Food & Cuisine in Pokhara
Food is central to life in Pokhara, and eateries abound. The area near Lakeside North is especially packed with places to eat. Since there isn't much to do after the sun goes down here, social life revolves around the evening meal. Cafes and restaurants become a good place to sit back and relax with friends and swap stories of old treks and make plans for new ones. The locals, called the Newars, are real connoisseurs and their passion for food is evident in the variety of restaurants and cafes here.
Unlike some of the quieter towns in Nepal, Pokhara offers visitors ample choice of restaurants.
In our Pokhara restaurant guide below you will find information about great places for eating out in Pokhara, the perfect end to a day of shopping at the local markets. You should also check out our Nepal restaurant guide for more general information about the food and cuisine of Nepal.
Food & Cuisine in Pokhara
Thanks to the power outages that are so common in the area, a meal by candlelight may be the norm on your holiday. The good weather and the charm of being close to the Himalayas make this inconvenience seem like a romantic way to dine.
Restaurants catering to tourists have a standard menu, with an odd mix of foods from places outside Nepal plus local fish cooked in a variety of styles. All Nepalis usually follow a common set of recipes and cooking styles and go by the book, so things can get monotonous. Also, the food may not be exactly what you thought you ordered, but will be tasty anyway. For something different try going to restaurants run by Westerners.
If you have had it with eating so called Western food cooked Nepali style, be brave and try the local food. Quite a few places offer Indian and Nepali food. Another great budget option is to eat at a momo shack (there are dozens) with the locals. Don't drink juice anywhere, though - the roadside juice sellers dilute juice with water that may not be clean and also heavily sugar the drinks before overcharging you.
Pokhara, though touristy in parts, is largely cheaper than Thamel in Kathmandu. Low cost dinners can come at under Rs 150 for a meal for one, excluding alcohol. Breakfast and lunch are cheaper. Moderately priced meals for one are around Rs 250 and can go up to Rs 500.
Restaurants in Pokhara
For low cost yet delicious breakfasts, your best bet is the Pushkar Guest House. Here they serve a variety of cuisines through the day - even Western style meals. But the best meal here is the breakfast. They also offer a pleasing variety of liquor, including some good beer.
For cafe style food, The Puja Bakery and Cafe is inexpensive and the food tasty. On offer here are some respectable cinnamon rolls, but the cakes are slightly different from what one is used to. Everything is freshly baked, though, so the aromas of the rolls mingling with that of freshly brewed coffee can be quite enticing. The place has a very retro feel to it and you may find yourself drawn back here every day!
For European style fast food, the German Bakery is the place to go to. The cakes are great, creamy and flavourful, as are the donuts. The stock is fresh during season, but may be a couple of days old in the off-season. Some heavier savoury snacks are also available.
Lunchtime offers more varied options, so you can even try Tibetan or Korean food. The best restaurants are Koto and Hua-Han. Koto offers Korean and Japanese food while Hua-Han has the choicest Tibetan and Chinese food.
Himalayan Mountain Goat Meat
A local speciality that can only be sampled in Pokhara in Nepal is mountain goat meat, which is served during the Dashain festival. The Dashain festival is a long one and a highly revered time in the country. It is usually between late September and the middle of October, soon after the monsoons. The festival day is also called the day of victory over demons.
On the day of the festival you will see locals with their foreheads anointed with a red mark called the tika. This is made from a mix of red powder pigment, rice and yogurt and is an auspicious symbol.
On this day Nepalese are free to eat any kind of meat they like, but the preference is usually goat meat or buffalo meat or chicken. Mountain goat meat is considered really special and since these goats are found mainly in the remote Mustang area in the north west of the country near Tibet, it is a rare treat.