Cafe Gracias Review by Farah S Kamal
Cafe Gracias, a gorgeous new restaurant serving Mexican and Spanish cuisine, is a warm and welcome addition to Karachi’s fine dining scene.
The eatery is run by sisters Sidrah and Hifza, whose love for cooking and Spanish culture resulted in this restaurant. Hifza, quit her job as a software engineer in the corporate world after three years to follow her dreams of opening a restaurant and now runs the place full-time.
One of the things I instantly loved about this place was the refreshing decor and ambiance; a brightly colored and decorated space with beautiful wall murals and hanging square lamps. Each lamp shade bore a screen print on each side, which displayed imitations of Da Vinci or Michael Angelo.
Located on Badar Commercial in the Defence Housing Authority area, Gracias is among the rare eateries in Karachi that serves authentic Mexican food. Their menu offers a mouthwatering selection of red meat, poultry and seafood entrees’ cooked the Spanish, Mexican and Italian way.
Their appetizers and salads will surely tantalize your taste buds before you can devour the main course. My picks were the nachos and bruschetta; the crunchy nachos were moderately spicy and were served with salsa and sour cream, but can be improved if more toppings are added. The food is not very spicy, but enough to appeal to the Pakistani palate.
Cafe Gracias’ signature dishes include tacos, burritos and enchiladas, available in both beef and chicken filling, loaded with beans, cheese, chilies and topped with salsa and jalapenos – all ready to be dipped into sour cream and savored!
The menu also includes a sumptuous selection of sea food, including crispy fried calamari, grilled fish with tamarind sauce and crispy fish fillet. The restaurant uses fresh red snapper in both these specialty dishes. They also serve a variety of juicy prime cut steaks, cooked to perfection and topped with great sauces and sides.
I was a little disappointed to see that the menu is a little weak when it comes to sandwiches with only three sandwich entrees and no burgers. But the owners revealed that burgers as well as tapas and pella would be included in the menu in the future.
Among the beverages, the Red Lady cocktail was a pleasant surprise – cool, refreshing and a perfect blend of beetroot, banana and lemon. My next favorite on their list is the cucumber and mint lemonade, followed by the sweet mixed-fruit punch. Gracias also offers freshly squeezed juice of seasonal fruits.
When it came to dessert, the fried ice cream turned out to be an explosion of textures and flavours, a downright treat for one with a sweet tooth. Having said that, the choice of desserts is currently limited to only three. Hopefully, as the restaurant picks up, the selection will improve.
Overall, I had a pleasant experience at the new joint; with soft Spanish music playing in the background, an ordinary lunch or dinner can become a memorable gastronomic experience at Cafe Gracias.