23rd April 2024

10 Best Restaurants in Bhutan You Shouldn’t Miss!

Are you craving a culinary adventure that takes you on a flavorful journey through the heart of Bhutan? Well, you’re in for a treat! In this blog post, we’ll be diving into the vibrant food scene of Bhutan, exploring the best restaurants in Bhutan that will leave you drooling and coming back for more.

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we learned that Bhutanese cuisine is a delightful fusion of traditional flavors and unique twists.

So, if you’re looking to satisfy your taste buds with mouthwatering dishes and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of this enchanting country, keep reading.

Best Restaurants in Bhutan

1. Sonam Trophel Restaurant

Sonam Trophel Restaurant

Nestled in the heart of Bhutan, Sonam Trophel Restaurant welcomes you with open arms to indulge in the authentic flavors of Bhutanese cuisine. Immerse yourself in the gastronomic traditions of Bhutan as you explore its diverse menu of traditional Bhutanese dishes.

From hearty soups like Jasha Maru to delectable Ema Datshi, each dish embodies the unique flavors of the region. Don’t miss out on their must-try specialties, such as the succulent Phaksha Paa and the mouthwatering Kewa Datshi.

As you savor these delightful creations, take in the dining experience and ambiance that Sonam Trophel Restaurant offers. The warm hospitality, traditional decor, and serene surroundings create an atmosphere that truly immerses you in Bhutanese culture.

  • Location: Paro Tshongdue Above Paro Canteen, Paro 12001 Bhutan 7
  • Prices: 300 – 400 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Phaksha Paa (pork with radishes), Kewa Datshi (potato and cheese stew), Jasha Maru (spicy chicken stew), Ema Datshi (cheese and chili stew)

2. Bhutan Kitchen

Bhutan Kitchen

For a taste of Bhutanese street food, look no further than Bhutan Kitchen. With its diverse menu options and authentic flavors, this eatery captures the essence of Bhutan’s culinary heritage.

Indulge in a culinary adventure as you explore their menu, featuring a variety of dishes that cater to all tastes. From savory Momos to flavorful Phaley, each bite is a journey into the vibrant street food scene of Bhutan.

With a focus on authentic flavors and local ingredients, Bhutan Kitchen ensures that every dish tells a story. Try their tantalizing Khatem or the aromatic Phurshur to experience the true essence of Bhutanese cuisine.

Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or enjoying a leisurely meal, Bhutan Kitchen offers an array of popular dishes and quick bites to satisfy your cravings.

  • Location: Gatoen Lam, Thimphu Bhutan
  • Prices: 900 – 1000 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Khatem (spiced chicken), Phurshur (fried mushrooms), Momos (dumplings), Phaley (pan-fried bread)

3. Ambient Cafe

Ambient Cafe

Nestled amidst the serene landscapes of Bhutan, Ambient Cafe is a haven for those seeking a laid-back atmosphere and a delightful culinary experience. This charming cafe is the perfect spot to unwind and indulge in a moment of tranquility.

Step into the cafe and be greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, which pairs perfectly with their selection of homemade pastries. Treat yourself to a slice of their decadent chocolate cake or savor the flaky goodness of their butter croissants.

Ambient Cafe takes pride in offering a range of options to cater to different dietary preferences. Their menu boasts a variety of light meals and healthy options, ensuring that everyone can find something to delight their taste buds.

From vibrant salads to wholesome grain bowls, their dishes showcase the fusion of flavors and textures that make Bhutanese cuisine unique. Take a moment to soak in the peaceful ambiance as you enjoy your meal.

The cozy vibes and picturesque surroundings make Ambient Cafe a perfect retreat for those seeking rejuvenation.

  • Location: Norzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Prices: 600 – 700 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Chocolate cake, Butter croissants, Vibrant salads, Wholesome grain bowls

4. San Maru Restaurant

San Maru Restaurant

Immerse yourself in a fusion of Bhutanese and Korean flavors at San Maru Restaurant. Located in Thimphu, this culinary hotspot offers a unique menu that combines the best of both cuisines.

Indulge in their must-try specialties, such as the flavorful Bibimbap, a Korean mixed rice dish with a Bhutanese twist. Don’t forget to sample their Bhutanese-inspired Kimchi, which adds a delightful tang to any meal.

For meat lovers, the mouthwatering Samgyeopsal, grilled pork belly, is a must-order. And if you’re craving noodles, the Jjajangmyeon, a dish of black bean noodles, is a true delight.

The menu at San Maru Restaurant reflects the cultural influences on Bhutanese cuisine, offering a unique culinary experience that marries two vibrant food traditions.

  • Location: Norzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Prices: 900 – 1000 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice dish), Bhutanese-inspired Kimchi, Samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), Jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles)

5. Taktsang Cafeteria

Taktsang Cafeteria

Fuel your hike to the iconic Taktsang Monastery with a visit to Taktsang Cafeteria. Situated in a scenic location with breathtaking mountain views, this cafeteria offers refreshments and snacks to recharge your energy.

Indulge in the traditional Bhutanese flavors with their must-try specialties, such as the invigorating Suja, a salted butter tea that is a staple in Bhutanese culture. For a hearty and comforting snack, try the Zow Shungo, a nourishing barley porridge that will warm you up from the inside out.

Additionally, the cafeteria offers a range of delectable snacks to satisfy your cravings during your visit. Treat yourself to Khapse, deep-fried cookies that come in various shapes and flavors, or savor the rich and creamy Shamu Datshi, a mushroom and cheese stew that showcases the unique blend of ingredients found in Bhutanese cuisine.

  • Location: Paro, Bhutan
  • Prices: 600 – 700 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Suja (salted butter tea), Zow Shungo (barley porridge), Khapse (deep-fried cookies), Shamu Datshi (mushroom and cheese stew)

6. Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant

Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant

Step into the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant. Located in Thimphu, this restaurant not only offers a delectable dining experience but also immerses you in Bhutan’s traditions and history.

Savor the staple of Bhutanese cuisine, the iconic Red Rice, known for its nutty flavor and vibrant hue. Pair it with a cup of Suja, the traditional salted butter tea, for a truly authentic Bhutanese meal.

The menu also features must-try specialties like Hoentay, and Bhutanese dumplings filled with turnip greens and cheese, offering a delightful burst of flavors. Indulge in Jaju, Bhutanese pancakes made with a unique blend of local ingredients, for a satisfying and wholesome treat.

Each dish at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant carries a cultural significance, allowing you to delve deeper into Bhutan’s heritage while enjoying a memorable dining experience.

  • Location: Folk Heritage Museum, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Prices: 700 – 800 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Red Rice, Suja (salted butter tea), Hoentay (Bhutanese dumplings), Jaju (Bhutanese pancakes)

7. Babesa Village Restaurant

Babesa Village Restaurant

Immerse yourself in the warm and inviting atmosphere of Babesa Village Restaurant, located in [Location]. This charming eatery offers a delightful culinary experience, showcasing the flavors of traditional Bhutanese cuisine.

Treat your taste buds to the must-try specialties of Babesa Village Restaurant. The Jasha Tshoem, a spicy chicken curry, tantalizes the palate with its rich flavors and aromatic spices. For a taste of Bhutanese comfort food, indulge in Datshi Paa, a delectable combination of chili, cheese, and meat.

If you’re a fan of beef dishes, don’t miss out on Eue Chum, a spicy beef preparation that will leave you craving for more. And for a truly authentic Bhutanese experience, savor the Hoentay, delicate dumplings filled with a mix of turnip greens and cheese.

Babesa Village Restaurant offers a cozy and welcoming ambiance, where you can enjoy your meal in the company of friends and family. The restaurant’s commitment to using locally sourced ingredients ensures the freshest flavors in every bite, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

  • Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Prices: 700 – 800 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Jasha Tshoem (spicy chicken curry), Datshi Paa (chili and cheese with meat), Eue Chum (spicy beef), Hoentay (Bhutanese dumplings)

8. Zombala

Zombala

For a unique dining experience with a touch of nostalgia, head to Zombala. Situated in [Location], this retro-themed restaurant takes you back in time with its vintage decor and menu inspired by traditional Bhutanese cuisine.

Indulge in their must-try specialties, starting with Shapale, a flavorful meat-filled pastry that is a popular street food snack. The Gyuma, Bhutanese beef jerky, is a savory delight that pairs perfectly with a refreshing beverage.

When it comes to main dishes, Phaksha Pa is a standout. This stir-fried pork dish combines tender meat with a medley of spices and vegetables, creating a burst of flavors. For a taste of Bhutanese comfort food, opt for Shakam Paa, which features dried beef cooked with radish, resulting in a hearty and satisfying dish.

Zombala’s nostalgic ambiance, attentive service, and delectable dishes make it a memorable dining destination. Step back in time and enjoy the charm of this unique restaurant that celebrates Bhutanese heritage and flavors.

  • Location: Hong Kong Market, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Prices: 400 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Shapale (meat-filled pastry), Gyuma (Bhutanese beef jerky), Phaksha Pa (stir-fried pork), Shakam Paa (dried beef with radish)

9. Champaca Cafe

Champaca Cafe

Nestled in [Location], Champaca Cafe is a hidden gem that offers a delightful blend of flavors and a cozy ambiance. This charming cafe is known for its innovative menu and attention to detail, creating a haven for food enthusiasts.

Start your culinary journey at Champaca Cafe with their must-try specialties. The Champaca Signature Salad is a refreshing medley of fresh greens, vibrant vegetables, and a tangy dressing that will tantalize your taste buds.

For a satisfying breakfast or brunch option, their Buckwheat Pancakes are a must-order, served with a variety of delicious toppings.

If you’re in the mood for something hearty, the Mushroom Risotto is a crowd-pleaser, featuring creamy Arborio rice cooked to perfection with earthy mushrooms. Pair your meal with a cup of Tibetan Butter Tea, a traditional beverage that offers a unique blend of flavors.

Champaca Cafe prides itself on using high-quality ingredients sourced from local farmers, ensuring that each dish is a celebration of fresh and wholesome flavors. The cozy and inviting atmosphere adds to the overall charm, making it an ideal spot to relax and savor a delicious meal.

  • Location: Main Street, Paro, Bhutan
  • Prices: 500 INR
  • Must-try specialties: Champaca Signature Salad, Buckwheat Pancakes, Mushroom Risotto, Tibetan Butter Tea

Conclusion – Best Restaurants in Bhutan

In conclusion, Bhutan’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses, where traditional flavors mingle with international influences.

Whether you’re indulging in authentic Bhutanese cuisine at Sonam Trophel Restaurant, exploring the street food delights at Bhutan Kitchen, or savoring fusion dishes at San Maru Restaurant, each establishment offers a unique gastronomic experience.

Don’t miss the cultural immersion at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant, the tranquil retreat at Ambient Cafe, or the nostalgic charm of Zombala.

From local favorites like Babesa Village Restaurant to the innovative creations at Champaca Cafe, these culinary gems showcase the diverse flavors and rich heritage of Bhutan. Embark on a culinary adventure and let your taste buds be your guide in this food lover’s paradise.

FAQs – Best Restaurants in Bhutan

What are the top restaurants in Bhutan that serve authentic Bhutanese cuisine?

When it comes to experiencing the true flavors of Bhutan, you can’t go wrong with Sonam Trophel Restaurant and Babesa Village Restaurant. They are renowned for their authentic Bhutanese dishes like Phaksha Paa (spicy pork) and Datshi Paa (chili and cheese with meat). These restaurants truly capture the essence of Bhutan’s culinary heritage.

Are there any restaurants in Bhutan that offer a fusion of Bhutanese and international flavors?

Yes, San Maru Restaurant is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a unique fusion experience. They expertly blend Bhutanese and Korean flavors, offering dishes like Bibimbap and Bhutanese-inspired Kimchi. It’s a delightful combination that will surprise and delight your taste buds.

Where can I find the best street food in Bhutan?

Look no further than Bhutan Kitchen! This vibrant eatery serves up mouthwatering street food delights like Khatem (spicy minced pork) and Phurshur (Bhutanese-style fritters). It’s the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the lively street food culture of Bhutan.

Are there any cafes in Bhutan that provide a peaceful retreat?

Absolutely! Ambient Cafe is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. With its serene atmosphere and delicious homemade pastries like chocolate cake and butter croissants, it’s the ideal spot to relax and enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee.

Which restaurant should I visit for a unique nostalgic experience?

Zombala is the place to go for a touch of nostalgia. With its retro-themed decor and menu inspired by traditional Bhutanese cuisine, you’ll be transported back in time. Don’t miss their must-try specialties like Shapale (meat-filled pastry) and Gyuma (Bhutanese beef jerky).

Are there any dining options near popular tourist attractions in Bhutan?

Yes, the Taktsang Cafeteria near the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a perfect choice. After hiking to this breathtaking site, you can refuel with their refreshing snacks like Suja (salted butter tea) and Zow Shungo (rice porridge). It’s a convenient and satisfying stop on your adventure.

Where can I experience a blend of food and culture in Bhutan?

The Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant offers a unique combination of culinary delights and cultural immersion. You can savor traditional Bhutanese dishes like Red Rice and Hoentay (Bhutanese dumplings) while exploring the museum’s exhibits, providing a rich and immersive experience of Bhutan’s heritage.
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