Islamabad: full of food surprises

Amina Baig

ISLAMABAD : Islamabad, of course, boasts certain cuisines other places in the country don’t. They’ve got authentic Afghani cuisine, really good Hunzai and Kashmiri cuisines, and kind of rule at the whole French frygame. The city’s also had quite decent upscale restaurants over the decades, though if you’re eating out, or in, in Islamabad, you may as well go for more regional fare.

That said, if you’re frequently in the city, firstly, congrats beautiful, and secondly, you’ve tried everything that’s novel and maybe fancy a quiet/not-quiet night in. Fair enough. There is something for you too, a phone call away, or on an app on your phone.

Here are a few places you must order from when you’re in Islamabad next:


Feeling peckish, but also kind of could-eat-everything hungry? We’ve learnt that while most desi cuisine as well as ghar ka khana is what you need, the sweet spot can be found with a nice shawarma. You can eat it in its paper wrapping, so no utensils needed, but you’re still eating a roti-like bread, filled with yummy meat and veg bits that are not curry.

Al-Beirut in Islamabad offers plenty of options, as well as grilled kebabs and skewers, which are perfectly seasoned and cooked. Recommended snack for days you’ve partied a little too much.

What A Paratha!

Okay, so apart from the parathas, you will also find juicy rolls and wraps at What A Paratha!, as well as some of the best French toast in the country*, just take our word for it.

*Except for maybe your mom’s French toast, but it comes pretty close.

Pizza Originale

Last, but not least: pizza. Pizza is standard on-the-go, casual food, and almost everyone’s had good pizza by now. Save for their crust, which becomes tough after sitting around for over an hour, Pizza Originale does not disappoint when it comes to toppings and sauces. Try their Pesto & Garlic pizza for something flavorful but not overbearing, and Tomatoes and Chicken for a little kick. Fortunately, any time we’ve ordered Pizza Originale, the pies are polished off before the crust has a chance to become too chewy.

Cheema & Chattha

Don’t shoot the messenger (or the opinion-holder), we didn’t think it could be done, but Cheema & Chattha do a better handi/karahi than BBQ Tonite as well as Kolachi, and we know those are the gold standard for chain desi restaurants. A-plus. Would order again and again if we lived anywhere near.