My Top 3 Eat-outs in Islamabad

biryani Courtesy KMBFirst of all, let me apologize for being out for so long. This would be my first post after a long hiatus from posting oo IMB.

We at IMB have been discussing what new topics to write about a for a while and one of the most favored topics was food and eating out. One of our readers suggested us to do a Top 3 list of eat-outs in Islamabad. One of the ideas we really liked, and we got around to writing our own mini-reviews for these restaurants. More recently Adnan Siddique, a new Islamabadi, suggested to us in a comment here to do a similar post. So here we go!

This picture on the right however is a platter of Mutton Biryani taken from Karachi Metroblogs, thanks guys.

So starting from number 3, here is my list.

My Number 3 restaurant in Islamabad would be Nadia’s Coffee Shop, Islamabad Marriott. Their food is really good and the variety especially on the buffet hi-tea is something to die for. One of it’s kind in Islamabad, the seating and ambiance (I hate this word, but heck) is really good with live music being played a yards away. The only reason it falls short of number 2 spot is because it’s not your typical monthly outing, and for a person like me I won’t even consider going there twice in a quarter. Although it is the right spot to close a deal or make a (business) proposal. So, Nadia will be my number three :)

The FirepotOn Number 2 comes Chinatown * located adjacent to the Rana Market F-7 and they serve some really good Chinese and Schezuan dishes. If you are in the mood for some spicy and rich Chinese, head on down to Chinatown for some wholesome grub. They serve a variety of soups, starters, appetizers, entrĂ©es, and main dishes that are really affordable at the same time quite palatable too. Sometimes on weekends them might fall short of parking space or seating, it is better to go there with a booking/reservation first. They take orders for take away and also for sit and eat one the phone which really ups their ratings with me since I am a lazy bum and usually have my cell handy. Just in case you don’t have their number, just call up the local directory service at 17 and ask them about Chinatown in Rana Market. Recommended dish: The Firepot.

Finally, the Number 1 restaurant in Islamabad for me is the Kabuli Restaurant also located in F-7 but on the main College Road, adjacent to Jinnah Super Market. I am a sucker for desi food, since I know I can always fix myself a sandwich here and there, and I really can’t take the pain of even thinking of making such delicious Afghan Peshawari food. This spot was also competed for by Savour Food’s of the Savour Pullaofame, but in thematic comparison to the number of items of the two restaurants Kabuli takes the cake. From Central Asian specialties to Pakistani favorites, this is the best bar-b-q in Islamabad bar none. The seating can be a little issue for some, as they are rarely any empty tables; the wait times are long on weekends and dinners. The food there is to die for especially the Chutnee and Achar they serve it with. If you are in Islamabad, and want something desi with a hot Naan Kabuli is the place to go. Recommended dishes: Mantu, and Kabuli Pullao (aka Brinj in Farsi).

Other acts worth mentioning are Jharoka, TalkingFish, KC Grill, UpperDeck, Muitat, Chung Pa, Olive Garden, Jahangira, Usmania, Tabbaq, Lasania, Haji, Table Talk, Royal Orchid and Orient.

For a general overview of what we have already talked about, here on IMB, check out our Food Archives, or just search.

Have a happy dining experience, with love, from Islamabad Metroblogs.

* Chinatown is undergoing renovation these days so it’s suggestible not to waste time planning on going there.

16 Comments so far

  1. binary-zero (unregistered) on October 27th, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

    Savour ? i had a bad experience there – they server rice with too much masslajat

  2. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on October 27th, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

    you just had a bad day that it :-)

    I tried it when I was in ISB and it was quite good( not as good as Karachi’s rice stuff though:D )

  3. ...Abrarism... (unregistered) on October 27th, 2007 @ 11:58 pm

    savors is always good :) hey, y do u ppl forgot CJ?

  4. akonT (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 12:50 am

    Humm… yup right…. CJ is fine with sandwiches :D

    but like their motto better
    something like dau ghont chai per or 2 guftugoo per lol

    read it somewhere … hummm.. i think

  5. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 1:57 am

    @B-Z: YOu didnt like Savour … Explain the masala jaat plz :P they serve salad and a very tasty raita :-) That’s it and i can eat savour’s pulao withuut any stop anytime :P

    Phil, superb post …!

    I havent been to either :$

  6. tempedevil (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 8:24 am

    Islamabad simply sucks when it comes about food!
    Being the capital of the country its really amazing that we don’t have good eating places in terms of desi and international food. International food is and can be enjoyed only by the rich people and not the masses.For example Subway or just see how Mcdonalds is attacked by a particular class!
    There are different places which are good at somethings but over all you can not rate a place as “the best” eating place in Isb.
    I would reccommend “Omer Khyam” in Blue Area and their Barley soup and Borni: both are heavenly foods. But again its my personal choice and you may hate the soup and eating the Borni!
    and if you are a student, then F-8 markaz is the heaven!

  7. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 2:45 pm

    Islamabad simply sucks when it comes about food!

    TEMPED, seems you’re right:D

    I think it would be difficult for you guys to comeup with the list made by Karachiites 2 years go at KMB.


    BTW,Why F=8 Markaz is heaven for students? ;)

  8. Phil (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

    @ Adnan: Thank you Adnan for being such a nice Karachi rep here. I am sure there are hundreds of cities that are better than Islamabad, but learning form your comments it seems to be the best. Coming for Karachi I do suppose you will have a lot of bias for that city. It’s only food and we all know the best food is ‘mom’s home cooked’, so there is really no use telling everyone how the 10 most favorite items/dishes in Karachi happen to either of the two: Nihari or Biryani.

    @ Tempedevil: As said above we are no comparing cities here, so please keep such comments where they belong. Again, I am sure there are many cities in Pakistan (yeah right!) and abroad that are better than Islamabad.

    Again, we are not discussing ‘Fast Food,’ neither are we discussing burger boorger!

    @ A for [Pine]Apple: Thanks a lot, my captain!

    Thanks for commenting, people.

  9. Phil (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

    @ Binary-zero: You just had a bad day my friend. Go there again :P and Savour the amazing flavor. And man are those Kebabs awesome with that raita or what!

  10. Faisal (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

    There is a restaurant called PHOENIX in Jinnah Super…the restaurant is not posche…but the food is good and the service is excellent…!

  11. Faisal (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

    There is a restaurant called PHOENIX in Jinnah Super…the restaurant is not posche…but the food is good and the service is excellent…!

  12. Phil (unregistered) on October 28th, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

    Yes Faisal, thanks for reminding/adding that here. Phoenix is a Chinese restaurant in the same UpperDeck block. The food was OK, and the service was still warming up. I’ll go there again to see what’s changed, for a change. :)

  13. redsnapper (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 3:41 am

    Thanks Phil, for the list. I’ve stayed out of Islamabad for a long time and don’t know many of the places you mention. Kabuli in F-7 is familiar as it was popular even back then.

    Others that figured at that time were Sufi’s (chapli kebabs) and Dainty’s (burgers) in F-8. Nadia’s in Marriott at that time was popular simply because there was no alternative !! I am surprised it still figures in a “top” list despite so many more places opening up.

    And speaking of neharis and biryanis….and with no bias :) ….is there a branch of student’s biryani (karachi) open in islamabad now ? if yes, i wonder how well they are doing.

    And….a final note….there used to be a place in “bau mohalla” in pindi where the guy used to grill kebabs and then fry them in kerahi before serving them…..very nice indeed. This was near the original Jameel sweets. I wonder if he’s still there.

  14. tempedevil (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

    Islamabad is “the city” in the world because there is what I call home! In addition to that I ain’t comparing any cities with Islamabad, but if you ask for a comment or opinion, grant me my freedom and courage to compare and contrast!Or ask those who haven’t eaten good or seen good eating places or their moms and grannies don’t cook delicious “Karela – Gosht”, or may be havent eaten those delicious “basin wale naan” made by a simple village khatoon in any village of Pakistan.
    Imagine the aroma of that food cooked by non professionals and compare it to the un tasteful restaurants of ISB.

    I was just giving my opinion, and i insist Islamabad simply sucks when it comes to food! You are not comparing fast food and burger boorger…why? Is that not food? kindly define your categories of “food” and what you mean by them because you are including chinese food in your discussion without making any distinction that it is an “international” food. Or has it been penetrated so much in our system that we no more consider it a foreign food? Any how, yep F-8 markaz is heaven coz of so many dirty, unhygenic looking food shops but delicious and affordable by an average person.

  15. Phil (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

    @ tempedevil: I believe somewhere up there you mentioned F-8 Markaz is good/is a heaven, and since you mentioned it, I presume they have qualified chefs cooking their food?

    There is no need to for me to define what I call food or not since I invite no comparison, simple. And since it’s MY top 3 eat-outs, let it be a little different from you and your definitions of food.

    If there is any definition that needs to be told, it is that all three ‘restaurants’ I mentioned, and not just any Fast Food joints, khokay wala, or a theley wala, is that they serve at least a 3 courses, around a proper table, where people go to have a proper well-rounded meal. That is what I call a ‘restaurant.’ And yes, Rayyans and Daintys and all such clones are mutually exclusive by both of our definitions.

    I am not a connoisseur to be really honest, but since you haven’t attacked (or said anything against) any of the food places I mentioned, I bet neither are you, and neither have you even been to these places, ever. Or have you? Please educate me what you didn’t like what you saw, thanks.

    @ RedSnapper: Thanks for some lovely input, we are a mere servant to the people away from home providing some much needed nostalgia about this lovely city :)

    Pappasallis has a hi-tea buffet similar to Nadia but it’s exorbitant pricing is unmatched with the number of items they serve and the quality they do it with.

    I am not aware of any such Biryani joint opening in Islamabad. If it does, it will be more than welcome here, even as an individual post :P (see, no bias here either.)

    If you are willing to do a small post for us, about that food place in ‘Bau Mohallah,’ please do so, and tell us in detail what the experience was like.

    For the likeness of you name, TalkingFish serve really nice Red Snappers.

  16. tempedevil (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 10:13 am

    sorry man! Y did u initiate the discussion if you didn’y have the courage to accept differing opinions!
    BTW , you r trying to impose your opinion on islamabadis, thats not democracy!

    show some sportsman spirit!


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