Explore the World of Nepalese Cuisine with these Five Restaurants near Columbus
Want to deepen your experience with Himalayan-style dishes? Check out these five Central Ohio spots.
If it was inevitable that the events of the last couple of years would curb the growth of our restaurant scene, we’re pretty sure that Nepalese restaurateurs didn’t get the message. At least five Nepalese eateries have opened within the last year.
Central Ohio has one of the largest communities of Bhutanese-Nepali refugees in the country, numbering around 30,000. Nepalese cuisine was first introduced to Central Ohio in 2013 with the opening of Namaste Indo-Nepali Cuisine and reached the mainstream in 2016 with the celebrated debut of Momo Ghar and its Guy Fieri-approved momo dumplings. Since then, Nepalese food has flourished, with at least 14 restaurants currently dotting the metropolitan landscape.
With them comes a wide variety of menu items that reflect not only the vibrant range of Nepalese foods but also the small country’s location between the culinary heavyweights of India and China. While Momo Ghar’s delectable dumplings deserve every bit of the adoration they’ve received, there’s plenty to explore beyond the momo.
Five Nepalese restaurants near Columbus
You’ll likely feel like an explorer upon arriving at Yeti Express (12565 National Road SW), situated along a desolate stretch of U.S. Route 40 in Pataskala, just east of Reynoldsburg. Though far from any population centers, Yeti Express is ideally situated to capture the steady stream of Bhutanese-Nepali workers commuting to and from the nearby Amazon fulfillment center. The restaurant’s sukuti, cured and then fried beef slices served with onions and peppers, is not only a customer favorite but also pairs deliciously with a good lager.
Himalayan Grille (1307 Stoneridge Drive) in Gahanna also boasts a great rendition of another traditional Nepalese beer pairing. Using customary Himalayan grilling techniques, the restaurant turns marinated and seasoned goat into bite-sized chunks of flame-kissed umami known as khasi ko sekuwa.
Chinese influence is often evident in Nepalese cooking, and never more so than in the chow mein served at Namaste Indo-Nepali Cuisine (1279 Morse Road). Among the regulars at the no-frills Northland location, many routinely opt for this dish consisting of pan-fried noodles, a protein of your choice, vegetables including cabbage and onion, and cilantro. Nepalese versions of this dish are notable for being less oily and more vegetable-packed than their Chinese chow mein counterparts, and Namaste’s exemplifies this distinction.
Noodles are also central to thukpa. Originating in Tibet, the dish can vary significantly from restaurant to restaurant (and region to region) but always consists of noodles in a soup. In Dublin, Momo Ghar’s (2800 Festival Lane) rendition is mild and comforting, featuring a chicken and vegetable broth redolent of ginger, vegetables including cabbage, carrot, celery, scallion and spinach, and the protein of your choice. Vegetarian thukpa is also offered, and either version vibes like a heartier pho hailing from a cooler climate.
If you’d like to try a variety of Nepalese favorites in one go, Everest Cuisine (652 High St.) in Worthington is happy to provide you with its featured Nepalese thali platter. Consisting of rice, two traditional vegetable preparations, papad (crispy seasoned flatbread), achar (spicy pickles), salad, raita (a yogurt condiment), the curry of your choice and a dessert, these platters amount to an impressive overview of large swaths of the cuisine. Curries include vegetable, chicken or goat, and all are proven crowd-pleasers.
This story is from the November 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.