We are what we eat? Hopefully, not entirely. But certainly in part.
One of the first posts (1 July, 2006) on this blog to get a healthy reader response was about food. We asked our readers to nominate places where they thought one could get the Best Pakistani food Outside of Pakistan. Nearly two years ago now (September 24, 2006) we compiled some of the ideas our readers had given us to create our v0.01 list. It is past time now to update this list. So, here is our next iteration at a list of some of the Best Pakistani Food Outside Pakistan.
To repeat from the last post on this subject, 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 last two post (here and here).Here, then, is our second cut at a list of restaurants (Pinglish = â€˜hotelsâ€™) outside Pakistan where one might get good (sometimes, great) Pakistani food. In building this list we started from the last list and then added and embelished it based on the comments that were received on it. We start with USA and UK, from where we received the most detailed response.
United States of America (USA) For variety as well as authenticity Devon Street (Pinglish = ‘Diwaan’) in Chicago remains the yardstick of the Pakistani food experience in North America. 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 here, the New York / New Jersey belt has a lot of Pakistani food, but not the best Pakistani food to offer. Please tell us if this is wrong, and also tell us who you would add here. Many places, however, are like Boston; an occasional Pakistani eatery opens, but then disappears for lack of patrons or bad management. Here are some specific suggestions from our readers:
Best of the Best:
Tahoora Sweets (Chicago, IL) for mithai and meetha
Bar B Q Tonight (Carrollton, Dallas, TX) for nihari
Ravi Kabab (Washington DC) for chicken karahi
Shalimar (Edison, NJ) for chapli kebab
Ghareeb Nawaz (Devon, Chicago, IL) for chicken biryani
Sabri Nihari (Devon, Chicago, IL) for nihari
Usmania (Devon, Chicago, IL), for paya and kabab
Lahore Grill (Devon, Chicago, IL) for chargha
Shahnawaz Restaurant (Oaktree Rd., NJ) for kabab
Al-Markaz (Richardson, Dallas, TX) for bihari kabab
Kabob King (Jackson Hieghts, New York, NY) for seekh kabab
Roti Boti (Astoria Blvd. and Jackson Hieghts, New York, NY) for desi fish
Food Factory (Washington DC), for tikka
King Sweets (Chicago, IL) for kashmiri chai
Agha’s Juice (Carrollton, Dallas, TX) for gola
Royal Sweets (Carrollton, Dallas, TX) for mithai
Royal Sweets (Devion, Chicago, IL) for peetisa
Shalimar (Bay Area, San Francisco, CA) for chicken tikka
Kebabeesh (New York, NY) for seekh kabab
Haveli (Dallas, TX) for chargha
Abshaar Restaurant (Washington, DC) for bihari kabab
Bilal Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)
Medina Market Cafe (Brighton, Boston, MA) for tikka
Ambala Sweets (Chicago, IL) for mithai
Pakwan Restaurant (Hayward, CA), for bihari kababs
Haandi (Lexington Ave, New York, NY), for parathas
The Pakistani Cuisine (Manhattan, NY), for karahi
Shirin Mahal (New York, NY) for rass-malai
Shehzan Restaurant (Edison., NJ) for tikka
Mirchi Cafe (Freemont, San Francisco, CA) for desi Chinese
Kalonji (Long Island, NY) for desi Chinese
Lahore Karahi (San Francisco, CA) for karahi
Kabab Palace (Washington DC) for kabab\
Bundu Khan (Houston, TX) for kabab
Khan Kabob House (Monterey, CA) for biryani
Shahnawaz Tandori (Lakewood, Los Angeles, CA) for tandori
Kabab and Tandoor (Waltham, MA) for seekh kabob
Boston Kabab and Pizza (Alston, MA) for desi pizza
Chutney Restaurant (Northern Virginia)
Some readers lament that there are lots of ‘desi’ restaurants in the UK, especially London, but not too many real ‘Pakistani’ ones. However, other readers point out that there is both quantity and quality to be found. In and around London, of course, you find lots and lots of Pakistani places. But as you will see from the list below, good Pakistani food is to be had all over the country. Green Street in East London is the mini-Pakistan and full of “All Things Pakistani” we are told. High Street and Hoe Street in Walthamstow in East London and Ilford Lane in Ilford in the North East also have great concentrations of Pakistani khabba. Here are some specific suggestions from our readers:
Best of the Best:
Sahara Grill (Leyton, London)
Lahore Lahore eh (East Ham, East London)
Kebabish (Victoria Road, Glasgow)
Village Curry House (Tradeston, Glasgow)
Chowdreys Restaurant (Bradford) was reccoended by the restaurant management itself; has impressive website, we await customer reviews
We have a better coverage from the rest of the world this time around, but still nowhere near the in-depth reviews that we got from USA and the UK. I know from personal experience that there is a lot of great Pakistani food to be found in Canada, all over Europe and in the Far East. It remains a matter of surprise for me that despite having a readership in these areas we do not get more suggestions from our readers on where to eat Pakistani food in these countries. I am hoping we will get more specific suggestions in the second round.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of Pakitani restaurants in Saudi Arabia. Some of the specific ones suggested include:
Hyatt Restaurant (Hara, Riyadh) for chicken karra massala
Shola Restaurant (Olaya, Riyadh) for nihari
Red Onion Restaurant (Olaya, Riyadh) for aachari chicken
Faran Restaurant (Hara, Riyadh) for pillao and daal
Alhamra Restaurant (Hara, Riyadh) for chicken tikka and daal
Lahori Khabay (Hara, Riyadh) for tikka
Toronto has a large Pakistani population and many Pakistani restaurants; especially in Gerrard Street (Toronto’s mini-Devon). Our readers suggest Iqbal Tikka House, Lasani, and Lahore Tikka House (which, we are told, is actually owned by a Lahori!). Eqbal Foods in Thorncliffe, downtown Toronto is also highly recommended.
A reader reports that there is only one Pakistani restaurant in the entire country, called Peshawar. The review of the food was less than complimentary.
One Pakistani restaurant in Tokyo that was recommended is Gandhara Restaurant which is an upscale place. There is also the Hunza Restaurant in Roppongi, Tokyo.
One reader reports of an excellent Pakistani restaurant called Dheeba in Munich, run by a Rawalpindi native, that is particularly recommended for its korma. Another reader suggests Mumtaz Mahal Restaurant in Heidelberg.
We are told that in Paris there is a whole street full of Pakistani and Indian cuisine called Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. However, we have not gotten any specific reviews from here yet although one reader remembers a “no-name” dhabba that served exquisite karahi. What we do have is news of two Pakistani restaurants in Lyon in south France, Le Ravi and Le Karachi, reportedly these are famous for their tandori dishes.
One reader review found the Pakistani food at Global Foods (Davis Street, Dublin) to be “superb.” Two other Dublin restaurants that have been recommended are Khyber Tandori and Medina (the first, we are told is pricey and the second affordable).
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, Usman Restaurant at Serangood Road near Mustafa Shopping Mall, and Daawat at the SIngapore Expo Center..
One should also add the disclaimer that we have ourselves not been at most of these (though we have been at some) and this list is based on reader comments (if you think the list is wrong, leave us comments and we will try to incorporate them next time).
This list is labeled version 0.10 (the last one was version 0.01) because we think we do have a better data set to build this on than last time, but it is still very much a work in progress and our level of confidence in this remains scanty because we know from personal experience that there is much more out there than is reflected in this list. Also, in some cases it is difficult to tell whether people are only reporting on what eateries there are or whether they are determining which ones are the best.
Our thanks to everyone who has sent the comments that have gone into the list. And may we request you all to please help us refine it further.