Delicious, authentic, local Himalayan food.

This week I had the pleasure of expanding my taste palette at Himalayan Cafe. The restaurant, established in 2008, is a family-owned chain that serves Himalayan cuisine and has two locations in LA County: Pasadena and San Dimas.

I visited the San Dimas location, which is only 20 minutes away from APU if you take side streets. Depending on the freeway traffic you can get there earlier but enjoying the scenic route was fun as you drive through Downtown San Dimas.

The small restaurant is hidden behind some buildings on Bonita Ave., so after passing the block of buildings, make the first left and enter the parking lots to the left.

Besides the sign, there is nothing outside the restaurant to indicate that it’s Himalayan — but inside is a different story. The walls are bright blue, Himalayan statues are scattered throughout the restaurant, Nepalese and Indian music is being played, and the tablecloths represent their culture as well.

The atmosphere was very calm. The customers were happily eating their food and the staff would briefly converse with their customers and were quick to serve them.

I was kindly greeted and seated upon entry by Gokul Dhakal. I let him know this was my first time eating this kind of food and he was more than happy to help out. Dhakal suggested the chicken curry with a side of rice and garlic naan bread. 

One nice thing about the service at Himalayan Cafe is that they ask how spicy you want your food. I asked for mild and it still delivered a sweet and spicy tang for the chicken curry.

Their garlic naan is the only way you should have it. It’s super soft and the added spice makes it a great side. The white rice was solid, not as flashy as the chicken curry or the naan but still well cooked and a good side.

Their menu also includes Himalayan rolls of lamb, chicken or vegetable, curry with three different meat options along with shrimp and salmon, and their specialty tikka masala.

Depending on the kind of roll you order, prices can range from $15 to $17. The same goes for the curry and the tikka masala. Curry can go from $15.95 to $19.95 and the tikka masala’s price range is $17.95 to $19.95.

The ranging prices apply to most of the items on their menu like the korma, vindaloo, shaag and biryani.

For the most bang for your buck, it is best to order from their lunch specials that run from 11:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m. Some of the entrees served during this time are chicken tikka, lamb masala and goat curry. Main plates cost $13 to $15 and a side of naan is $1 or $2.

Some beverages that the restaurant provides are lemonade and iced tea for $4, hot coffee and tea for $3, and coke and sprite for $3.

Although the food is well made and has good quality, my plate was $20, not including a beverage and tip. For students, this could be a bit expensive for a casual bite to eat.

Despite that, Himalayan Cafe is definitely a nice place for a planned lunch or dinner with a friend group or date; it’s in a nice area and provides great cultural food. 

Photo courtesy of Luke Perez