Diving dining

Namaste is a greeting common in South Asia that is translated as “I honor the divine in you.”

For the folks at Namaste Café on Hennepin, there is no better way to do that than through food.

Rajee Aryal owns the restaurant along with her husband Swadesh Shrestha and brother-in-law Sonny Shrestha. Their approach to the restaurant is a reflection of their own lifestyle.

 “The main thing that sets us apart is the quality of ingredients,” Aryal said. “We’ve always been proponents of organic food. The restaurant is just an extension of what we eat.”

Every dish is prepared fresh that day. The lunch menu has many options, including lunch box specials, small bites, larger entrees and soups and salads.

The Namaste lunch boxes are the antidote to the boring brownbag syndrome. They feature the curry of the day, a side of vegetables, a bean dish and a dessert — either Kheer (a rice pudding) or carrot coconut crème brulee. For $9 you get to sample a lot of different flavors. There is always a vegan option, too, for the main dish. You can also pick your spice level.

The lunch box specials change daily. Highlights include creamy masala chicken, almond chicken and red lamb curry.

“We wanted to give people a sense of how food is eaten in South Asia,” Aryal said. “The food is quite similar, but there are some nuances.”

Other notable items on the menu include Mamacha, dumplings filled with a variety of meat or tofu, the dal dishes and Kichdi, a rice dish with a risotto-like texture cooked with beans, cumin and ginger, among other spices.

The dinner menu is more extensive with a wide selection of curries and vegetarian specialties.

Namaste Café has also made a name for itself for its wide selection of teas. It carries many varieties, including Ayurvedic and Chai teas.   

The restaurant now has a late-night curry menu, too, from 10:30 p.m.–1 a.m.

Namaste Café
2512 Hennepin Ave. S.