We were wandering around the southern fringe of the East Village when we spied Cafe Himalaya, a restaurant offering Tibetan and Nepali home cooking. We’ve walked past the place many times but never went in (though we’ve been meaning to). Checking Google Maps we saw that the place had really good reviews and thought we would try it for a quick nosh. We were not disappointed.
What a calm experience. The meter reading was higher than expected, because we felt absolutely comfortable in the space. A couple of casement windows were opened to allow for cross ventilation, but they also allowed some street noise to enter. Fortunately, the restaurant fronts not very busy 1st Street, though East Houston is nearby. Perhaps it was luck, but we didn’t hear much traffic noise during our visit. We suspect the reading was higher because of a low hum coming from some unseen mechanical device–perhaps a neighbor’s air conditioning unit? In any event, the hum was the only potentially annoying sound in the space. We say potentially because we weren’t actually annoyed by it–it sounded like white noise and we could easily ignore it.
Cafe Himalaya is a small place with about 25 seats, half of which were taken during our visit. Despite chatter, it was really relaxing. Music played very softly in the background and didn’t intrude. In fact, you would have to really focus to hear it , at times, and we suspect it probably was coming from a radio in the kitchen for the benefit of the cooks.
Service was straightforward, and we enjoyed an Inexpensive lunch. Cafe Himalaya offers five lunch options for only $7.50. We tried the Gyathuk Ngopa, which was delicious but had some unadvertised heat. So if you aren’t a fan of spicy food, be sure to ask your server whether your meal packs some heat.
Cafe Himalaya was a happy find and we will be sure to return. It’s not often that you can find a tasty and inexpensive meal in a comfortable space. We enthusiastically recommend a visit.
Tuesday through Saturday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
78 E. 1st Street (betw. 1st Avenue and Avenue A), New York, NY 10009