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Foodie Fare
Foodie Fare

Take a Journey to the Himalayas

By Christina O Connor Photos By Rachel Breit
December 23, 2012

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Tucked away on 11th Avenue in Kaimuki, Himalayan Kitchen brings Nepalese and Indian cuisine to the Islands. The restaurant has been here just three-and-a-half years, but in that time, it’s managed to gather a slew of honors, including an Ilima Award.

“It is traditional Nepalese food, plus we are doing Indian-style food in a Nepalese way,” explains owner and head chef Suman Basnet.

The restaurant’s varied menu includes a range of different types of curries and grilled meats. Basnet also says that they receive a daily fresh catch of various kinds of local fish, including mahi mahi and ono. In addition, Himalayan Kitchen also has an ever-changing set of daily specials that the chefs create.

To start off your meal at Himalayan Kitchen on the right note, try appetizer treat Everest Choeela ($7.95), which features sliced tandoori grilled chicken marinated with ginger, garlic and jalapeno.

One of the most popular dishes is Mix Tandoori Grill ($17.95), a combination of chicken, lamb, fish and shrimp. The dish is served with the restaurant’s popular house sauce.

“People love it, and (the sauce) goes with a number of entrees,” Basnet says.

Another popular entree is Himalayan Coconut Kadai Curry Sauce with Fish ($16.95), which features onion, tomato, ginger and a coconut-based sauce. The dish also can be served with chicken, lamb or vegetables.

And for vegetarian diners, Aloo Saag ($12.95) is a tasty option. The dish features ground spinach cooked with potatoes — all seasoned perfectly with ginger, garlic and mild spices.

No matter what entree you decide on, Garlic Naan ($3.50) is a tasty addition to any of them. Customers also can create their own naan with other seasonings. Another great complement for any of the dishes is Mango Lassi ($5.50), a sweet, yogurt-based beverage.

To finish off your meal, Himalayan Kitchen offers decadent desserts that include Himalayan Four Spice Chocolate Ice Cream ($6.95) and Kayashree’s Saffron Ice Cream ($6.95).

For all of its dishes, Himalayan Kitchen can cater to each customer’s personal preferences.

“Everything is cooked to order … We want to give you options, and you can kind of consider us your personal chef,” Basnet says. “You can ask us how you want us to cook (each dish), because there are so many possibilities with all of our items.” He also adds that vegans and vegetarians can substitute any ingredients for diet-friendly items.

Suman Basnet pulls Garlic Naan ($3.50) out of the traditional tandoori clay oven at Himalayan Kitchen.

Suman Basnet pulls Garlic Naan ($3.50) out of the traditional tandoori clay oven at Himalayan Kitchen.

On the Side

When owner and head chef Suman Basnet opened Himalayan Kitchen in 2009, it was a long-time dream come true. Basnet, who is originally from Nepal, has worked in restaurants since he was 17 years old, initially as dishwasher. But he always loved food and started taking culinary classes.

“I just always really loved the industry — and loved the food. I mostly loved the cooking part,” he explains. “And I always wanted to have my own place. Being from Nepal … I wanted to do Nepalese and Indian fusion style food.

“When I started sitting down to make a menu, I started with just typical Nepalese and Indian dishes, and then we started to create our own.”

And that’s not all Basnet and the restaurant have been creating lately. If you haven’t visited the restaurant recently, it has expanded its dining area — adding a tranquil outdoor patio and a second dining room, which can accommodate private parties — an area that Basnet built himself. If you’re still looking for a place to have a holiday get-together, Himalayan Kitchen is open for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and the new room is the perfect place for an intimate get-together.

Also coming up for Himalayan Kitchen in the new year will be a new lunch menu, which is scheduled to be unveiled some time in January.

Himalayan Kitchen

1137 11th Ave. #205
735.1122
Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10 p.m.
Monday and Saturday, 5-10 p.m.