Note: An updated list of the Best Pakistani restaurants outside Pakistan is now available here.
Here at ATP we like talking about food. Especially Pakistani food (on chai here, on ganderi here, here, on aam here and on omletes here). The start of Ramzan, fasting and feasting, seems to be as good a time as any to talk more about food.
Soon after this blog was first launched we did a post (1 July, 2006) asking our readers to nominate places where they thought one could get the Best Pakistani food Outside of Pakistan. Over the last 12 weeks or so, the post has got some – but not too many – responses. But, interestingly, it remains one of our most consistently visited posts, especially through Internet searches. My guess is that while people are unwilling, or unable, to suggest good places to eat Pakistani food outside Pakistan, they are very eager to find what others suggest.
It is time to tabulate results and do a second installment.
The purpose of this post is (a) to again invite our readers, especially newer ones, to suggest good places for Pakistani food outside Pakistan (especially if you happen to be outside of USA but not in Pakistan); and (b) to consolidate the list that has evolved in the comments section of our first post. This is labelled version 0.01 partly because we hope to have future versions released, and partly because our level of confidence in this is fairly scanty because we know from personal experience that there is much more out there than is reflected in this list.So, based largely on the comments on the first post, but also on my own (wide-waistline) experience, here is a first cut at a list of restaurants (Pinglish = ‘hotels’) outside Pakistan where one might get good (sometimes, great) Pakistani food. We will start with the US, where we did get some fairly specific suggestions.
United States of America (USA)
For variety alone, nothing can come close to Devon Street (Pinglish = ‘Diwaan’) in Chicago. However, great culinary treasures are also to be found in in Dallas and in the San Francisco Bay Area. At least according to those who responded in the first round, the New York / New Jersey belt has a lot of Pakistani food, but not the best Pakistani food to offer. Here are some specific suggestions from our readers:
Best of the Best:
Sabri Nihari (Devon, Chicago) for nihari
Usmania (Devon, Chicago), for paya and kabab
Lahore Grill (Devon, Chicago) for chargha
Al-Markaz (Richardson, Dallas) for bihari kabab
Kabob King (Jackson Hieghts, New York) for seekh kabab
Roti Boti (Jackson Hieghts, New York) for desi fish
Food Factory (Washington DC), for tikka
The Pakistani Cuisine (Manhattan, New York), for karahi
Agha’s Juice (Carrollton, Dallas) for gola
Royal Sweets (Carrollton, Dallas) for mithai
Mirch Cafe (Freemont, San Francisco) for mithai
Kabab Palace (Washington DC) for kabab
Unfortunately, from elsewhere in the world, the suggestions we got in the first round were less specific. I know from personal experience that there is a lot of great Pakistani food to be found in Canada, in the UK, all over Europe and in the Far East. I am hoping we will get more specific suggestions in the second round.
Toronto has a large Pakistani population and many Pakistani restaurants; especially in Gerrard Street (Toronto’s mini-Devon). Our readers suggest Lasani, Iqbal Tikka House and Lahore Tikka House (which, we are told, is actually owned by a Lahori!
Some readers lament that there are lots of ‘desi’ restaurants in the UK, especially London, but not too many real ‘Pakistani’ ones. Amongst the exceptions that have been suggested are: Mirch Masala (branches in Tooting and in Streatham) and the very highly recommended Salloo’s in Knightsbridge.
We are told that in Kuala Lumpur there is a small dhaaba called Pakeeza (off Federal Highway in Petaling Jaya). “The Lahori chef there will cook things ‘desi style’ if you ask him to and will even do paaya and nehari on request in advance.” In Singapore, there is Saffron (in Clark Quay).
So, that is it for now. We hope to hear your views on these and of any others you would add. Especially outside of the United States.