Although Lahore is known for its beautiful gardens, hospitable people and, most importantly, flavorsome food, Karachi is equally famous for its delectable culinary fare. In fact, some might even argue it’s far better, but that’s another debate for another time. You will find a number of dhabas, tea shops, food joints and road side eateries that are popular among Karachiites. Here are the 10 best desi restaurants in Karachi that are known for their signature recipes and are almost always crowded.
Top 10 Local Food Restaurants In Karachi
Whether you’re looking for scrumptious nihari or a pick-me-up gola ganda treat, desi restaurants in Karachi have it. Have a look at some of the most popular ones below:
- Javed Nihari
- Waheed Kabab House
- Special Memoni Curry Khausay
- Doharji Gola
- Quetta Alamgir Hotel
- Burns Road Food Street
- Boat Basin Karachi
- Chullu Kabab Sistani
- Bar.BQ Tonight
Let’s now have a closer look at each of these restaurants below:
1. Javed Nihari House
Nihari is the lifeline of Karachiites. Such is the love for this slow-cooked spicy stew that a slight mention of this dish makes your mouth water. There are many nihari outlets in Karachi among which Javed Nihari house is a notable one. Located in Federal B. Area, which is a popular housing area of Karachi, Javed Nihari House is easily accessible and is the best place to eat nihari in Karachi. It is a plate full of aromatic stew topped with a good amount of clarified butter (ghee), some spices, green chillies and ginger. Enjoy this plate of goodness with oven fresh naan. People say if you truly want to savour the taste you must dine in. The price per plate single nihari is around PKR 140. You won’t be surprised to see a long queue. The restaurant also offers nihari packed in tins. So, if you want to send nihari to your loved one living abroad, get in touch with Javed Nihari House.
Location: Federal B Area Block 15 Gulberg Town
Timings: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM Break: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Contact: 0335 2166161
2. Waheed Kabab House
When exploring good places to eat kabab in Karachi, you will always find Waheed Kabab House on top of the list. Since 1961, as they claim, “they are delivering traditional Delhi wala taste” in the city. Located on main Burns Road food street, it is famous for its Beef Fry Kebab. If you have it once, you would crave for more. It is basically a grilled seekh kabab taken out from skewers and then fried in butter. People come from far off areas to try this lip-smacking dish, which can cost around PKR 130 per plate. They also offer some of the best desi food items besides grilled food, like karhai, qorma etc. For those searching for restaurants in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, there is good news. Waheed Kabab House are also opening up their branch in Block – 4, Gulshan-e-Iqbal on 24th May 2019.
Location: Sunehri Masjid, Main Burns Road, Near، Burns Road, Karachi, Karachi City, Sindh
FL- 5/6, Block #4, Mushkan Chorangi, Gulshan-E-Iqbal, Karachi.
Timings: Opens till 12:00 AM
Contact: (021) 32639388, 0322 2244932
3. Special Memoni Curry Khausa
Khow suey, or khausay or khausa, is a mouth-watering Myanmarese dish. Gulf News once referred to it as ‘a tale of two cities – Yangon and Karachi.’ Members belonging to the memon community went to Myanmar and brought back their own version of this Myanmarese delicacy. The dish is served with egg noodles in coconut curry topped with crispy beef or chicken and various condiments. And if you’re looking for restaurants in Karachi that serve the best khow suey, Special Memoni Curry Khusay is the place to go.
A small serving is available for PKR 130, half for PKR 200 and a full plate can cost around PKR 350.
Location: Dhoraji, near Rangoonwala Hall
Timings: All day
Contact: 0321 2480445
4. Dhoraji Gola
This is not exactly a desi restaurant in Karachi; it’s more a food street that serves one of the most popular local desserts. Residents living in Dhoraji are the luckiest as not only do they have access to nearest food points, but they can also go to any of the restaurants in Sindhi Muslim Society. Dhoraji Gola is one of the most popular gola ganda in the area. It is essentially shaved ice soaked in sugar syrups, topped with sliced pineapple, condensed milk, nuts and chocolate sauce. People love every bit of it and keep wanting more of this “Dhoraji ka famous gola.” Price depends on the stall. A single serving of gola ganda can cost from PKR 50 to PKR 150.
Location: Dhoraji Colony
Timings: From evening till late at night
5. Aalamgir Parathay
So, you wake up on a Sunday and you feel lazy getting out of bed and preparing brunch for the family. The next thing you know is you are heading to one of the best desi breakfast places in Karachi – Quetta Alamgir Hotel. They have the best lacchay dar paratha with three options to choose from: 1. Omelette 2. Cream 3. Chholay. Since Karachiites are food lovers, they don’t mind extra fat dripping from delicious parathas. Therefore, they usually add more cream to the flatbread that is made in ghee. The key to digesting this heavy meal is to have a karak doodh patti right after it. A combination of two parathas and one cup of chai can cost around PKR 100.
Timings: 6:15AM to 2AM
Contact: @QuettaAlamgir on Facebook
6. Burns Road – a pioneer in food streets in Karachi
In terms of desi food in Karachi, there’s nothing that you can’t find on Burns Road food street. Interestingly, Burns Road derived its name from a British doctor who was a spy, named James Burnes. Burns Road was once the center of all political changes in the country. Now, it is one of the most loved food streets of Karachi. Foreign tourists and local people visiting Karachi especially visit Burns Road as it is home to some of the indisputably best desi restaurants in Karachi. If you’re visiting Burns Road, make sure to drop by Mazedar Haleem, Delhi Rabri House and Waheed Kabab House.
Location: Main Burns Road, Saddar Town Karachi
Timings: Opens after 11 AM
7. Boat Basin Breakfast
Boat Basin is located within the upscale housing area of Clifton. It is dotted with a number of well-known desi restaurants in Karachi. An amazing food street in Karachi, Boat Basin is known for its breakfast. It is a common practice among most people living in Clifton to head on to Boat Basin on a Sunday for an exquisite nashta. The restaurants here serve a wide range of fried flatbread, including aloo cheese paratha, chicken paratha, mutton cheese paratha and what not. Prices are fairly reasonable. A traditional aloo paratha costs only PKR 130. A cheese filled paratha is available for PKR. One serving of chicken cheese paratha is for PKR 310 and if you’re planning to go all out on carbs, then check out Boat Basin’s mutton cheese paratha, which can cost around PKR 810.
Location: Plot # FL-18, Boat Basin, Clifton 5, Karachi
Timings: Each restaurant in the area has different timings. Boat Basin is more or less operational 24/7
Contact: 0300 24 18 786, 0300 20 08 690, 0332 24 18 786
8. Chullu Kabab Sistani restaurant
You don’t need to travel all the way to Iran to try out one of the famous Iranian delicacies – Chullu Kabab. You can enjoy one of the best kababs in town in the heart of Saddar Karachi. They serve hot barbecued kabab with rice, dollop of butter on top, and a grilled tomato. If you are searching for good places to eat kabab in Karachi, head over to Chullu Kabab Sistani and you will not be disappointed. This is one of the best desi restaurants in Karachi that will cost you under PKR 1000 in which two persons can easily have a filling meal.
Location: Dr Daud Pota Rd, Karachi Cantonment Karachi, Karachi City
Timings: 9 AM to 12 AM
Contact: 0300 8277731
9. Bar.BQ Tonight
If you happen to live in Clifton Karachi, then you must have already visited Bar. BQ Tonight. However, if you’re a visitor who wants to enjoy local cuisine in K-Town, then you ought to know Bar. BQ Tonight has consistently remained one of the best desi restaurants in Clifton, for decades. Established in 1988, it is known as one of the most popular and oldest eateries in Karachi. It is known for desi BBQ food items in Karachi such as BBQ Mutton Ribs, Malai Tikka and Reshmi Kababs, which can cost around PKR 1600, PKR 750 and PKR 600, respectively.
The best part is after visiting Bar.BQ Tonight, you can even drop by the Sea View beach, which is only a 5-minute drive from the restaurant.
Location: Near Bilawal Chowrangi, Block 5 Clifton
Timings: 1 PM to 1 AM the entire week (It is, however, suggested to call first since timings are subject to change)
Contact: (021) 111 227 111
10. Kolachi restaurant
Kolachi restaurant at Do Darya is known for its beautiful setting against the backdrop of the sea. Another plus point is that you get to have some of the most amazing handi and sajji in town, and that too, yes, facing the sea. From sajji, chicken reshmi handi to cheese naan this place has it all. On weekends, people clamour to get a seat at this most coveted restaurant. It’s usually quite crowded, so make sure you either make a reservation or arrive early.
Location: Sea View Rd, D.H.A. Phase 8 Zone C Phase 8 Defence Housing Authority
Timings: 4 PM till late at night
So, this was our pick of the finest restaurants in Karachi where you can try finger licking good desi dishes and a hearty meal. You can also check out the best desi food restaurants in Lahore, in case you’re a reader living or visiting the beloved city of gardens. For more updates regarding, food and lifestyle stay tuned to the best lifestyle blog in Pakistan.
*Images used in the blog have been taken from the Official Facebook pages of Javed Nihari, Waheed Kabab House, Dhoraji Uncle Gola, Kolachi restaurant, BBQ Tonight restaurant, Chullu Kabab Sistani, Boat Basin and Special Memoni Curry Khausay