PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN POKHARA

OUR TOP PICKS FOR PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK WHEN IN POKHARA, NEPAL

Pokhara, Nepal is a beautifully chilled out, little lake-side town (well, technically, the second most visited city in Nepal). We spent four weeks in the town of Lakeside, right next to the quaint Phewa (Fewa) Lake. I know what you’re thinking: “four weeks?! That’s far too long”… and you’d be right. 

It wasn’t the original plan, but that’s the joy of backpacking – it doesn’t always go to plan. 


So why were we there for so long? 

Firstly it was my (Danielle’s) birthday, so we wanted to take a few days to just stay still, have a rest and splash out a little (I’m sure you understand). Then, it was Christmas, and we didn’t want to be hiking on Christmas Day, so we chilled some more. So, the plan was to hike up to Poon Hill on boxing day. 

But, on Christmas Day, Brenna got bitten by a street dog (we think she just got a little too close to a resting dog on the walk back from dinner, and unknowingly scared him – that, or he was crazy and rabid), and with a dog bite from a street dog comes the very justified fear of rabies.

One trip to the hospital later and she now had a tetanus shot, and the rabies treatment was started (it’s a very long process: four injections over a 28-day period). So thats why we were in Pokhara for nearly four weeks. You just have to laugh at the bad times and think “what have we learnt from this?”: maybe we will give rabid, resting dogs a wider birth.


The plus side to all this is that we have eaten out a huge number of times, and we can now give you some good recommendations on places that are actually tried and tested by us (many, many times)! 

So, here are our top pick for places to eat and drink in Pokhara. But first, here is a little bit about extra (unexpected) charges.

TAXES AND TIPPING (GRATUITY)

Firstly, I’ll cover the extra charges: taxes and tipping. It can get a little bit confusing, and we’ve seen endless people looking at the bill confused at the price calculation. I’ll keep it simple (well as simple as I can). 

It varies from place to place on whether or not they will add tax and/or gratuity to the bill. They will always state what is going to be added at the bottom of the menu, or on the front page (if you can’t see it, just ask someone). Some places will add both on, some just add 10% tip, and others just the 13% tax. Basically, if you read the small print on the menu first (usually on the front page, or on the bottom of each page) you won’t have any nasty surprises. 

So that’s our top tip: just remember that the bill may be up to 23% higher than you initially expect. 


HIMALAYAN JAVA COFFEE


There is no Starbucks in Nepal, and Himalayan Java Coffee is the next best thing – it is basically the Nepalese equivalent of Starbucks.

This was our go to coffee shop. It’s the perfect place for a coffee (and lunch/breakfast). The menu is slightly limited but what they sell is very tasty, with big portions and it’s pretty cheap! All round winner, winner! 

Check out that quality crema! (That ain’t no Nescafé)

There are two Himalayan Java Coffee’s in Pokhara, and both are off the main street. Our personal favourite was the one furthest north of Lakeside, inside a small ‘mall’ (below OR2K – see below). This one had great views over the lake, and was much bigger, with more seating.

Pancakes, sandwiches and croissants are the main sections on the menu. Brenna’s favourite was the bacon sandwich – the crispy bacon was so good it made us eat meat (normally we go vegetarian while travelling). You get TWO sandwiches and fries for 420rs. I personally liked the banana pancakes, as you get two big pancakes and a bowl of fruit for 280rs. BARGAIN! They have lots of power outlets and extensions leads around as well as free WiFi, so you’ll find many people in there working and on their laptops. 

The drinks menu is very extensive, with many coffees and other hot/cold drinks to choose from (blended iced coffees, fresh juices, tea, hot chocolate). They also have lots of fresh cakes and pastries available – you can eye them up in the cabinet before you choose a table. They have a nice inside area with very comfy seating (like Starbucks) and a small decked area with great views out to the lake.

They DO add a 10% service charge, and 13% tax on top of the menu prices.

himalayan java pokhara from the street
Himalayan Java Coffee from the street below (it’s up on the first floor).

OR2K


Similar to it’s bigger sibling in Kathmandu, this OR2K is a fully vegetarian restaurant. It is hidden on the second floor of a small ‘mall’, just off the main road in Lakeside. It’s a little gem. 

OR2K pokhara from the main road
OR2K from the street (it’s on the second floor, inside a small ‘mall’, above Himalayan Java Coffee).

There is a very vast menu, with lots to choose from: paninis, pizza, traditional foods, veggie burgers and many more. I’d be surprised if you don’t find something you like. We usually went here for lunch/ snacks or dinner. There is a lot of snacks like pakodas, hummus and babaganoush, as well as some great platters for sharing. This makes it ideal for a smaller lunch!

As you enter you’ll take off your shoes and take a seat on cushions on the floor. There are a lot of tables all rather close to each other. It’s got a great vibe – candles on the tables, lights dimmed and nice music on in the evening. The staff are very friendly and attentive! They DO add both 10% service and 13% tax on to the bill here. 

OR2K menu snacks
OR2K Pokhara menu: snacks (our personal favourite was the pakodas)!

Fun fact: this was the first place we tried Everest beer! 


ROADHOUSE CAFE


This place has the best service in Pokhara (well, that’s what we think). You walk in and are instantly greeted by anyone that sees you. 

They have a lovely roof terrace and upper tier, as well as a very spacious and atmospheric main, lower level. There is a nice, open kitchen, so you can see what’s going on behind the scenes. 

So, the food! They serve predominantly western style dishes – mostly Italian: pizza, pasta and steaks etc.. It looks very nice from the main street, all lit up with lots of fairy lights. It does look a little expensive, and I won’t lie to you, it can be very pricey if you are on a budget and you are not careful (speaking from experience: 5,000rs for dinner on Christmas day! Although we did have 3 courses and a bottle of wine). 

The wraps are about 450Rs, a pizza/ pasta main is in the region of 700rs. I had the mushroom fettuccine, and it was amazing (see picture below of my happy face)! But, if you are on a budget I would still recommend it. Even the budget backpacker needs a treat once in a while, right?! Just stick to the wrap section (they are super tasty, they were Brenna’s go-to dinner choice), and maybe don’t get the beer. 

They also add 13% tax and 10% gratuity/service on to the bill.


UMBRELLA CAFE


We didn’t come across this place until about a week before we left. But, it became one of our favourite places to eat in Pokhara! 

umbrella cafe pokhara front
Umbrella Café Pokhara, from the main street.

It’s a very cute little vegetarian/ vegan cafe in North Lakeside. Right on the main road, it’s very easy to find. They have a cute little raised area where you can sit and people watch whilst enjoying your breakfast or dinner. 

We had breakfast there every morning (that’s how tasty it was) and dinner there once (only because we didn’t want to eat there twice every day). 

So, you’ve guessed it: this is our favourite suggested breakfast place! The menu is very big and varied. They have a few set breakfasts, which are very good value at about 350 rupees (including tea or coffee) and there was so much food! Very big portions and it all tasted so good! The breakfast taco has to be the one we recommend the most: two whole-meal chapattis stuffed with tomato, onion, spinach, tofu and spices! I feel like I’m not selling it well, but trust me, it was great! Brenna claimed it to be her best breakfast in all of Nepal. 

They also do a really good ginger kombucha too for only 100Rs. Another fun fact: this was the first place either of us tried kombucha, and we were surprised at how nice it was! I thought it was supposed to taste gross? But, it was delightful. 

I’m getting excited talking about this place. We loved it. And the staff were amazingly friendly. And, they don’t add anything onto the bill at the end – the price you see the is the price you pay! It’s at your discretion if you’d like to tip (which you totally should, but the staff are incredible!).  


SIM SARA BAR


This was our go to cheap beer place, right on the lake. It was so peaceful and quiet. We instantly felt relaxed as soon as we were sitting there, looking out at the lake. It’s almost like a different place to the rest of Lakeside and the main road running parallel. There is an almost island-like feel to the place – so quiet and chill. 

san miguel on lake fewa pokhara lakeside
One of our favourite things to do in Pokhara: chill by the lake with a San Miguel.

A big (650ml) San Miguel is only 265rs! What a bargain! We do love a bargain (almost as much as we love beer). Note: there is a big A-board out the front, with the beer prices on if it’s happy hour.

Other places on the main road charge an average of 550rs for the same beer. It’s a no thrills little shack, but the staff are lovely and super friendly. It’s one of the busier bars along the lake, due to its good happy-hour prices (we were unsure of when happy-hour started and ended, but it always seemed to be happy hour whenever we were there). 

We tried a few of the snacks, Pakodas were our go-to favourite. They were really good and only 220rs. To be honest, everything on the menu was really, REALLY cheap. If you are on a super budget, head down to the lake. All of the places along there do very cheap, local food.

nepali vegetarian snacks
Vegetarian snacks at Sim Sara bar in Lakeside.

LITTLE WINDOWS


This place was very cute and another of our favourite places to eat in Pokhara. It’s a lovely vegetarian and vegan restaurant right on the Main Street. It’s upstairs so don’t miss it, or walk on by! There is an option to sit on low tables with cushions, or you can sit at a regular table. The menu is pretty big, offering Buddha bowls, pizzas, bbq plates, fajitas, and wraps. Brenna really liked the mushroom fajitas and my go to was the falafel and eggplant Buddha bowl. Both super yummy! 

Very reasonably priced, and the service was always very good. The perfect lunch or dinner spot. They have plug outlets at every table if you want to bring your laptop and do some work (or the best kind of planning: travel planning)!

They add 13% tax to the bill, but service charge is optional.

Also note: they grow their own vegetables on their rooftop! Super fresh and organic.


KRAZY GECKO


This place is beautiful – it felt like we walked into another, exotic country! It’s got very island-like feel to it here. It’s around on the north side of the lake. You have to walk up the main road for about 15 minutes from the centre to get there, but it’s totally worth it. 

It’s right on the lake, and made up of small tables all tucked away and hidden. The tables are almost ‘tree house style’ – all made of wood and bamboo, with rope swings and pretty little fairy lights. We’d recommend this one for cocktails. It’s happy hour every hour! And the cocktails are 300rs. Bargain! It’s the perfect place to chill and have a cocktail or 3 (well it is happy hour, so maybe 4). 

They also serve coffee and food. We had lunch there, but we wouldn’t rush back again for the food. Maybe some fries, and the veggie burger was good. This is a snack and drinks place. There was also a very cute and friendly cat, who comes over to say hello. We also came across a not so cute or friendly rooster, who was huge and stared deep into our souls while we ate (and then jumped into our seats to eat the crumbs we left behind). 

krazy gecko food
Buddha Bowl at Krazy Gecko Pokhara.

OUR PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR


LAPTOP – Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch

SMALL CAMERA – Olympus OMD- E-M10 Mark II

ZOOM LENS – Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm Lens

DSLR BODY – Canon 60D

WIDE ANGLE LENS – Sigma 10-20mm Lens

DRONE – DJI Mavic Pro

ACTION CAMERA – GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition

MICROPHONE – Rode VideoMicro

CAMERA BAG – Lowepro Fastpack 250 AW II


So that’s the list of our favourite seven places to eat and drink in Pokhara. There are also many other places that we tried, but these were the ones we kept coming back to day after day. Happy eating!


For more idea on what to do in Pokhara, check out our posts on the World Peace Pagoda and Paragliding in Pokhara. If you’re like us and spent way too long here, see our post about extending your visa in Pokhara.

If you’re heading into the mountains to go trekking, check out our VERY detailed post on how to trek to Everest Base Camp, and also how much it will cost in total.


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Brenna & Danielle

About Us

We are Brenna & Danielle, two travel bloggers and photographers from England. 
After quitting our jobs in 2017, we backpacked and travelled to over 3 continents, and 20 countries together. We aim to inspire, through our honest and detailed travel guides and advice.
This blog exists to serve as an in-depth guide to many destinations across the globe, but also to inspire travel and adventure in all those that peruse these pages.

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