Tue-Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, noon-10pm; Mon, closed
F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.
East Broadway to 14th St., Ave D. to Broadway
Cafe Himalaya, a sliver of a Tibetan restaurant in the East Village, is the kind of eatery that populated the neighborhood before it began serving cocktails that cost more than a movie ticket: ethnic, cheap, and filling. Seating two dozen, with just a few photos of Tibet adorning its white walls, the space is bare bones, but the kitchen generates plenty of warmth. Brace yourself for the ginger tea, which has a back-of-the-throat kick. The golf-ball-size dumplings, chock full of fresh veggies, chicken, or beef, are tender and adorable— made more so by their Tibetan name, momo. An avocado, potato, and chickpea salad has a pleasant lemony tang, and the chicken curry, marinated in yogurt and full of whole black peppercorns, is fragrant and actually heavy on chicken. Nothing about the food at Cafe Himalaya will blow you away. Some of the dishes, like tsel gyathuk tapka, pan-fried noodles, tofu, and vegetables, are on the bland side, but this place is the kind of fill-er-up standby that generations of young, poor, hungry, and at one time bohemian New Yorkers have been relying on for years—and deservedly so.Recommended Dishes
Momo, $6.25-$6.75; avocado salad, $4.50; chasha shamdey, $7.25