Kathmandu is known for exciting places to go, where you can chill with your friends and family and relive those good times that you had with them. Of all the restaurants and bars in the valley, only some of them can become your favorite hangouts. The ambience, location, food and drinks and the service, all add up to make a place inviting and warm. So where does one go? LIVING has done a quick survey and chosen just a few places that can be identified as popular hangouts.
Opened by DJ Raju, Nepal’s first DJ, Vootoo has a vibe unmatched by any other restaurant in town. Located in Lainchowr, Lazimpat, opposite Hotel Ambassador, the restaurant occupies prime space. A spacious patio has a well-designed sitting area where you can grab your favorite drink and enjoy Newari delicacies. What’s so special about Vootoo one might ask! Their Newari food is special which draws people who are used to real Newari tastes. Raju always wanted a place where people could come and eat and so he made it homely as well. He reveals a secret, “All the spices and condiments used for cooking here come from my own house. My mother prepares all the ingredients and sends them over. It gives a homely taste which is unique as well.” The biggest surprise is that Raju also helps with the cooking. His specialty is sukuti and Bandipur chicken. He first fries the sukuti meat and then soaks it for 3 hours, then beats it to pulp and fries. It takes a total of 6 hours to prepare. Bandipur Chicken is served in half Kg or 1 Kg servings only. Another delicacy Vootoo serves is Saumhicha which is ‘intestine stuffed with bone marrow’. Another interesting fact Raju reveals: “Our cooks are not your normal restaurant cooks, but community cooks who normally prepare festival food. And our Chiura comes directly from Panauti.”The word ‘Bhutu’ (Raju spells it Vootoo) means “Chulo” in Newari. The logo for the restaurant is unique too and has a deeper meaning. He explains, “My love for food and my love for Dj-ing inspired the logo. The two “OO” represents the two holes of the chulo and the other “OO” represent the DJ’s turntable.” Vootoo will make you feel at home with their warm hospitality and over the top good food and ambience.
Calm Restaurant and Bar
Located in Tangalwood, and as the name suggests, Calm Restaurant & Bar, is a great spot for spending time with friends and having a laugh. With ample space available, you really have a lot of choice when it comes to picking your favorite spot where you can relax to the sound of music. Located within the Tangalwood Boutique Hotel, Calm came into operation in 2016 and soon became the talk of the town. People from all walks of life come to enjoy a sumptuous meal with good music playing in the background. A large courtyard provides enough room if people suddenly get the urge to dance when a live band performs in the open. “We have live music on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while on Thursdays it’s Salsa Night. Downstairs, underground, we have ‘Club 25 Hours’ which is specifically for dancing and there’s a bar there too,” informs Roshan Shrestha. A patio space is specifically designed for comfort and customers can order their favorite choice of drinks or food. And to beat the scorching heat or the cold for that matter, there’s ample space inside where the bar is. There’s room to move around freely and not feel confined. “Our specialties are Honey Siracha Chicken, Chicken Fingers and Money Bag which is a vegetarian dish. As for mocktails, you should go for Mango Mirchi,” adds Shrestha. With a choice of your favorite drinks and ample food options, Calm is the place to go if you are looking for a fun place with good food and appropriate music.
Attic has been a popular hangout for quite some time and has moved several times. First located at Uttar Dhoka 2009, they moved to Tangalwood where they did very well. With regular entertainment including Abhaya & The Steam Injuns, Attic became a household name. They’ve moved yet again, this time close to the German Embassy in Gyaneshwar near the road going down to Maitidevi. The name resonates because of its good food, service and classy atmosphere. Do not be fooled by its sophisticated look as Attic welcomes all and sundry, and anyone can afford to go there. It is known for live music, good food and drinks and if you bring your friends along, what more could one want in a hangout spot! Even in the new location, Attic still feels the same as the old one where you are welcomed with a smile and you immediately feel the coziness. One advantage the new Attic has is the ample space for parking in this space starved city. Even the room inside is spacious and there’s plenty of space upstairs as well. And if you like the outdoors, there’s more places to sit out in the open. Bhuwan Shrestha says, “We make some special dishes like Attic Chicken Chop, Royal Aloo and Sukuti Chiura. As for cocktails, there’s Death Charge, Mojito in many flavors and a beer based cocktail especially made for summer. Then there is the mocktail special called ‘Shirley Temple’ with ginger ale. The name ATTIC itself symbolizes what they strive for. A for Accountability, T for Teamwork, T for Timely, I for Innovation, and C – Credibility. Truly an iconic place in the Nepali dining scene, Attic is a go-to lively place if you’re looking for a good time. Try their great food, exquisite drinks and enjoy the classy atmosphere.
Evoke Café and Bistro
More than just a coffee shop, Evoke Café and Bistro is a wholesome place if you are looking for a sophisticated yet lively place to spend an evening with friends. With a whole lot of food and drink options available and top quality service, Evoke does not disappoint. A spacious sitting area at the back illuminated by lights and a small sitting area on the inside, the atmosphere is homely. Jhamshikhel today is over-crowded with eateries and customers are really spoilt for choice. Within a few paces of one restaurant you find another and maybe more on the way in the future. Here in the heart of Jhamsikhel (some like to call it Jhamel but that’s losing support rapidly) Evoke Café and Bistro has squared up to the challenge. They serve all kinds of food and drinks; some tasty starters and varieties of drinks. With an abundance of space, they have within their compound some home grow startups like The Platform, Local Project and others. And yet there’s plenty of space left over. The owners collectively have vast experience in running a business and they’d opened an Evoke Café in Pokhara before starting one here. Evoke embodies a sense of community within their premises and wants customers to feel safe. For a night out with friends or a luncheon with your girl friend, Evoke Café and Bistro seems about the perfect place. It’s more than just a Café & Bistro.