Located in a basement in Jongno-gu is Potala Restaurant, a Tibetan/Nepali restaurant owned by a Tibetan.
You can take a look at the menu in the doorway before you walk downstairs. The restaurant seems to pride itself on being tourist- and halal-friendly.
When I went at 5 pm, I was surprised that there was no one in the restaurant. I quickly ordered my food and ordered decidedly too much of it.
The waiter was Nepali, but could understand my butchered-Tibetan name of dishes, some of which are transliterated very strangely in the menu.
First was the chowmein, which eating was like a punch to the gut. It reminded me of every Tuesday at Sarah College, when we would have chowmein, and the only thing missing was the curry ketchup that we would add to it. My students knew that I loved the chowmein and I’d frequently let them leave class a little early as to be the first in line for lunch.
Next up was the “Shabakleb,” fried bread stuffed with beef and vegetables. It was okay. I think I preferred it to the chicken momos that I ordered, which seemed very underwhelming.
It was only near the end of my meal that two fellows wandered into the place, ordering in Nepali. I’m guessing the lack of tourists during the pandemic has hit the restaurant pretty hard.
Overall, it was a good intro to Tibetan cuisine if you’ve never had it and I really enjoyed my chowmein. The place was decorated very nicely if a bit over-decorated, but I found the faded post-it notes going down the stairs to the restaurant to be very tacky and off-putting. Stop in to support a Tibetan-owned restaurant! Bhod gyalo!
Address: Supyogyo Building B1, 35-2, Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul