For an unusually classy and delectable take on traditional Nepali cuisine, visit Café Swotha near Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, just south of Kathmandu. The tiny café is part of the Traditional Homes Swotha complex, a boutique bed and breakfast in a beautifully renovated historic Newari home.
The thali comes with tea, salads, pickles, your choice of rich, fragrant curries, two varieties of flawlessly spiced vegetables, and the most exquisite dal bhat I've had during nearly two months in Nepal. If there's one single dish that crowns the stupa of the Nepali culinary temple, it would have to be dal bhat, a delicate lentil broth flavored with a heady, intricate masala and served over basmati rice. The edible constellation of dazzling dishes is completed with a small traditional dessert of tart, creamy yogurt.
It's a bit more expensive than your standard set menu of traditional Nepali fare, but the lavish quality, the upscale atmosphere, and the truly artful presentation make the meal worth every penny you'll spend. And at less than 11 USD out the door, it may be the least expensive indulgence you'll ever have to splurge on.
The gorgeous rooms at Traditional Homes Swotha start at 80 USD including taxes.