Looking for good food on a budget that too in the capital is quite a challenge but hunting for it is the challenge we foodies accept.

Now a question from a foodie to foodies: What is dhaba for an Islamabadi?

1. Economical (Check)

2. Local food in a formality-free open environment. (Check)

There is more to dhabas in Islamabad then sasta food, for the past 2 – 3 years, the capital has opened its heart and mindset to introducing dhaba cum cafés or small food spots to give your taste buds and eating out experience a bit of a twist.

Here are 5 lavish dhaba spots for Islamabadis to experience what Karachi and Lahore do, time to eat happy and

  1. HUT-K

    (At the back of ISE Tower)

    Just like its name, this dhaba cum café is different in a sense of providing very economical, fresh and selected food items on its daily menu which alters every day for 5 weekdays along with a proper family seating ambiance. It’s been 3 months of its operation and already fills up to the full capacity within an hour of opening time. Their every day selected items menu, having a sole purpose to provide fresh food which sets few specialties like lobia (red kidney beans) and biryani costing only Rs. 130 to 200 with an appetite filling serving and great service.




The dhaba also provides delivery service too in nearby areas which gives a choice to those office workers or hostilities to book a package for monthly economical food service. The café is initiated to rebuild a mindset from being a smoker’s hub to a family and friends place.

  1. Karachi Food Centre

(Blue Area, China Chowk)


The word Lavish dhaba perfectly sets over this café as its setup is not like café or khokha but a roadside hotel with open seating, this dhaba’s specialty is Koftay costing only Rs. 80 (Rs. 160 full plate). Menu’s expensive item is Chicken jalfrezi costing Rs. 170 and cheapest is sabzi, daal lobia costing Rs. 60 (half plate Rs. 40) with salad and raita.

The happiest moment is when I found out they serve complimentary zarda which is perfectly sweet.  So a half plate kofta accompanied by roti, salad, raita and complimentary zarda, all in only Rs. 90.

  1. Jungle Spot

(At the start of Pir Sohawa Road)

This spot is known as ‘Jungle Spot’ not only because it’s located in at Margalla side but because of the monkey’s wandering openly giving a feel of a jungle. It has been a few years of its operation where a khokha provides basic tea accompanying items and wooden seating with a shelter providing a hut feel. Their pakoras and samosas best compliment a rainy weather and main course includes only a chicken roast, although charges are average not very less, but the experience between greenery of Margalla is worth it.

  1. F-10 Chicken Paratha

(At the front of Bonanza F-10 branch)

A dhaba spot that provides chicken parathas to compliment your desi appetite in only Rs. 120, it also offers milkshakes, tea, parathas, and shawarmas with a small two seats with a bench open-air seating around it. If you are planning to make a visit, make sure you place an order half an hour before to avoid waiting as they don’t have a proper staff but one cook and one or two service boys. It stands out for their chutneys with parathas which makes hard to finish up a single serving in less than Rs. 130.

  1. Daal Paratha

(At the back of Al-Mustafa Towers, Islamabad)

A small dhaba accompanied by a khokha with no proper seating and only daal sabzi with roti or paratha plus anda paratha nashta. It has got its name for economical and delicious daal paratha costing Rs. 80 to 120. Its known as cozy weather spot mostly fills with the demand of chai paratha in rainy winters.

Did we miss out a spot? Let us know!

Maria Sherazi

"A girl of 21, balancing life through food therapy, 5 feet 6-inch live calorie calculator who believes healthy is classic and knows the economics of meeting maximum desires of food with a limited budget."