All the cities are defined by its food. Just like you cannot think Philadelphia without a Philly cheese steak or New York without a cheese pizza.
When it is about Pakistan, Quetta is famous for its sajji, Lahore for fried fish, and Peshawar for karhai. Whereas, Karachi – the city of lights, is a hub for all the cuisines whether its Desi, Arabic, Labanese, Chinese, Indian etc; the metropolitan city is a blend of all the cultures and flavors from all over the country and outside.
Although, it’s a gigantic task to limit food guide of the city to simply a few items, but after receiving numerous requests to compile a list of ‘must-eat’ things in Karachi, we’ve have managed to do just that.
Whether it’s about driving to Dhoraji for a gola ganda or enjoying a crispy papaar and chaat at Sea View or other food spots, Karachi has many food stops every tourist must make.
For the sake of focus, desserts, biryani and Nihari spots have been left out as there are too many restaurants in Karachi offering a high quality of both.
The list is an honest attempt to encapsulate the variety of food offered in the city. So, let’s start with the hope that the list will help you experience Karachi through its food, and fall in love with it.
10) Xander’s – Pepperoni Pizza
Pizza is Karachi’s one of the most preferred and favorite food. Do you remember the long lines outside Pizza Hut Boat Basin post mid-night and waiting for a table outside the Tariq Road Kings N Queens? However, the proliferation of pizza joints in the recent years has offered much different tastes and combinations.
Xander’s is on top of most Karachiites’ list for its quality and consistency. It is almost impossible to get a table at this café on the weekend; you can order variety of food from their menu and go home satisfied. Not only it has the best Chicken Caesar salad in town, it also makes the best Pepperoni Pizza in town.
Special mention: Famous O’s Pizza
9) Meerath Kabab House – Chicken Behari Tikka
Before the roll hustling bustling Karachi, the more classic tikka paratha combination used to dominate the city. Most Karachiites are a huge fan of the classic combination.
A recommendation for the foodies is a drive to Meerath Kabab House at Gurumander. The original restaurant now has numerous off shoots all over the city but its chicken behari tikka is still the king.
It is made more with green chillis rather than the red traditional chicken tikka. Chicken behari tends to be tenderer too. The Meerath variation melts in your mouth and you can almost feel the city on your taste buds.
Special mention: Classic Bundoo Khan Chicken Tikka.
8) Kundun Broast – Quarter Broast
Kundun Broast on main Karsaz offers a perfectly crispy chicken served with both white and red chutney. A crispy piece of broast dipped in fiery red chutney makes it a completely different beast altogether.
Special mentions: Karachi Broast (Boat Basin) and Jans Broast (Saddar)
7) Hot N Spicy Chicken Chutney Roll
If you’re full hungry, there is one food that will definitely come to your mind, it is the chicken roll; quick, convenient and cheap.
Flame grilled tender boneless chicken tikka pieces tightly wrapped in a crisp paratha: The perfect food for a city constantly on the move.
Hot N Spicy and Eaton were two of the first restaurants to make the yummy and tangy yogurt based sauce that is now a staple in most rolls. Both A-One and Eaton rolls in Phase II Defence market were favorites before Hot n Spicy became famous. The Hot N Spicy chutney is now a benchmark and as crucial to a Karachi roll as the paratha or the chicken. The eatery has now expanded to offer a numerous combinations with their rolls.
Special mention: Silver Spoon, Eaton and Red Apple.
6) Pantry – Gouda Burger
Mr. Burger might have introduced you to beef burgers in Karachi, but what makes the list of instant favorite is the burger at Pantry. Most burger joints in the city are not fully aware of the meat temperature. This is where Pantry swoops in to become the choice for the best burger in the city.
Do try their Gouda Cheeseburger as the sweetness of the cheese works really well with the medium cooked beef patty.
Special mention: The Classic Mr. Big at Mr. Burger.
5) Noorani – Katakat
Many karachiites simply associate katakat with Noorani Kabab House in Karachi. Located at the end of Khalid Bin Waleed Road on Shahrah-e-Quaideen, Noorani has experienced cooks who have been making this dish for decades.
This phenomenal desi food spot lets the customers select the kidneys, brains etc. to be mashed up in front of them into a plate of katakat. Thus, an amazing experience for all Foodies!
Special mention: Wimpy’s katakat.
4) Chicken Peshawari Karhai – Kolachi
The restaurant encapsulates the spirit of Karachi. Perfectly located by the seaside, Kolachi is by far the most famous restaurant in the city. No other restaurant sees more turnover daily as compare to this place.
The restaurant has left behind BBQ Tonight as the go-to place. The menu allows you to order anything at Kolachi and expect a high quality meal. It also takes its customer service very seriously and it is simply reflected in their staff.
Definitely recommend this spot! If you are looking for something closer to seaside than you should definitely go to Kolachi! Special shout out to the mutton chops and the paneer reshmi handi at Kolachi.
Special Mentions: Chicken handi at Usmania and Lasania Restaurants in Gulshan-e-Iqbal; Tooso in Bahadurabad; The nashta at Tooso is also something every Karachiite must try.
Ghaffar Kabab House – BBQ restaurant, located at Shaheed-e-Millat for years always amaze you by the food and standstill at every single night by the crowds.
Try their chicken malai boti. The creamy sauce to the tikka pieces uplifts the food to a completely new level. Whether you choose paratha, naan or simply on its own, the chicken malai boti at Ghaffar is a must have for any foodie.
Special mention: BBQ Tonight
2) Waheed Kabab House – Fry Kabab
It is impossible to forget Burns Road, when it comes to food! The Karachi haleem and the Food Centre biryani are both equally tempting but it would be sacrilegious to have a list of Karachi food without Waheed Kabab House.
It is a spot worth waiting half an hour to find a decent parking spot in the region. Try fry kabab, a plate of minced meat fried in oil may put off many calorie conscious people, but one drip of naan into the plate will make you forget your calorie intake.
Special mention: Jehangir Meerath beef seekh kababs; the Rizwan Kabab House dhaga kabab.
1) Al-Asif Afghani Boti
A number one that most people in Karachi may not even agree with; this is a dish, which is not Karachi but rather Afghani. All those who have had the pleasure of eating it will testify the inclusion in the list.
The absolute best thing to have at Sohrab Goth is the Afghani boti at Al-Asif. It might not be everyone’s choice, with a piece of fat in the middle of every seekh, but there are few greater joys for a foodie to sit at a takht on Sohrab Goth and eat the Afghani boti straight from the seekh.
Which one is your favorite place?Do let us know in the comments below.
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Also Read – The Top Steakhouses in Karachi
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