Kathmandu is chaotic and overcrowded, yet within its confusing borders lie many great restaurants. Thamel is by far the most popular restaurant district for tourists, where visitors can find a wide variety of international cuisines and restaurants to suit all budgets.
The local cuisine is invariably the best option, with Nepalese food tending to be popular with foreigners. The most popular traditional food is momo, a dumpling sometimes stuffed with various fillings or eaten as an accompaniment to all sorts of meals.
Curry is also a great specialty and comes in various forms. Chiya, a milky, spicy tea similar to Indian chai, is a wonderful traditional drink. Foreigners should note that the Nepalese only bring food to their mouths with their right hands and traditionally the left hand should not touch food.
Finding restaurants by address in Kathmandu can be difficult as street names and numbers are unreliable or non-existent. Hotels offer directions and sometimes guides, and friendly locals will also help locate eateries. Restaurants that have business cards usually include small maps on the back and they're worth keeping if visitors want to return.
Kathmandu is not famous for its nightlife, but there are options for those seeking some evening entertainment. Most of the nightlife in Kathmandu is based in Thamel and on Freak Street, and there are also quite a few bars to be found near Pulchowk in Patan.
By law, music isn't allowed to be played after 10pm but many bars and clubs stay open until later. In Nepal's capital, travellers are sure to find a venue to suit their tastes, whether it be a backpacker bar, trendy club, upmarket cocktail lounge, or cultural show at a traditional restaurant. Nightclubs in Kathmandu generally have a cover charge.
Travellers can also try their luck at one of the city's popular casinos or enjoy some live music. Noisy cover bands tend to be the order of the day, but New Orleans Cafe is a Kathmandu institution and is a good spot for some jazz and blues.