Bhaktapur is the City of Culture, and part of showcasing this rich heritage is in their cuisine. While there isn’t a dish that is particularly tied to Bhaktapur, with most focusing on the national identity dishes of Nepal such as dhal bhaat or Newari cuisine, there is a signature dessert. Bhaktapur is quite famous for its juju dhau, which means the “King of All Dessert,” a type of custard/yogurt that can be eaten by itself. Some prefer it with honey. When in Bhaktapur, eat what the Nepalese eat. Here are some of the recommended restaurants in the city of Bhaktapur based on factors such as quality, cleanliness, affordability and ambiance:
1. The restaurant with a view, Shiva’s Cafe Corner
Found on the ground floor of the oldest guest house in Bhaktapur, Shiva Guest House, is Shiva’s Cafe Corner. Other than having one of the best views of Durbar Square (as the building is also one of the highest at four stories high), the cafe is one of the most frequented restaurant cafes in the area. It serves multiple types of cuisine such as Nepali, Newari, and international continental dishes. If you must choose though, Bhaktapur is somewhat famous for having excellent vegetable produce, so you might want to take advantage of that by ordering something that’ll highlight this such as the Cafe Corner’s vegetable pakoras, the Nepalese daal baht, and other Indian vegetable curries. Their fried rice and momos are bestsellers as well. Pair these with their excellent espresso, which is a good companion for people-watching. The Cafe Corner is also a great place to meet travelers of different nationalities as well, especially during lunch and dinner when the place is constantly packed with travelers from all over the world.
Shiva's Cafe Corner
Address: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal
Website: Shiva’s Cafe Corner
2. The 360-degree view of Nyatapola Cafe
The cafe is in the middle of the action, in Taumadhi Tole. Cafe Nyatapola has somewhat become a historical landmark in itself, with guests wandering in before or after their visit to the Nyatapola Temple. You’ll see the temple in the balconies of the Newari-style cafe and it has outdoor seating on all four sides. This is the type of place that you either love or hate as it almost always is packed with people, no matter what time you venture in. Service is a little slow, probably because their staff can’t keep up with the droves of people. So, don’t go in there famished as it will take a bit of time before your food actually gets served. The cafe serves mostly continental dishes like chicken noodle soup, fries, sweet and sour chicken, etc. If you’re with a big group, you can also order the Nepali set, served family-style. The gamechanger though is Bhaktapur’s famous yogurt, juju dhau, a custardy, creamy dessert or palate cleanser. Cafe Nyatapola is well-known for this.
Address: Taumadi Road, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal
3. Have a laid back evening at Sunny Restaurant and Cosy Bar
If you want to escape the sometimes endless drove of tourists in Durbar Square, Sunny Restaurant and Cosy Bar found at the rooftop of Cosy Hotel is a great way to do it. The restaurant presentation and food offerings, from its comfort soups to the filling vegetable, chicken and mixed wraps (which happen to be their specialty), conjure up something homey. The restaurant is well-known for giving value for money as well, meaning big portions at a reasonable price. Like many restaurants in Bhaktapur, they also have really good juju dhau. If you have trouble with your knees though, you might find its rooftop location a tad challenging as the restaurant is about five floors high.
Sunny Restaurant and Cosy Bar
Address: Pottery Square -12, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal
4. Going beyond expectations, Cafe Beyond
Visitors call it the cafe with a heart. This Korean restaurant is the sustainability platform of a non-government organization called Beyond Nepal that teaches about and advocates for local organic farming. The vegetables, of course, are grown from their very own garden and are made into classic Korean dishes such as bibimbap and Korean sushi. They also grow their own herbs and tea selection. Everything about this restaurant isn’t just cute, it also happens to be a welcome change from all the momos and daal bhatis. Cafe Beyond has outdoor seating in their garden which overlooks parts of the Kathmandu Valley. If you’re in a hurry though, come early. Cafe Beyond uses slow cooking methods in order not to kill the micronutrients in the vegetables so cooking might take some time.
Address: Bhaktapur Road 15, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal
5. The best coffee in Bhaktapur at Beans the Coffee Shop
If you want to start your day right in Bhaktapur, Beans the Coffee shop Restaurant has all the ingredients to jumpstart your day; the best coffee in Bhaktapur from homegrown beans, a hearty breakfast selection, and an excellent view of Durbar Square. The coffeeshop offers continental breakfasts such as french toast and bacon, breakfast muffins, sandwiches, and the like. They also have a good selection of cakes, pastries and cookies. The coconut macarons, walnut brownies and oatmeal cookies are worth mentioning. If you just want something to drink, you can also ask for the Su Neil Special. Su Neil, one of the owners, makes a mean Oreo and ice cream milkshake.
Beans the Coffee Shop
Address: Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal
Surrounding the UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you’ve noticed, most of the restaurants in Bhaktapur surround the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durbar Square. Most also offer a view facing it. This can be somewhat a disadvantage in terms of price and space, as crowds have a tendency to just congregate here as well, but the food and location make the wait worth it. Restaurants in Bhaktapur are one of the best ways to meet likeminded people or watch what the Nepalese people do in their everyday lives. Tipping really isn’t a heavy or usual practice in Nepal. However, with the restaurants on this list trying their best to provide the best service, you might want to give a gesture of appreciation once in a while.