that we have had in Asheville. We got a few dishes so that we could try an assortment, and everything we ordered was delicious. I hadn’t expected it would be so good, especially so soon after opening, because most places take a while to find what works for them.

    Our servers were especially friendly and professional, and our food came right out.

    The interior is very well done as well, so the atmosphere is particularly enjoyable, along with the food. The architecture of the interior space is really remarkable, and they did exceptional things with it. I am a professional color consultant on the side, so I am often disappointed in the colors that businesses choose, but the warm orange pallet that they chose is fantastic and fills the whole space with an uplifting glow. It brings out the most in the unique architecture of the space, as does the Nepalese art that they decorated it with. Even the tables and chairs are exceptionally cool.

    We both can’t wait to go back for dinner. We especially look forward to it because they have combination meals (thali) which we both really appreciate because we like to have a lot of different things to try.

    We would definitely recommend giving it a try.

  4. entopticon

    I forgot to mention, they also make an effort to use local ingredients when possible, which is greatly appreciated as well. And they grind their own spices, which is very cool too.

  5. entopticon

    We took a party of eight back for dinner on Tuesday night, and the food was excellent once again. It was great because we got to try a number of different dishes, and every one of them was delicious. A couple friends of ours went for lunch, and they thought their meal was wonderful as well.

  6. kms

    went to lunch on Jan 26th 2010. it was great. i highly recommend the onion stuffed naan as well as the samosa. the kukhura curry chicken was main dish i got, but i would have been satisfied with just the naan and samosa (don’t get me wrong — the curry was great — just a lot of food.) very inexpensive, very quick. only negative was the music a tad higher than we would have preferred to allow conversation, but our server quickly took care of when we asked.

  7. jle

    truly excellent food. I will definitely be back. The atmosphere is great, the staff very friendly and professional. Don’t miss this!

  8. Manoj

    Himalayan cuisine means , North Indian Nepali and Tibetan. That is what it needs to be listed under. Otherwise many people don’t know what Himalayan cuisine means.? Thanks

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