ATP’s Best Pakistani Food Outside Pakistan – v0.01

Posted on September 24, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Food, Pakistanis Abroad
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Adil Najam

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.

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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:

Tahoora Sweets (Chicago) for mithai and meetha
(Bay Area, San Francisco) for chicken tikka
Bar B Q Tonight
(Carrollton, Dallas) for nihari
Ravi Kabab (Washington DC) for chicken karahi

Highly Recommended:

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!

United Kingdom
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.

Far East
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.

86 responses to “ATP’s Best Pakistani Food Outside Pakistan – v0.01”

  1. Jacob S Noah says:

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  2. Ram says:

    I live in New Jersey, and yes, it’s a shame there’s no Pakistani restaurant here. The one in Edison is a poor apology for any cuisine. We have a small hole-in-the-wall joint+halal meat shop in Franklin, near Princeton where I live, but it’s the standard curry-in-a-hurry type run by Bangladeshis. I’m waiting for the day things will cool down and one can travel the length and breadth of Pakistan & Afghanistan on a culinary adventure. Hopefully, it will be in my lifetime.

    I went to Mumbai recently and discovered Bukhara at the ITC Maratha Grand Sheraton. Excellent! Pricier than the eternal Bade Mian (on the street, only at night, behind Taj Palace) but perhaps one of the best in the country. But then, which self-respecting Pakistani would hunt for Pakistani cuisine in India, eh?! (Rather than look for dosa & idli).

  3. Himayun Mirza says:

    Last year I went to the second largest city of Malaysia called Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah province. Obviously I was looking for a nice desi place to eat. Most of the local and Indian restaurants there have some sugar in their meat dishes even though they are spicy. I do not like any hint of sugar in my meat dishes.

    However, I found a wonderful restaurant with the best naans I ever ate in my life. They had piping hot naan coming out of the oven and we could order from simple to garlic to cheese naan. The whole lunch can be as cheap as $1 to 2. Yes this is not a misprint!

    Initially I was afraid to go to a place called “Taliban Food Center” but the rave reviews and the desire to eat desi food got the better of me.

    If any of you ever go to Brunei then Kota Kinabalu is only a 3-4 hours ferry ride. Or visit Borneo Penensula of Malaysia please check this out. You cannot find better food in this price even in Pakistan and India.

    BTW, Its name has nothing to do with Pakistan or Afghanistan let alone Taliban. Go figure! Check these pictures and the prices. One USD is more than 3.6 Malaysian Ringet. ood-Centre

  4. quang_ming says:

    I would delete Saffron from your comment relating to Singapore because it is not (and doesn’t claim to be) Pakistani but certainly serves good North Indian food. The one place (believe it’s the only place) for authentic Pakistani food is a dhaaba by the name of Usman Restaurant located just off Serangoon Road in Little India. Serves excellent nehari, haleem and taazi naan (hard to find in Singapore!).

  5. juicy says:

    In Paris…..classic interior, nice location near la fayette…. restaurant et bilal.they also have a branch near the eiffel tower. it was eid the day we dined in there and belive me we have never been given a free welcome drink and kulfi in our country but pakistani hotels outside pakistan maintain our values and culture.

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