Do you love food? Have you ever felt your jaw swing open like a surprised, turned-on snake at the sight of a particularly fine culinary? Have you ever cracked your skull open on a coffee table in a dead faint after having been exposed to a gorgeous presentation of a meal? I’m doing all that all the time! Since it’s a very, very, very important part of my meal experience. I love food, to fall in love with a meal, it has to satiate me olfactorily, please me gustatorily and appeal to me visually. With time, I have been giving a lot of time in spotting the restaurants which top my list in all major cities of Pakistan. Following are my insights for Karachi, the harbour city.
1. Café Flo
Brainchild of Florence Rizvi, Café Flo was formerly located at the secretly confined Alliance Francaise De Karachi, off the teen talwar in Clifton. It moved to the ‘IT’ street, E Street, off 26th Street, couple of years back. Over the years, Café Flo has maintained its dignity and has not lost its prestige and value for its customer’s money. The taste is authentic, with quality ingredients used, and the dimly lit ambiance and slick hygiene sense; this is the place to be at all your special occasions. I flock to Flo whenever I have a foreigner in town or have to impress a client. I love almost everything at Flo but my personal recommendations would be, Tuna Carpaccio, Crepe Champs Elysees, BBQ Beef Undercut and Profiteroles.
Sakura, Pearl Continental is the best place for offering authentic Japanese food with great taste. The ambiance is great and quality of food is so high that you will praise the taste immediately after first bite. The customer service surpasses the expectation and the restaurant is located on rooftop of Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi, so the view is spectacular. Tip: Always ask for a table near the window when reserving. If not near the glass panes, then the best spot is right where the chef cooks your sushi, sashimi and tempura right in front of you. This is one thrilling experience!
3. Lal Qila
Lal Qila Karachi is the perfect blend of desi, Mughlai, Tandori and Live BBQ cuisines. It is located on main Shahrah-e-Faisal pretty close to the EOBI shopping mall, formerly Awami Markaz. Lal Qila is one of the most famous restaurants in Karachi as well as in Pakistan. Lal Qila serves over 90 diversified dishes and is an ISO certified restaurant, which pretty much speaks for its standards of, quality, hygiene and customer services. Lal Qila has satisfied its guests with quality of food and great customer service. Chefs at Lal Qila prepare food in front of guests so freshness is given extra care as customers can enjoy up to maximum level Lal Qila presents unforgettable and pleasurable dinner in fortress-like architecture. Reserve or get your food delivered via EatOye and avail 5% discount
Pompei is widely acknowledged as one of the finest restaurants in Pakistan and has been recognized as such multiple times in several mediums. Pompei is a fine dining restaurant in Karachi, with a focus on Italian cuisine. The restaurant started in 2004 with a modest capacity of 40 guests. In 2007 it relocated to much larger premises within the Shapes health-club compound in what used to historically be the old Railways Club. The new location brought with it an outdoor seating area overlooking the beautiful garden, a wood burning brick pizza oven and a much larger capacity of 120 guests. Pompei is open for lunch and dinner daily and also has a brunch menu on Sunday. Aside from the primary menu, there are specials which tend to change on a quarterly basis. A selection of imported meats and seafood are also on offer, alongside the signature thin crust brick oven pizzas. Pompei boasts of the fact that all desserts, ice cream and the range of breads are all proprietary recipes developed in-house and made fresh daily. Wherever possible fresh pasta is used instead of the dried store-bought variety and the required vegetable, meat and cheese items are imported bi-weekly from the UAE and Thailand.
5. Ginsoy – Extreme Chinese
Ginsoy restaurant is a beautiful, ornate restaurant with a brilliant interior that exudes class and elegance. It has a seating capacity of 70+ people at a time. Also the Ginsoy Extension, enables to capacitate another 80+ people and gives you the finest Chinese experience in a very pleasant ambiance with top quality food worth your time and money. Ginsoy gets the highest points amongst other Chinese restaurants for having every dish on the menu in single serving as well as a family serving. Tip: Single servings allow you to taste lot of dishes!
6. The Deli
The Deli restaurant aims at serving fresh and healthy cuisine. It specializes in oriental food, uses high quality ingredients, and is much touted for its filling and light on heart salads, soups and main entrees. The Deli is located quietly in a corner of the Zamzama Street and is quite, serene and calm. The waiters are helpful and very professional. The service is great and so is the value for money. Tip: Get 10% off on the bill if you reserve via EatOye.
7. Chairman Mao
Chairman Mao has grown to become one of the most popular choices for Home and Office Delivery. The menu has expanded from just Chinese to include Thai, Japanese and Sushi so as to provide its customers with a diverse choice of quality cuisine. The inspiration behind Chairman Mao was a lack of quality food & service being offered primarily on the delivery side in the Defence / Clifton Area at the time. The delivery box in which their food is sent in ensures that that it is piping hot when you receive it. With most of the ingredients flown in from abroad, it’s code-of-uniform for strict hygiene measures and a tight check to ensure that the food quality, Chairman Mao has maintained its standard. Tip: Reserve now via EatOye and get free entry into Port Grand.
Thyme serves Continental and Mediterranean cuisines with great ambiance and is usually pocket friendly, if ordered sensibly. The chef’s at Thyme amaze you on every visit, they work hard and keep on improving and presenting something different, stylish and delicious and love it when customers leave happy and satisfied at the end of their meals. I love their stuffed calamari with crab meat and risotto. Tip: Reserve now via EatOye and avail 30% discount.
9. China Town
A place that established the flavour for Chinese cuisine in Pakistan, this is a legendary place and is in dire need to get revamped but the food is authentic, the prawn balls melt in your mouth, the crab soup is aromatic and super tasty. The herbs used are genuinely exported from China and make the food smell great but also resonate throughout the restaurant. With a basement seating area and a ground level, this place is usually filled up with Chinese food lovers.
Remember the Okra of the late nineties, how it used to serve desi daal chawal with oomph, the bhindi in olive oil to go with it? Okra is fine dining and it has not stopped evolving all this time. It is rustic, elegant, wows you every time you step in and no doubt one of the best places to spend some great time with. Okra is known for its breads, the much loved qeema and its fresh ingredients. Only the down side or high side for some is, Okra does not allow kids and is too small and always full. This exclusive eatery had to be one of the top ones on our list.
Worth Mentioning: Fuchsia for its authentic Thai cuisine, Kolachi for its best depiction of taste and style of Karachites, BBQ Tonight for serving all through these years, Café Aylanto for its patio like seating and the most welcoming staff, Raj Rasoi for serving thali food at great prices – a heaven for vegetarians, Dynasty for the most aromatic Chinese food, China Kitchen for its affordability, Olivetto for maintaining quality, Suzie Wong for its live tempura and Chullu Kebab Subhani for surviving all these years and Chullu Kebab Subhani for serving purely delicious and authentic Iranian food for decades.