Pretty Pokhara is often included amongst the best things to do in Nepal. Attractively set on Phewa Lake, the city draws visitors due to its picturesque location, its proximity to the start of the Annapurna trekking circuit, variety of restaurants and its buzzing ambiance, something which wasn’t always present, as long term resident Linda Tamang can attest to. She’s watched the city transform over the last 28 years and is increasing the standards of its dining scene thanks to her relatively new French restaurant, Déjà Vu. Discover the best restaurant in Pokhara with me below!
With now almost 40 years in restaurant business, Linda knows her stuff. Hailing from Toronto and from Latvian parents, her wanderlust took her to England in her twenties where she set up her first restaurant in the royal town of Caernarfon, Wales. Here she learnt the importance of focusing on one thing, in that case, making the best burgers possibly in all of England, affirmed by the many American clients who stopped in at the restaurant en route to the nearby ferry to Ireland. But her lust for travel would revive in her mid-thirties, enticing her back on the road.
After a stint traveling and living in Australia, she felt a pull to Asia, and particular Nepal. It was here that, upon setting foot in Pokhara, she knew she’d arrived “home”. At the time Pokhara was virtually a one-horse town with a main dirt road and a few restaurants, this would soon improve with the addition of Linda’s first restaurant, Moondance, which would become one of the most popular and internationally renowned restaurants in town. Fast forward 26 years and Linda embarked on a new culinary adventure, with her new partner Micky, that of a French restaurant serving high quality, authentic French dishes.
Now opened for two years, as we’re sitting on their refined yet relaxed dining room which opens onto a garden with further seating and gorgeous views of the lake, Linda remembers back to when they were renovating the venue. A French theme had been decided upon after they’d heard that there was a French expat making French cheese near Katmandu and another starting up a French bakery, all that was missing was a good French restaurant, however, they couldn’t yet put their finger on the right name. Through the chaos of the builders and administration, Linda had a moment of déjà vu, back to the getting Moondance off the ground. Voilà! The name hit her!
A French restaurant might not be the first choice for a Canadian and a Brit, but after living in Nepal for so long, one gets cravings for all the things one doesn’t have access to. They both loved French food and had spent extensive time either living or working in France, so Linda delved into researching and testing out the best recipes for a selected range of French classics. Their cheese platter is a big hit, but their pièce de resistance is the Boeuf Bourguignon. I myself was very partial to their ratatouille and their super thick and tasty broccoli soup with a blue cheese baguette toast had me melting. These all go down well with a glass of red wine, local Gurkha beer and the tremendous sunsets over the lake.
Oh, and be sure to save room for their mouth-watering tarte au citron. The verdict of most customers? “It’s as good as anything in Paris!” Come try for yourself if you’re passing through Pokhara, the restaurant is found on the quieter northern lakeside, near the Three Sister’s trekking company. They also do a damn fine takeaway coffee and, in spring and fall, you can warm your toes next to their firepit and make some friends with locals and fellow travelers. Be sure to say Lily from Paris sent you and … bon appetit!
Address: 101 Bangaladi Lakeside 6, Pokhara