Enter a world you might only hear about on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic. With a big Napaste, "welcome" in Nepalese, we invite you to Katmandu Kitchen, Himalayan Cuisine, in West L.A., the next stop on our around-the-world food trip.

As Nepal is one of the steepest countries on this planet, dining is mainly thought of as fuel, subsistence food due to the country’s extremes in climate. Opened in November 2003, Katmandu Kitchen is the only Nepali restaurant in Los Angeles. It has received rave reviews from the L.A. Times and other dining sources, and is a wonderful treat you won’t soon forget.

From the outside, it looks like a small take-out spot. But inside, you’ll find soft lighting and a lovely, homey space with every bit of the décor brought over from Nepal. Owners Sabina and Premu Rana are the perfect hosts with their knowledge and stories from that part of the world. Premu is the restaurant’s incredibly innovative chef, having memorized many techniques at his grandmother’s side in Katmandu. Though men are not generally the cooks, Premu is a delightful exception.

Start with the Everest Momos, potstickers with onions, garlic, ginger and special Nepali spices. Though these are listed as appetizers, you could easily make a feast out of these delicious morsels that come stuffed with chicken, lamb and goat. For vegetarians, try the vegetable Braha-ma-chari Momos. Momos to Nepalis are as common as hot dogs and hamburgers in the U.S. and are eaten all the time.

Nepalis also love garlic, so expect a flavorful spread. Try the Black Magic Soup with black lentils and mild spices or the Alu Gobi, stir fried potato and cauliflower curry, and Mustard Chicken – a village-style dish of mildly spiced chicken cooked with mustard greens and garlic. Excellent! We were in a state of joyous consumption.

Also new on the menu is yak, a rarity in Los Angeles. Jimbu is one of these, sizzled in a pan and used to season meats, lamb, goat, chicken and yak. In addition to garlic, cumin and turmeric is a special 12-spice blend brought over from Nepal to flavor this wonderful food.

Portions are large and prices are amazingly reasonable. There is a perfect little outdoor area for those sunny afternoons and evenings. Many of the customers who eat here are world travelers and are thrilled to have this restaurant on the Westside.

Katmandu Kitchen is open for lunch, Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and for dinner, Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner hours are extended until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and the restaurant is closed Mondays.

Katmandu Kitchen is located at 10855 1/2 Venice Blvd., in West L.A., (310) 836-9696. For more information, visit www.katmandukitchen.com.