There is no denying the fact that Bhutan is a bucket list destination for tourists around the world.
Bhutan has lots to offer, ranging from its natural beauty to its harmonious citizens. You will be surprised how people live in this country located far in the Himalayas.
Within all of its beautiful land and people lie restaurants with authentic cuisines that will surely tingle your taste buds.
Bhutan is known for its spicy food, so be ready to experience tastes like never before. In this blog, we will be breaking down ten of the best restaurants in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
Do not be alarmed when we say Bhutan is known for its spicy food; the capital actually offers dynamic choices of cuisines like Indian, Chinese, Nepalese, and Continental for tourists who want to experience home away from home.
1. Babesa Village Restaurant
If you want to taste real Bhutanese cuisine, Babesa Village Restaurant should be on your itinerary during your visit.
The establishment is traditional mud houses, which ensures safety at all costs along with the experience of how Bhutanese used to live in the olden days.
Try their set menu, which includes hot beverages such as butter tea (Suja), rice, dry pork/beef, and various organic veggies such as turnip, radish, eggplants, spinach, and cheese.
Overall, it is a resounding yes for anyone interested in trying Bhutan’s unique cuisine during their visit.
The seating is intimate, with low ceilings perfect to have a family meal and experience hospitality like never before.
The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and will be able to explain the ingredients used in the food and provide insights into the life of Bhutanese 100 years ago.
Location: Thimphu, Babesa main highway
2. Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant
The museum showcases an excellent collection of traditional household products, tools, equipment, and artifacts from rural homes to give you a glimpse of traditional Bhutanese existence.
The museum also hosts educational programs for children and hosts regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits, and customs.
Most importantly, they serve Bhutanese cuisine that is out of this world.
This is unquestionably one of the best restaurants in Thimphu and a must-visit for an authentic Bhutanese cuisine experience.
Their buckwheat pancakes and other specialties are to die for, and undoubtedly you’ll quickly become a lover of the restaurant.
The seating and ambiance, which is similar to that of a traditional Bhutanese home, add to the appeal of this location.
3. Zombala 1 & 2
Zombala, located in the heart of the city, is the ideal place for a hunger strike after a day of strolling through Thimphu.
The restaurant serves the best momos as well as variations of the Ema Datshi (cheesy chilies) dishes, which include mushrooms and chicken that can be taken as a side dish with red rice.
The food is reasonably affordable, and there is a bar where you can unwind with a group of friends after a long day, making this one of the best restaurants in Thimphu.
They also have a chain restaurant within a five-minute walk, so you won’t have to worry about one location being overcrowded.
Location: Zombala 1 – Hongkong Market, Thimphu. Zombala 2 – Near main traffic, Thimphu
4. Bhutan Kitchen
Bhutan Kitchen, a traditional low-seating restaurant, is another beautiful place to enjoy traditional Bhutanese food during your visit.
They use fresh and organic ingredients that enhance the flavor of the food, and most importantly, they are healthy.
This restaurant serves authentic Bhutanese cuisine, allowing you to enjoy and learn more about the country’s food habits. Lentil soup and stir-fried vegetables with red rice are a must-try.
You can also choose from a variety of buffet plans that include different delicious food. Without a doubt, one of the best restaurants in Thimphu!
Location: Thimphu near the national stadium, Changlimithang
5. Food Ball
Food ball is all about good food at a reasonably low price.
It is everything that reminds us of those fantastic street food flavors but in a better environment, from exquisite chicken egg rolls that come with a complimentary Pepsi to a great Bhutanese buffet menu.
If you visit this place with your friends or by yourself, you can be assured that you will not be disappointed.
The location of this establishment is right in the heart of the city, so you won’t have to walk around much after you have parked your car.
Location: Opposite Druk Punjab National Bank, near main traffic
6. Silver Wok Restaurant
The place brims with authenticity and is considered one of the best restaurants in Thimphu by the locals and tourists.
The place offers authentic Bhutanese dishes that are definitely worth the try. The ambiance of this place is perfect for a family dinner, a date, or a casual meeting with your friends.
Don’t forget to try their Sikam Paa (dried pork) with red rice; you will be compelled to visit the place again for sure.
The sitting area is divided into different locations of places that offer privacy and the city’s view. The place has the seats sorted out professionally for any tourists’ requirements.
Location: Below Hongkong Market, opposoit to Lugar theater
7. The Zone
This locals’ and tourists’ favorite has a small-town American diner vibe with a Bhutanese twist. It is located near the national stadium.
Burgers and fries, ice cream, ribs (including yak), pizza, momos, hot dogs, and fish and chips are all on the menu but be ready to taste a hint of Bhutan in all of these dishes.
This restaurant specializes in providing authentic Bhutanese taste in western cuisine. The pub-style tables in front are ideal for enjoying an evening beer with a view of the city and the mountains.
The place is located around the busy corner, so be ready to get immersed in the Bhutanese way of life in the city.
Location: Opposite to National stadium, Changlimithang
8. Chig-Ja-Gye Restaurant
Chig-Ja-Gye, one of the best restaurants in Thimphu, is a unique combination of traditional Bhutanese design with a contemporary Western hotel that is located inside a five-star property, Taj Tashi.
It has a panoramic view of the Thimphu highlands and is exceptionally cozy inside. The name of this restaurant, Chig-Ja-Gye, comes from the Buddhist text’s 108 earthly temptations, gluttony, and greed.
You can chat with the hotel staff, and they will provide you with insights on the Bhutanese way of life and, most importantly, the delicious dishes that you have ordered.
Coming to Chig-Ja-Gye, you’ll find a broad variety of cuisine selections ranging from non-vegetarian to vegetarian, all of which are worth a try.
You can select the level of spices you want in your food because, as stated earlier, Bhutanese love red hot chilies.
Location: inside Taj Tashi, Chubachu Lam
9. Momo Corner
Bhutanese love momo, and this place is where locals enjoy delicious “momo” (dumplings).
The fillings in the dumplings are so delicious that you might chew off your hand or the plate. It is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is definitely one of the best restaurants in Thimphu that serve momos and a few varieties of noodles.
Their service is fast and efficient, so you do not have to wait for 15 minutes for the food to arrive at your table. Go there, order, eat and come out.
This fast-paced momo corner is a must-try for tourists who want to taste authentic Bhutanese dumplings.
Location: Near Centenary Farmers Market (CFM)
10. Ama Restaurant (Mothers Restaurant)
As good as the name sounds, the taste of food in this restaurant is truly amazing.
Craving for some spicy hot soup on a cold day?
Ama Restaurant should be your choice because no food is good without the secret ingredient of a mother’s love.
The place is at an offside that is not really visible unless you look for the signboard, but you can always ask your tour guide or the people around for directions.
The place is small but cozy. It can get cramped sometimes, but the food is worth the wait.
You can also find karaoke pubs if you are the one who likes to chill with a glass of Bhutanese beer and sing with your friends.
Location: Main town, opposite Lugar Theatre
Several other best restaurants in Thimphu serve authentic Bhutanese cuisines, but these ten suggestions are made according to the likes of the tourists and the locals.
Come to Bhutan and experience delicacies that are unique from the rest of the world.
If you are planning to visit Bhutan and are not really sure if you will be able to experience true Bhutanese culture, contact Norbu Bhutan Travel Pvt. Ltd. and get ready to experience what this country has to offer to the fullest.
We can customize your itinerary so that you have enough time to explore these wonderful restaurants during your stay in Thimphu.