Karachi is a city that has been associated with Desi food since the time of the Mughals. Dishes like Murgh Noorjehani and Nargisi Kofta gained popularity in the subcontinent and their refined versions are still enjoyed today. But when a Karachiite is tired of eating all that oily, spicy and artery-clogging food, he turns to the other cuisines that his beautiful city has to offer.
From Chowmein, Katsu Chicken and the ever popular Manchurian, to Eggs Benedict, Risotto and Crespelles, Karachi has it all! However, when the time comes to order in or go out, most people can’t make up their minds; that’s where I come in!
If you are a fan of Lebanese Cuisine, then two of the most popular restaurants in K-town are Paramount and Manakeesh.
Paramount, which opened its doors to the Pakistani foodies 5 months ago, is the must-visit place where you will find good kebabs, drool worthy hummus and a refreshing salad. Their Arabic platter having Falafels and various kebabs served with Pita, Garlic sauce, tahini and Salad, is simply the best Arabic platter in the city right now. Even though it is a little pricey (Rs.3995+tax), 4-5 people can easily eat from it and possibly have a food coma afterwards!
Manakeesh is also a must when you are longing for some affordable yet scrumptious Lebanese comfort food. Their Gyro Beef rice, Gyro Roll, Chicken Doner Platter, 3 Cheese Pizza and Cheese Twister are to die for. The beef just melts in your mouth and the rice is aromatic and flavorful. The 3 Cheese Pizza and the Twister are light and cheesy being a treat for your taste buds. All in all, I highly recommend it!
If you are still not salivating, you definitely need a dose of Chinese. The city might be loaded with this cuisine, but I would recommend Ginsoy and Tai Pan mainly because of its menu, price, service and the quality of food.
Ginsoy has some amazing soups and starters that are surely going to whet your appetite. It also has those amazing prawn balls which don’t taste like those horrible processed ones that you find elsewhere. Their Mixed Chowmein with Beef, Chicken and Prawns is a favorite of mine. Additionally, it costs less than Rs.500 and a single serving can easily be divided into separate portions for Lunch and Dinner. In terms of flavor, it is subtly spicy and has that heat required to prevent the noodles from being bland. I adore their generosity with prawns in this dish!
Tai Pan, located in PC Hotel, is a more refined and high end Chinese restaurant. It has a sophisticated menu with pricier items. This tastefully decorated restaurant is surely going to satisfy you. My personal favorites include Stir Fried Seafood with Noodles which has perfectly cooked prawns and amazing glass noodles; these ingredients complement each other. The Cantonese Soya Chicken is also a definite try. The Soya flavor seeps well into the chicken making it succulent. The dish rates well in terms of its taste and serving size.
Another Hotel that brings foreign cuisines to Karachi on a temporary basis is Avari! With food festivals happening almost every month, you are surely going to have a good experience trying all those new (and difficult to pronounce) dishes. French, Chinese and Turkish Food Festivals held recently blew me away with those palatable dishes!