Sherpa's Adventurers Restaurant and Bar

Food: Three stars

Service: Three stars

Ambience: Three stars

Price: $-$$

Address: 825 Walnut St., Boulder

Contact: 303-440-7151,


11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday

11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

Credit cards: Yes

Noise level: Low, so that the most noticeable noises are that of quiet conversation and the occasional crunch of a papadum.

It was one of those deceptively crystal clear but cold late mornings when a chilly wind easily cuts through the thickest sweater. This wasn't a day for gussied up light bites. Something more substantial was in order to stave off the wintry weather. Fortunately, my destination was Walnut Street's Sherpa's Adventurers Restaurant and Bar, more commonly known as Sherpa's.

This Boulder fixture is known for its lively mix of Nepalese, Tibetan and Indian fare served up in a converted historic home. Upon entering, my lunch companion and I were greeted with a smile and quickly escorted to a cozy nook in the rear of the restaurant. Within moments, we were swiftly attended to by a friendly waiter.


Lunch offerings consist of several options for both the herbivore and carnivore, with most choices priced under $10. At lunch, entrees include curries with a choice of protein, a simple but traditional Nepali repast of lentil soup and basmati rice, Indian vindaloo, and thupka, Tibetan noodles in broth. Dinner options are similarly affordable, with most meals costing less than $15.

Kusum Sherpa with the Sherpa stew with yak and saag at Sherpa’s.
Kusum Sherpa with the Sherpa stew with yak and saag at Sherpa's. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Once we settled in, we were presented with a complementary basket of nearly paper-thin papadums, wonderfully crisp and appealingly spiced with peppy cumin. Two dipping sauces, one a cooling yogurt-based number, the other a tangy red chutney, were simple but satisfying accompaniments to this classic snack.

Variations on the snack theme carried over to our $8.35 appetizer plate, a predominantly bright red mix of fried starters. Anchored by momos, handmade Tibetan dumplings, this impressive assortment also included samosas, panir, and onion pakora. The vegetarian momos possessed a crunchy but not heavy or greasy fresh-from-the-fryer texture, with winningly prepared carrot and cabbage among the crisp tender fillings. Steamed moms are also an option with this selection.

Samosas, a turnover filled with peas and potatoes, took on the role of the momos' heftier cousin. At first glance, panir, chickpea battered sticks of house-made white cheese, resembled large orange french fries. But their creamy flavor, set off by the earthy batter, made for a more intriguing nibble than any mere spud.

Similarly, one could argue that the onion pakora strips bore a resemblance to onion rings. But the more delicate chickpea breading and lively spicing of the pakora, combined with expert frying made for a snack clearly superior to any onion ring. It's also worth noting that a fellow diner, intrigued by the colorful presentation and tantalizing aromas, inquired as to what dish we had ordered. We concluded that it would be a decadent repast for one, especially if accompanied by a suitably strong beverage.

Vegetarian choices here are both substantial and satisfying, as evidenced by my dining companion's above average $8.50 saag aloo. This large serving of creamed spinach benefited from lively seasonings of ginger, cumin and garlic. While lesser examples of this dish arrive overdone with dull flavor, these greens were bright in both appearance and taste, rounded out by a texture evoking freshness rather than overcooking. Sizable chunks of aloo, or spiced potato, enhanced this saag's main course cred as did aromatic basmati rice and a ginger-infused side of dal, or lentils.

Meat eaters needn't worry about a lack of options, and I was certainly able to indulge my carnivorous tendencies with a $11.50 Sherpa stew. This choice was a welcome antidote to the cold, and while it didn't possess the pungency of a curry, it certainly didn't fall short when it came to comforting flavors.

This stew is available in a vegetarian version or with one's choice of meats. I opted for yak, which wasn't as distinctly flavored as one might have expected, as it closely resembled decent well-done beef stew meat. But a balanced mix of potato, cauliflower florets and spinach, as well as tender, bite-size dumplings, made for a dish worthy of its formidable mountain people name. As an added bonus, the stew was also accompanied by Sherpa's top notch naan bred, which was hot, pleasingly puffy, and brushed with just the right amount of clarified butter.

Sherpa's succeeds as a spot to enjoy reasonably priced fare that's hearty but not overly heavy. A laid-back ambience makes for a dining experience that's more serene than most downtown area eateries. Combine this atmosphere with consistently hospitable service, and you have a dining experience that's both relaxing and deeply satisfying. Last but not least, the preparations here are the perfect antidote to the cold temperatures of a chilly day.