The simplicity of the real important things: climbing, eating, sleeping while in the mountains passes by. So climbing is over for awhile. Sleeping probably won’t be as trouble free again.
Now onto the food.
Restaurants before and after the 7 summits: the satisfying of cravings, the eating more calories because you are hungry all the time, the joy of a great meal with climbing mates. After all, we are either training or celebrating and to forego the best food, while traveling the 7 continents, makes no sense.
So on a list that is obviously highly personal, let’s go from top to bottom of the 7, starting with Everest.
Everest – the days of Dahl Baht and simple Pasta are long past at Everest Base Camp and with Chefs like Gavin in the Jagged-Globe Camp, you are likely to have Devonshire tea and scones in the afternoon, followed by Lamb Chops with roasted potatoes and gravy in the evening, with an Apple Pie for dessert.
Then fresh popped, pop-corn comes out with the evening movie. So your Base Camp craving should be well satisfied with any of the Western led expeditions. But after those nights on the South Col, you’ll still reach Kathmandu with a healthy appetite.
It’s hard to not to visit the tried and true classic Fire and Ice, which for years stood out long before others seemed to crack it, as a place you could start with a tomato and mozzarella salad drizzled in olive oil, move onto a suitably thin crust Quatra Stagioni Pizza and finish up with a piece of chocolate cake or apple pie.
With a large beer or a bottle of wine, the repast will have been very worthwhile, the atmosphere excellent (it was after al Ueli Stecks’s favorite restaurant in Kathmandu). With a location on the Thamel fringe, close to hotels or a taxi, it’s easy to get home from. With a nightcap at the always classic Sam’s Bar, or an IPA at the new Yeti Tap Room, you will have rounded out the evening successfully.
If the crouds, the dust and the threat of being run over rises up in Thamel, there is also the excellent Curilo’s Coffee, just a 10 minute walk north of Thamel in Lazimpat. Great pizza, the new Sherpa beer and the salad and dessert options can round out the evening. Located just across from the British Embassy, it is also a worthy escape for quality coffee and breakfasts.
For another option, the Australian Lamb Chops at the New Orleans can be very satisfying, or if you would like a great final Dahl Baht, Thamel House will serve you well in both chairs or on the traditional floor cushions, in a warm, traditional Nepali atmosphere.
Another option for Nepali food is the 6 to 22 course Nepali meals out at Dwarika’s. Or if really craving some Japanese food, another restaurant there may surprise you with Sashimi, Sushi rolls and Sukiyaki. Dwarika’s is complete with a British Pub, Newari courtyard and pool, providing a full respite from the energy of Kathmandu – it could be the haven needed to transition you gently and comfortably back from your climb.
If skipping the Thailand experience on your escape from Kathmandu, it is well worth the short taxi ride from Thamel to Krua Thai for the classic mix of spicy Tom Yang soup and Thai green curry.
For consistently tasty middle eastern food in Thamel, there is always OR2K with its trendy traveling crowd and cushioned floor seating if you want to stretch your legs and recline in comfort.
A deserved final mention is for a secret garden and very comfortable restaurant 15 minutes outside Thamel, the Salon de Kathmandu. With a mix of Asian, Western and European selections it is an ideal place to escape Thamel and spend a few relaxed hours.
Trip advisor restaurant ratings are highly suspect in Kathmandu, top rated restaurants can often disappoint and read like a string of superlatives, either positive or negative as posted by friends and family. Oh for a good issue of the Katmandu Zagat’s, the classic and highly respected restaurant review started in NYC.
As much as I appreciate a good meal, all my ratings are unbiased beyond the food I’ve been served and perhaps a short chat with the owners or chef.