7 out of 10 Peppers = Spicy
The Details: I felt a little bit like I was cheating on Tibet Nepal House when Nick and I decided to check out the new Nepalese-Indian restaurant on the block. Newly opened in Old Town Pasadena (less than half a mile from Tibet Nepal House), Himalayan Cafe is a second Pasadena option for tasty Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian cuisine.
It was near impossible for me to not compare the two restaurants, and Tibet Nepal House is better, hands-down, on virtually all counts, from food quality to decor to parking. (Himalayan Cafe doesn't validate anywhere; however, it is right next door to the School House public parking structure that offers free parking for your first 90 minutes.) But Himalayan Cafe is a worthy restaurant, so if the city is able to support two restaurants in the same niche (not to mention the four or so other Indian restaurants in Old Town!), then more power to it.
At the door, a friendly employee was passing out fliers and really working it to get people inside. Nick was already seated, so I didn't have to be convinced, but I stopped to talk to the employee for a minute anyway. Once inside, I saw that it was fairly busy on this Saturday night, but not as busy as Tibet Nepal House tends to be (though that could just be because Himalayan Cafe is new). The decor is OK. It has some South Asian-themed wall hangings and wood carvings, but the look isn't cohesive.
We were seated at a table by the kitchen doors, which I would not recommend because the smoke caused me to cough intermittently throughout the meal. The server was too aggressive when taking our order. He repeatedly kept trying to get us to add extra stuff to our order that we didn't want. Plus, the extra Nick did want -- Aloo Achar -- he informed us the restaurant was out of. Bummer!
So, we don't have a new favorite go-to Nepalese restaurant, but I would eat here again. I feel like for every three or four times we eat at Tibet Nepal House (where we go probably more often than any other restaurant; it may be tied with Domenicos in Long Beach, an Italian restaurant with an amazing ground pepperoni pizza, as our go-to restaurant for when we want guaranteed good food) we'd go to Himalayan Cafe once.
Have you been to Himalayan Cafe yet? What did you think of it? Have you tried the buffet? I'm definitely curious about that.
Himalayan Cafe, 36 S Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. (626) 564-1560.