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Dec 11, 2009 06:16 PM

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.