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Berkeley: Everest Cafe – A lovely Indian restaurant that is the pinnacle of Bay Area Nepalese cuisine

The $7.99 lunch special is served in a stylish rectangular thali and includes delicious lentil soup, paper-thin crisp papad, warm, soft pillowy naan, chutney, raita, light-as-air basmati rice with peas and a choice of entrée. They ask what spice level you wold like.

The medium-spice goat curry was spot-on. The spice level was enough to be interesting without being distracting. My mouth was tingling but it was due to the complex spicing dancing on my tongue. The bone-on goat was tasty, tender and not fatty.

Seconds on the fabulous lentil soup were offered.

They also have a great Nepali chai.

I was drooling as the dishes going to another table were carried by. … gleaming copper pots and a sizzling platter that had clouds of steam rising from with tantalizing aromas.

The restaurant opened Monday, Dec 7th and is offering a 15 % grand opening special.

This is a pretty restaurant with white table cloths and soothing Nepalese (I assume) music playing in the background. The young staff is very pleasant.

Of the handful of local Neapli restaurants I’ve .tried, this rises way above them for both ambiance and food. The prices are good too.

A few other interesting dishes

$2.99 – Chicken soup with nions, ginger, garlic, bell pepper & tomatoes
$6.99 – Chicken Thukpa – Special Nepali dish of Sherpa noodles, fresh vegetables and marinated chicken breast with homemade sauce and healthy feeling soup. There is a veggie version for a dollar less. The menu is very vegetarian friendly.
$1.99 – Honey naan
$8.99 – Bhindi Ko Tarkara – Fresh okra and strips of onion stuffed with special herbs and spices
$11.99 Bheda ko masu ra chiyau – Boneless lamb pieces cooked with fresh mushroom in typical Nepali sauce
$1.99 – Nepali barbar
$1.99 – Lime tea

Of course there are momos, chicken or veggie. The veggie sound tasty with minced cabbage, spinach, mushroom, cashew nuts, cheese, onions, cilantro, green onion & spices served with tomato chutney.

There are three Indian beers – Flying horse, Mahraja and Taj Mahal.

The menu also offers standard Indian dishes such as samosas, pakoda, biryani, tandoor, and curries.

Like some Nepali restaurants there are Chinese type dishes such as
- Chicken chowmein – stir fried noodles with boneless chicken and vegetables seasoned with homemade Nepali style spices and sauce
- Fried rice – shrimp garlic ko bhuteko bhaat – rice fried with shrimp and garlic.

The restaurant is located next to Bui.

Everest Cafe
1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

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  1. Thanks, rw, you really have the gift of writing drool-inducing prose. I'm sorry I don't live in the neighborhood any more, but this sounds like the perfect place to warm up after some chilly Berkeley/Albany errands I need to do this wet weekend!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nina

      If you do get up that way, you MUST stop at La Bedaine which is one block away.

      Don't miss the smoked sausages

    2. The lentil soup is indeed fabulous, perfect for this rainy day. Lamb fried rice was fine, and it was seasoned with little black seeds that had a toasty, coffee-chocolate flavor. Anyone know what those are?

      4 Replies
        1. re: ernie in berkeley

          Could be black sesame. Maybe nigella but they have a sort of odd metallic taste.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            "Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum)..... is also known by the name Nepal cardamom."
            I thought it was worth a shot.

            1. re: wolfe

              I asked today, and the seeds are "methi", which is fenugreek in English. Online sources say it's commonly used as a coffee substitute, and it's a folk remedy for high cholesterol.

        2. Tried the chicken soup which was good. It is miso-like in that there are just bits and pieces of chicken, onions, ginger, garlic, bell pepper & tomatoes. The soup is high on the shmaltz. The medium heat level in this case was too mild. I might see how high spice works with this. The lentil is so good, I probably would not order this again, but I was liking the chicken soup more and more as I was eating it. Liked hitting those bits of ginger or garlic.

          1. Excellent meal,crisp hot greaseless samosa, good lentil soup, pepper wafers, barbar? a sort fresh cooked pancake bread, tasty chicken biryani with raita and bheda ko masu ra chiyau spicy enough to make my bald spot mist up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wolfe

              "Chicken Thukpa – Special Nepali dish of Sherpa noodles, fresh vegetables and marinated chicken breast with homemade sauce and healthy feeling soup."
              Spicy version, chicken soup on steroids and my wife said she would order it next visit.
              Vegetable momos thin skinned and very tasty.

            2. Many thanks for another great recommendation from Chowhound! We went last night for dinner, and thought that their flavors were great.

              We had the following:
              - Dal soup: we did not order this but they brought it out as comp. I thought this was very well-done given that I have never liked dal
              - chicken soup: this was a clear soup with a few very small pieces of tandoori chicken. The soup was tangy and a little spicy and very interesting.
              - naan: the bread was good, but my favorite naans tend to be a little dough-ier than their version
              - chilli chicken: I think this is an Indian Chinese dish. The sauce was spicy and sweet and very much to my SO's liking; I thought the texture of the chicken was fantastic - one of the best anywhere - a must-have
              - shrimp biryani: the basmati rice had a very nice complex flavor, almost smoky

              Apparently the family that owns/runs the restaurant are from Nepal, and used to own a place in Colorado, and then Mount Everest Cafe in Berkeley before selling a few years ago. I found their flavors to be excellent, and hope that more people discover this gem!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Maple

                >>> hope that more people discover this gem

                Maybe the East Bay Express review will help

                Turns out they have a website ... they deliver too.

              2. Tried out Everest Cafe which is a Nepalese/Indian restaurant. Ate early for dinner on Sun 2/7/10. We were the first ones at the restaurant. Solano Ave @ Ventura Ave, Berkeley. Next to Bui.

                Tap water given quickly.

                Got a few things:

                Medium spice goat curry $11.99-small portion pretty good, not spicy enough for us. Comes w/ lentil soup - small cup which was tasty. Wanted a refill but didn't get it. Rice w/ peas given with dish - small portion.

                Chicken thukpa - $6.99 - mild noodle soup w/ tender chicken, some veggies.

                Honey naan $2.49 - just plain naan w/ honey placed on top of the 4 pcs. Just ok.

                Nepali chai $1.99 - hot & taste of cardamom & sweet. 1 FREE refill.

                They have many vegetarian dish also, we didn't try them.

                Subtotal $25.45 + $2.48 tax = $27.93 before tip. Credit cards taken. One unisex bathroom in the back.

                My pics:

                1 Reply
                1. re: hhc

                  Just read on Yelp - Valentine special: " we offer 10% off and complimentary dessert on valentine day."

                2. Can anyone compare the food at Everest Cafe with Kathmandu, a restaurant a short distance away on Solano that has been there for a long time.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                    Everest is better and seems to have more Nepali dishes

                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                      Agree with rworange. I certainly hope more people hear about this place. The food is very solid and the service very friendly. I'm personally a fan of the chicken thukpa and a tandoori chicken dish on the menu.

                      1. re: nicedragonboy

                        I can't make a comparison with Everest, because we haven't eaten there, but we LOVE Taste Of The Himalayas, on Shattuck and Virginia.
                        Absolutely delicious, and lovely staff.

                        1. re: mendogurl

                          Give Everest a try some time. Much, much .... much better than Taste of the Himalayas.

                    2. I'm still bummed that Metro Kathmandu closed....

                      1. Last night we visited Everest Restaurant, and we're in love, right in time for Valentine's Day.
                        We had delicious vegetarian momos, with a very fresh and flavorful dipping sauce. We enjoyed the complimentary bowls of dal and we were also thrilled at our constant refills of chai. The chai is well spiced with a nice cardamon flavor.
                        My husband ordered the baigan (eggplant) and I had the veg thukpa (Tibetan soup). Both were incredibly tasty. The thukpa was more flavorful than ANY food I've eaten in the Himalayas, and I would happily have it again and again. (One caveat, they do use spaghetti instead of homemade noodes...homemade noodles would be a nice touch.)
                        The best thing about the experience was the delightful service. A staff of four waited on us through our entire meal, and everyone was so polite and sweet, brimming with shy smiles that lit up the whole restaurant. We both felt so incredibly welcome, and had a fun time trying out our most basic Nepali phrases.
                        For the amount of food we ate (and tea we drank), the $34 bill seemed like a great deal. This would be a perfect place to go if you are feeling a little blue and need some good food and kind souls to warm your belly and your heart.

                        1. This is a great find indeed. Momos, lentil soup were great. Also veggie dishes and bread. The service was excellent. We will definitely be going back. Better than Taste of Himalayas or Kathmandu, in my opinion.

                          Everest Cafe
                          1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                          1. We were there on Saturday and had a nice dinner. Standouts were the momos (never had these before, so I thought they were a nice, light change of pace), the lentil soup (complimentary during dinner, at least that night, and really, really good), and the Nepali chai (better hot than iced -- the iced version was too watered down).

                            I agree with MissVeg that the chicken thukpa would be better with some more interesting kind of noodle--the broth itself was tasty. We also had the goat curry, which was good, but in the future we'll ask for it spicy (which we never do, but the "medium" had no discernible heat at all).

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: abstractpoet

                              First meal there tonight.
                              (1) Complimentary lentil soup and papadum (or similar). A nice start
                              (2) Chicken momos. These were really good. So was the accompanying hot sauce.
                              (3) Khukura Ko Choila. A nice dish. We asked for it spicy and it was a medium spicy, which was nice.
                              (4) Everest Biryani. Delicious. Mixed meats and shrimp and vegetables.
                              (5) Garlic Naan and Honey Naan. Their naan is some of the best I've ever had. It didn't get the slightest bit soggy.

                              Overall, quite pleased. Now, on the local radar.

                              Oh, and the wine. I had to try the Indian Chenin Blanc. And now I have. It reminded me somewhat of Sutter Home Moscato. Corkage is $7.

                              1. re: lmnopm

                                i agree, the naan is definitely some of the best in the area. Their Cheese naan is also very good.

                                1. re: lmnopm

                                  We have been there a few times. It's across town for us, so we don't go often but we would if we lived in the area. We were there a few weeks ago. The food was excellent, the staff were indeed very friendly, but the service was glacially slow. Maybe the kitchen is just slow.

                                  The prices were quite reasonable. My favorite dishes are the goat curry, Khukura Ko Choila, and the chicken momos.