Babesa Village

Located just off Babesa-Thimphu Expressway on the outskirts of the capital city is a gem that should not be missed. Babesa Village Restaurant specializes purely in traditional Bhutanese cooking, and their food is so good that even local Thimphupas who have tasted it all praise it highly. Some even say it's the best they have ever had.

Open for lunch and dinner from 10am to 10pm (closed Mondays), the restaurant serves everything from the old favorite, red rice with ema datsi — chilies in a creamy cheese sauce — to sikam paa, shakam paa, pork ribs, nosha phin, and gondu datsi. They have a good selection of non-meat dishes as well, including emakam datsi, chili cheese noodles, fried spinach, loam fry, ema fry and more. Service is prompt and the staff is friendly and welcoming.

And while the food is clearly the main draw, the ambiance alone is reason enough to visit. At over 500 years old, the farmhouse that houses the restaurant is one of the oldest in the Thimphu area, and entering it is to step back in time. Foot-thick rammed-earth walls with recessed windows, solid doors with heavy locks, wooden floorboards and pillars, and earth tones all set the stage for an authentic dining experience. There are long low tables with cushions on the floor for communal eating (chair seating indoors and outdoors on the patio is also available), and food is served in traditional wooden bowls and woven baskets. What's more, the whole place is clean and neat. Not to be missed.