San Maru Restaurant, Thimphu: A Taste of Korea in Bhutan

 In Bhutan, Holidays, Travel

The growing popularity of Korean drama has influenced many to try Korean food and Bhutan is no exception. So, while traveling through the scenic landscapes in the “Land of Thunder Dragon” with our Bhutan Tours, you must visit the San Maru Restaurant for delicious Korean food and beverages.

Nestled in the heart of Thimphu, Bhutan, San Maru Restaurant is a heaven for Korean food lovers. This charming eatery has tantalized taste buds with its authentic dishes and warm hospitality for over a decade.

This restaurant is one of the first Korean restaurants in Bhutan run by a Bhutanese-Korean couple. Whether you’re a seasoned kimchi connoisseur or a curious newcomer to Korean flavors, San Maru Restaurant in Thimphu has something to offer everyone.

About San Maru Restaurant

about-san-maru-restaurant

San Maru Restaurant was founded with a passion for bringing the flavors of Korea to Bhutan. Started by a Bhutanese-Korean couple, this restaurant offers a delightful blend of authentic Korean flavors and warm Bhutanese hospitality. The restaurant’s owners, who met and fell in love in Korea, decided to share their love for Korean cuisine with their Bhutanese community. 

Amongst the couples, the husband is Bhutanese and the wife is Korean. The wife herself prepares all the food with the traditional methods, just like it’s done in Korea. While the husband looks after the customers and shares their sweet stories. 

Listening to the love story of the Korean-Bhutanese owners and relishing the delicious Korean food, makes dining here one of the top things to do in Thimphu. San Maru Restaurant in Thimphu has become a favorite among locals and tourists, thanks to its delicious food, friendly service, and charming ambiance. 

What makes San Maru Restaurant stand out is its commitment to using fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant sources its vegetables and meat from nearby farms, ensuring that each dish is bursting with flavor and quality. This dedication to sustainability is not only good for the environment but also supports the local community.

Location

location

San Maru Restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of Thimphu, just a stone’s throw away from the main market and other popular tourist places of Thimphu. Thus, it is easily accessible for both tourists and locals, making it a perfect pitstop to relish in a meal after a day of exploring.

The Ambiance Of San Maru Restaurant

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Source: Tripadvisor

Step into San Maru Restaurant, and you’ll be transported to a world of warm and inviting Korean charm. The interiors are decorated with traditional Korean artwork and artifacts, creating a cozy and authentic atmosphere. The dining tables also have a grill in between to enjoy the traditional Korean hotpot or grill the pork/veggies just the way you like.

The San Maru restaurant also boasts a beautiful outdoor patio, perfect for enjoying a meal under the Bhutanese sky. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, perfect for a casual meal with friends or family. Whether you choose to dine indoors or outdoors on the patio, you’re sure to enjoy the restaurant’s charming ambiance.

The staff at San Maru Restaurant are renowned for their friendly and attentive service. They are always happy to recommend dishes and answer any questions you may have about Korean cuisine.

Also Read: 15 Best Indian Restaurants In Bhutan To Try

Must-Try Dishes At San Maru Restaurant

must-try-dishes-at-san-maru-restaurant
Source: Tripadvisor

San Maru Restaurant’s menu features a wide variety of traditional Korean dishes, all prepared with the freshest ingredients and authentic flavors. 

Here are some of the must-try items:

  • Bibimbap: This colorful rice bowl is a classic Korean dish that comes with a variety of toppings, including vegetables, meat, and a fried egg.
  • Bulgogi: Thinly sliced marinated beef grilled to perfection, Bulgogi is a crowd-pleaser that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.
  • Kimchi Jjigae: This spicy kimchi stew is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cold day.
  • Kimchi Pancake: A savory pancake filled with kimchi, a spicy fermented cabbage.
  • Japchae: Glass noodles stir-fried with vegetables and meat, Japchae is a light and refreshing dish that is perfect for a summer meal.
  • Korean BBQ: San Maru Restaurant offers a variety of Korean BBQ options, allowing you to cook your meat at your table. This is a fun and interactive dining experience that is perfect for groups.

In addition to the delicious food, San Maru Restaurant also offers a selection of Korean beers and soju, the traditional Korean liquor. 

No meal at San Maru is complete without trying some of their traditional Korean side dishes, such as kimchi, pickled vegetables, and japchae. And for dessert, be sure to save room for their homemade Korean ice cream.

How To Reach San Maru Restaurant?

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To reach San Maru Restaurant from India, here are a few options:

  • By Airways: The best way to reach the San Maru Restaurant is to fly to Paro International Airport in Bhutan. There are flights from major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Bagdogra to Paro. From Paro Airport, you can take a taxi or hire a car to reach Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, where Babesa Village Restaurant is located. It’s about a 1-hour drive from Paro to Thimphu.
  • By Roadways: If you prefer a road trip, you can enter Bhutan via the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing border crossing. This border is open to Indian tourists. From Phuentsholing, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Thimphu. The journey takes around 6-7 hours by road.
  • By Railways: Unfortunately, there are no direct railway connections to Bhutan. The nearest railway station to the border town of Phuentsholing is Hasimara Railway Station in West Bengal, India. From Hasimara, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Phuentsholing. But You can also travel to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station as it is connected to major Indian cities by railway network.

San Maru Restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for a delicious and authentic Korean dining experience in Thimphu. With its warm atmosphere, friendly staff, and commitment to quality and sustainability, San Maru Restaurant in Thimphu is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Does San Maru Restaurant accept reservations, and what are its operating hours?

Yes, San Maru Restaurant accepts reservations. It’s advisable to call ahead and book a table, especially during peak hours or if you are traveling with a large group. The operating hours are usually from 10 AM to 9 PM but it may vary, so it’s best to check directly with the restaurant for their current schedule.

Is San Maru Restaurant suitable for vegetarians and individuals with dietary restrictions?

Yes, San Maru Restaurant offers options for vegetarians and individuals with dietary restrictions. They have a selection of non-Bhutanese food, including Korean dishes, which may cater to different dietary preferences.

Where is San Maru Restaurant located?

The San Maru Restaurant is located in the heart of Thimphu, just opposite to the Royal Textile Academy. Its convenient location in the city center, makes it a popular place to have a meal for both the locals and tourists.

What type of cuisine does San Maru Restaurant specialize in?

The San Maru Restaurant in Thimphu specializes in Korean cuisine. They offer a wide variety of authentic Korean dishes, prepared using fresh, high-quality ingredients.

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