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KARACHI

Food & Restaurants

Food & Restaurants in Karachi

Karachi has a large number of restaurants from fast food, fast casual, casual dining to fine dining as well several fantastic upmarket restaurants, which serve a huge and wide variety of both local and international cuisines such as (Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Arab, Korean, South Indian, etc.). The cuisine of Karachi is strongly influenced by the city's Muhajir population, who have traditionally been based in Karachi, hence the city being known for Muhajir tastes in its cuisine, however cuisines varies from one neighborhood to another, given the diverse nature of ethnic origins that exist in this giant metropolitan. Biryani is arguably the most popular food among Karachiites, with numerous variants. The beauty of the food in Karachi is that you will probably find a cuisine for every taste. Whereas the dining experience at an upscale restaurant in Karachi is more or less the same as anywhere else in the world. If you search hard enough, you will find cuisine from practically every part of the world represented in the city. But to get a real flavour of what's unique to Karachi, you will have to go a little lower down the scale and experience the street food. Few upper-end restaurants are located in major splurge hotels in the city (the Sheraton, the Pearl Continental, Mövenpick Hotel and Avari Towers). It is a huge task for a visitor to find the "right place" to eat in Karachi largely because, as in any big city, there are literally thousands of venues from which to choose, ranging from fast food joints, mainstream chains all the way up to some of the most exclusive restaurants in the subcontinent which attract the kind of clientele that don't need to ask the price. On the other hand, one can easily find a franchise of an international fast food outlets such as KFC  +92 21 111 532532, McDonalds +92 21 111 244622, Subway +92 21 586-8907, Papa Johns  +92 21 585-3374, Mr Cod +92 21 535-0746, Henny's  +92 21 5867151, +92 21 5864023 (09:00-23:00), Pizza Hut  +92 21 111 241-241,Domino's  +92 21 111 366-466, Penny Pizza  +92 21 34991029.

There are thousands of restaurants scattered throughout the city with Defence and Clifton is chock-full of fine dining, trendiest and happiest restaurants and cafés. It's useful for the visitor to be aware that there are some areas where the majority of diners are Karachiites, rather than tourists and, in general, there you will get better food and value. But city have scores of food streets as well that is devoted specifically to eating out. They are lined with food stalls, restaurants, and other food shops, and are typically pedestrianised. They has become a social norm, with people using them as both formal and informal meeting areas. These places can be visited even during the day but are best visited in the evening. To name a few most popular food districts,

  • Boat Basin. A mile-long gastronomic delight strip of open-air street food/restaurants. Boat Basin is where almost all of Karachi's late-partying citizens wind up, since food is often available here until five or six in the morning, and some restaurants are open 24 hours. Most dining is open air, during winter this becomes the most popular hangout place in the city. Local style breakfast (such as halwa puri and anda paratha) is served at Boat-Basin 06:00-07:00 onwards. Note that restaurants here will frequently only accept cash. It is a good idea to carry enough cash to tide you over, at most of these locations Rs 1,000 per person will be more than sufficient.If you're not the experimenting type then there's always the International fast food options as well.
  • Burns Road (Saddar). For authentic Karachi food this is the place to be. The best tasting Nihari, Sajji, Bottis and Tikkas can be found in this congested corner of Old Karachi. Most of the restaurants here are built in really old pre-independence era Victorian style buildings which sort of gives you the feeling of being in a crowded part of Old Delhi. Hygienically this may not be the cleanest part of town, but if you are a big time foodie and you really want to taste real Karachi food then seriously this is the place to head to. If food preparation hygiene is really an issue for you then the best option is to head to Food Centre, the biggest and prettiest building on the street. Places to head to here include Punjab Lassi house for the best Lassi in town, Food Center and Sabri Nihari. Other than these there are many more restaurants scattered throughout this street. Restaurants accept only cash here.
  • Do Darya. Price wise you can easily have food dessert and a glass of Lassi for less than Rs 300. Adjacent but far away from the Sea View beach is a giant food street Do Darya which is along the scenic sea front of Arabian See, fastly becoming a very well known dining spot in city. This is the only food street of its kind in the country where you will be greeted by many restaurants clustering at the edge of the Arabian Sea. There are several Pakistani food restaurants here offering both indoor and open air dining facilities. Here, the rocky shore provides shrimps which are used as bait to catch fish. You can feel the cool, relaxing sea breeze, enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and huts right above the shore giving an ultimately fulfilling experience.

Budget

  • Hot N SpicyKhada Market, Phase 5, Defence,  +92 21 358 43930. It is mainly famous for its delicious and best "Paratha Rolls" that can be eaten with a various array of different meats eg Chicken, Beef and Kebab to name a few. With different fillings and yea that includes Cheese, Chatni, Ketchup, and Garlic Mayo also. One average Paratha Roll with out any fillings will cost you around Rs 100. The more fillings you add the more price increases this can go up to around Rs 120 per roll. Other than the Paratha Rolls, serve some great Sandwiches and Burgers. Recently introduced crispy chicken filling rolls. Have outlets all over the city.
  • Nihari Inn+92 21 3587 0026. Boat Basin. The restaurant is especially famous for it traditional Nihari (a popular meat dish of Pakistan) with piping hot hans. A plain nihari cost Rs 150 whereas special nihari dish cost per person around Rs 350. Located on the strip of Boat Basin food street.
  • Student Biryani, +92 21 111 111 778. A popular and one of the oldest Pakistani food chain that is best known for selling its famous biryani dish, a variant of India's Bombay Biryani. It is a very much renowned Biryani center in Pakistan and has the most excellent biryani for biryani lovers. Having branches throughout the city with the flagship in Saddar. Home delivery is also possible. A regular chicken biryani plate, salad, raita with a cold drink will cost not more than Rs 250. Must try special zarda as well.
  • Zahid NihariMain Tariq Rd,  +92-21-34387042. Famous for Nihari, a traditional thick stew dish. The restaurant unarguably serves the most delicious Nihari in town along with many other traditional dishes.

Mid-range

  • BBQ Tonight+92 21 111 227 111. Main Bilawal Roundabout, Clifton. One of Karachi's most popular and splurge restaurants. Spread over four stories of seating, including partly covered rooftop seating, the restaurant is almost always completely packed, but the turnover is high, so reservations aren't required. It now serves lunch. The rooftop is good. Per person will cost at around Rs 900.
  • Bundu Khan. One of the oldest restaurants in Karachi. Serve authentic Pakistani food and delicious Bar B Q dishes.
  • China Town+92 21 3586 0528. Near Bilawal House, Block 2, Clifton. Traditional, authentic and fresh Pakistani Chinese food at reasonable prices. Popular among local Chinese community. Cost per person is around Rs 800.
  • DamascusBlock 9, Near KPT Underpass, Clifton+92 21 3587-9902.18:00-02:00. One of the oldest cafe in the city. Mostly a restaurant specialized in Arabic cuisine, also offers many seafood items. Rs 500-800.
  • Ginsoy+92 21 3534 5362/3. 29-C Main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz, Phase 6, Defence. A pretty good Chinese restaurant offering some excellent authentic Chinese food in town at affordable prices and in a pleasant ambience. Overall, good value for money. Recently opened an extension nearby. Cost per person is around Rs 700.
  • Lal QilaShahrah-e-Faisal,  +92 21 3438 8363-64. A theme restaurant built in the style of a 17th century Moghul fort. Offering Pakistani cuisine such as Barbecue, biryani, and a local beef-based delicacy, haleem, in its open brick courtyard. Very busy on weekends. Buffer style dinner cost per person around Rs 1,300 whereas lunch Rs 750.
  • Roasters23-C, 2nd Commercial Lane, Main Zamzama Rd Phase 5, Defence,+92 21 3530-2204. A very cosy cafe with nice interior. A good place to hangout. Food is excellent and offering gourmet coffee, deserts, grill as well steak. Rs 800-1,000.
  • Salt n Pepper VillageBeach Avenue, Defence+92 21 3584 3121. On the edge of sea coast of Arabian see, offers a scenic view of the beach. This is theme restaurant depicts the village architecture of Pakistan and is popular for its authentic Pakistani food with often live music. Buffet style dinner cost per head is Rs 1,300 whereas lunch Rs 900.
  • Usmania Restaurant+92 21 3586 3470. Near Bilawal House, Block 2, Clifton. A fine dining restaurant serving quality and authentic Pakistan cuisine along with continental, Chinese and Indian dishes and Bar BQ as well. Restaurant offers air side as well for dining. Have branches throughout the country. Price per head around 800.

Splurge

  • Aqua Lounge,+92 21 3537 6700-1. 18-C, 1st Floor, 5th Zamzama Commercial Street, Phase V, Defence. An upscale premier restaurant serving almost all kind of quality sea food as well steaks. Popular among elites and very busy. Cost per person is around Rs 2,000.
  • Chandni (Pearl Continental Hotel), +92 21 3568 5021. Club Road. A fine dining restaurant in town offering quality desi Pakistani cuisine in buffet style only. Great atmosphere with live classical music daily. Cost per person is around Rs 1,500.
  • Dynasty (Avari Towers), +92 21 3566 0100. Fatima Jinnah Road. Award winning top end restaurant serving truly quality and authentic Chinese cuisine with around 139 dishes in the menu. Restaurant is decorated in Chinese style and popular among expats. Cost per person is around Rs 2,000+.
  • Fujiyama (Avari Towers),  +92 21 3566 0100 ext 2076. Fatima Jinnah Road. Traditional Japanese food, located on the top floor of the 17 story Avari Towers offers 360 degrees panoramic views of the city. Cost per person is Rs 2,000+
  • The Patio,  +92 21 3530 9871. F-50/1, Block 4, Clifton. Popular upscale and contemporary fine dining restaurant offering Pakistani and Pan-Asian cuisine. Outdoor seating also available. Price per head around Rs 1,500.
  • Pompei (Shapes Health Club Compound, old railway club), 139 Mc Niel Rd,  +92 21 3521 9657-8. Cantt. A finest dining restaurant serving Italian cuisine. Open air dining as is also available in beautiful garden. Interior is excellent Italian style. Cost per person is Rs 2,000+
  • Sakura (Pearl Continental Hotel),  +92 21 111-505-505. Club Road. Specialties includes spicy tuna tartare, Japanese green tea, noodles with shrimp, tempura and teriyaki. Located on roof top of the hotel. Cost per person is above Rs 2,000+.

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