Like a typical foodie blogger, I thought about putting burgers and steaks aside for once and look around for some desi food. I roamed around Islamabad and tried God knows how many desi food places. To be very honest, only a few of them were worth trying. Having parents from Rawalpindi and Lahore means having a taste for typical desi food, and that is why many places here were a disappointment. Having said that, I did manage to find some amazing restaurants as well. Here is my list:
Located in Sector F-6, Khyber Dodai is an Afghani restaurant. Each and every item of the menu along with the atmosphere reflects Khyber culture and tradition. The food served here is amazing and reasonably priced; starting at Rs. 400 per person. Often a single serving is enough for two people (yes, that’s the best part). It’s not just the food either, the ambiance is really amazing; you just really fall in love sitting there. Their rooftop seating is especially beautiful, with a great view of the hills nearby. Definitely worth a visit when the weather is overcast and rainy. The desi food they serve is worth it, from tikkas to handis, and from salads to naans, everything is tasty. And how can we forget there qehwa, lassi and meetha — the cherry on top.
Dilli Darwaza is ‘The Nihari Shop’ of Islamabad that has embraced fame in a very short time because of it’s delicious and mouthwatering nihari. If you’re wondering where to get your desi breakfast from, because you’re too lazy to go and buy it yourself, then look no further. They have a small seating area indoors but are working to expand it. With a few items on their menu and totally dedicating to nihari and its varieties, they make sure to excel in what they are selling properly.
Khoka Khola is located in Beverly Center, and is the best modern dhaba in Islamabad. I remember when my friends tried it for the first time, they all went crazy for it because of the memorable name and their food, obviously. This amazing food comes in a little overpriced, though. But it’s definitely worth it, trust me. With a single bite, your taste buds explode with happiness.
Cheema and Chattha
Just like the name, this place has the best desi food you’ll ever find in Sector F-11. From biryani to handi, and from malai boti to tikka, everything is delicious and a pure delight to the taste buds. The prices are very reasonable and servings are big enough to make it a go-to desi eatery. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do because Cheema and Chattha is something you simply cannot miss. I have been drooling over their biryani for a long, long time.
Daal Chaawal opened just a few days ago at Safa Gold Mall in the Jinnah Super area of Islamabad. They serve the best daal chaawal (lentils and rice) in town. The eatery has a total of 9 types of sauces, along with 7 types of salad and pickles to go with your classic daal chaawal. They serve boiled rice with red beans or pilli daal. This new spot is the perfect addition to the food scene in Islamabad and is a must try.
What did you think of our list? Did we miss out your favorite desi spots? Let us know in the comments below.
CORRECTION: The original version of this blog (published September 28, 2016) incorrectly placed Table Talk in this list. The restaurant is of course a well established name, having been in business for many years. The oversight is regretted. Sincerely, the editor.