Mystery Diner in St. Charles: Taste of Himalayas nimbly scales flavorful heights

Even though we haven’t been able to satisfy our craving to travel overseas, we came up with a way to trick our taste buds into feeling like we were on the other side of the globe thanks to a visit to Taste of Himalayas.

The restaurant, which has called St. Charles home since 2008, offers the cuisines of both Nepal and India. A stone’s throw from the Fox River, it offers a spacious outdoor patio with bright umbrellas for shade, and an indoor dining room that’s colorful and relaxed.

We got comfortable outdoors, appreciating that no mountain climbing was necessary, and picked up a large menu of dishes mostly unfamiliar to us. Our server was helpful in making recommendations after learning we didn’t want to venture into anything too spicy for our Midwestern palates.

After spotting a wide choice of tandoori baked breads, some stuffed, we decided to open with an order of the garlic and basil naan. A kind of flatbread that arrived in pizza-shaped triangles, it emerged from the restaurant’s cylindrical, clay tandoori oven wonderfully fresh and subtly flavored with the basil and garlic. It was addictive.

Already converted to being a fan of the tandoori oven, I chose the tandoori chicken for my entree. It’s available as a full or half chicken. The menu says the meat is marinated in blended yogurt with spices and herbs. I picked the half-chicken portion, which arrived with what I learned is the traditional red-orange hue, and had a terrific just-off-the-grill smokiness to it.

The colorful dish packed a little heat that was deftly balanced by an accompanying yogurt-style sauce.

My dining companion chose the lamb tikka masala, featuring big chunks of tandoori-roasted lamb that were tender and infused with spices, including a nutmeg flavor, served in what was dubbed the “chef’s special creamy sauce.” Well-prepared white rice was the perfect blank canvas for the decadent sauce.

For those knowledgeable in the cuisines, the menu also includes a build-your-own section under Chef’s Creations.

For a simple, sweet finish to our meal, we shared a serving of a Nepalese-style Kheer rice pudding, prepared with aromatic basmati rice.

As we enjoyed the evening on the patio, we watched a stream of deliveries go by on a Tuesday evening, underscoring the popularity of the restaurant that has won awards for its dedication to capturing culinary worlds.

Taste of Himalayas prepares dishes from various regions of Nepal and India, showcasing a range of exotic flavors shaped with a kaleidoscope of spices. We look forward to widening our horizons on our next visit.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.


WHAT: Taste of Himalayas

WHERE: 110 N. Third St., St. Charles

PHONE: 630-444-1575