Owned by the much loved Bo from the much loved Green Gallery, Bodhi Nava is smart and tidy café come restaurant come boutique hostel that serves up a fresh and funky menu of fusion foods. Somehow Bo and Ben (the other founder) have managed to fit a multi-purpose business into their delightfully renovated little house (it used to be a car workshop) but despite the coming and going of travellers, they have also built up a firm following of trendy Yangon foodies. Their compact menu flits between a taste of Thailand, Myanmar, the West, and the Middle East with plenty of tasty examples of a keen eye for a fusion of flavours, pineapple curry, might sound crazy, but it works! The portion sizes are generous, and the prices are very reasonable. Bodhi Nava is building up a strong following of foodies who like to enjoy healthy dishes at a reasonable price, but more importantly, like to hang out in a cool and relaxing café.
Located right on the doorstep of the Shwedagon Pagoda, Bodhi Nava is ideally placed for a quick bite to eat after exploring the back streets of Bahan. Due to their closeness to the Pagoda, they do not serve alcohol, but they do have a fabulous selection of fresh juices and smoothies that more than make up for that. In fact, their beautifully presented smoothie bowls that include nuts, seeds, dried fruits and all manner of sprinkled healthy things have established a fan club all of their own. Every item on the menu seems to have been posted on Instagram at some point due to the photogenic nature of the food, and the English muffins served with shredded chicken and tamarind and sesame sauce seem to be a favourite foodie photo.
The service, as you would expect from anywhere even remotely connected to Ma Bo, is friendly and helpful, but also laid back and generally pretty cool at the same time. The interior of the café is minimalist, airy and light with floor to ceiling windows, but also striking with brushed concrete, black metal, and reclaimed wood. There is a certain relaxed, urban vibe, with a hint of Yangon hipster thrown in for good measure.
The name Bodhi Nava is intended to reflect the tranquillity of this sacred area, as the Bodhi (Banyan) tree is where the Buddha attained enlightenment through meditation, and Nava is the number 9 in Pali – the ancient Buddhist language – representing the 9 attributes of the Buddha.
Bo has been a servant of the Yangon Dining and Nightlife scene for many years, and she and her team are working really hard to make Bodhi Nava the success it deserves to be. Their hard efforts and imaginative approach have certainly paid off, and they are very much worthy of the Myanmore Cafe of the Year award.
See the listing here https://www.myanmore.com/restaurant-directory/listing/bodhi-nava