Samphel Restaurant

Hidden away in north Thimphu up beyond the new Supreme Court enclosure, this unprepossessing eatery is a worthy entrant in the treasure hunt for Thimphu's best momos. Samphel's small set is a curved wood bar where the proprietress takes your order, a flat-screen flashing football, and just three glass-topped tables, neighborhood kids wandering in and out.

Authentic domestic fare is all here for under USD 2 each: ema datshi (chili in cheese sauce) and kewa datshi (potato in cheese sauce) served with rice, many fried rice dishes, noodle soups (thukpa and bathup), stir-fried noodles (chowmein), and dried meat curry and chili dishes.

The standouts, though, are their dynamite beef and cheese momos, taste checked by those who have had a few. Ask your guide to bring you by.