Karachi is the the commercial capital of Pakistan. It is home to most of the
country's Bank head offices and has a very active and dynamic feel in the air.
Its also very very busy - not quite Bombay or Cairo but busy enough! The city
has plenty of restaurants and places to go and shopping is very easy with plenty
of both bazaar style and modern style malls to be found. I personally found the
Park Towers in Clifton a nice shopping centre with a modern edge to it and has
good restaurants in the nearby Defence area. For a more bazaar experience,
notably with CD/Electronics I would suggest Rainbow Centre.
Do visit Pakistan, it will blow away any conceptions you may have over the
country from reading the western press and I, for one, have really enjoyed my
- Lal Qila, Shah Re-Faisl (10/A
MACHS, Shahrah e Faisal, Karachi 75350, T: 452 9493). This is the place the go
if you are in Karachi. Its a really great place but make sure you call in
advance and book!!! At least a few days early if you can! Basically, this is a
buffet restaurant serving lots of Mogul, Pakistani, Asian and a bit of
european cuisine. Obviously the Mogul and Pakistani dishes are the best and
make sure you leave room for the Khulfi desert (its specially good here). The
place is designed like a Mogul palace with Pakistani and and Muslim influences
and its a great place to try. Don't miss this place and make sure you visit.
upd: Dec 2004)
- BBQ Tonight, Karachi (T: <missing>). If you are after
grills, more grills and some kebabs - this is the place to be. Its a great
place, lots of indoor (i.e. air-conditioned) or outdoor seating and amazing
dishes. Word of caution, they do not accept any cards whatsoever - its a cash
only place. (last
upd: Dec 2004)
- Nawab, Mall Square, Zamzama Boulevard, DHA 5, Karachi (T: +92 21
586 2090). This is a great restaurant that also serves Mogul cuisine. The
restaurant is far more modern that the open air Lal Qila and offers a sound
place for quiet meetings. The restaurant is a franchise from the same Nawab
restaurant in Dubai (last
upd: March 2005)
- The Pakistani, Sheraton Hotel, Club Road, P.O. Box 3918 Karachi
75500 Pakistan. This is a full on Pakistani restaurant with the grill and
baking areas in full view behind a glass partition. The food is excellent in
my opinion however I am advised that there is better in town (so yet more
places for me to discover). Another nice touch here is the live traditional
music and dancing they put on every night. On costs, this is a very expensive
restaurant - especially by local standards - but still worth it if you are
staying at the Sheraton and don't want to hit the town (and the heat by going
upd: March 2005)
- MELA, Shah Re-Faisl (untested)
- Cafe Zouk, Plot #27/C, Khayaban-E-Shamsher, Phase V, DHA,
Karachi (T: +92 21 585 6491; F: +92 21 585 6815). Very modern restaurant,
very much an upmarket younger crowd and a menu/atmosphere to match. They
server an international variety of food most of which comes with a little 'Zouk'
twist to make it more spicy. Almost every type of disk served from pastas to
rice to steaks.
upd: July 2004)
- Copper Kettle Cafe, Mall Square, Zamzama 1, Phase V, DHA,
Karachi (T: +92 21 587 8886, 583 8659; F: +92 21 587 8887;
Another great international cuisine with a unique menu style (puns everywhere
around the menu which changes every now and then). A full mix of different
foods with "Friendwiches" and steaks and rice dishes all the way t burgers.
Their fries are a particular specialty which were excellent.
- Arizona Grill, Zamzama, Phase V, DHA, Karachi. If you want
Grill steaks, this is as good a place to be as any. Very lively atmosphere and
great fun. Menu offers alternatives to steaks too if you're that way inclined.
- Pompei, Shapes Health Club, Compound Old Railway Club, 139
McNiel Road, Cantt, Karachi (T: +92 21 521 4684 / 521 9657, C: +92 345
2056410). Excellent Italian restaurant set in a nice old school
upd: Nov 2011)
- Limoncello, 14-C Lane 7, Zamzama, D.H.A. Phase 5 (T: 021 536
0945; Email). This is an excellent, cosy Italian restaurant. Don't forget to
think 'off the menu' if you feel like it. Umar Sheikh (the chef and owner) would
relish the opportunity to delight you. Highly recommended.(last upd:
- Kabab-ji Lebanese Restaurant, Sheraton Hotel, Club Road, P.O.
Box 3918 Karachi 75500 Pakistan. A little disappointing to be fair. The
service was good but the food let down by the quality of the ingredients and
Marriott Hotel, 9 Abdullah Haroon Road Karachi (T: +92 21 568 0111; F:
+92 21 5680981). This is by far my preferred hotel in Karachi. It has wireless
internet access from most of the public areas and broadband access in the room
and serves up a good range of restaurants for all price levels. It also does
not deny Marriott Rewards like the Sheraton does. In my opinion, the best
place to stay in Karachi. Private lounge is also available however no printer
is available in the room.
- Sheraton Hotel and Towers,
Club Road, P.O. Box 3918 Karachi 75500 Pakistan, (Tel: +92 21 568 1021;
Fax: +92 21 568 2875). This is probably one of the best hotels in town.
The standard rooms are quite nice, large and comfortable. The Smart rooms add
the benefit of a fax/laser/copier in the room as well as a lounge where you
can hold meetings in a more discreet and comfortable area with clients.
Internet Access has now finally arrived but at a cost which given the room
rates and the fact that it is free in the Marriott is rather unacceptable.
This is a great hotel but it is let down by the corporate snootiness and
swinging fees like Internet Access. (last upd: March 2005)
Lahore is the the cultural capital of Pakistan and was home to the Pakistani
film industry. The pace of life here is much more laid back than Karachi and you
will find the streets and people generally much more chilled out.
- Cuckoos, (everyone knows where it is... just tell them the
name). This is a very interesting restaurant with a good views and OK
food. The best part of it is really the story behind the place and more
interestingly the man behind it all. He is an artist of many talents and
the restaurant also serves as his gallery. The story is apparently that
his mother worked in the entertainment business starting in movies and
then on to the more redlight areas after the lahore film industry started
dying. The son went on to open the restaurant which he named after his
mother. Word of warning to you tho - be ready to climb up quite a lot of
stairs to get to the restaurant part of the house but the views over the
adjacent mosque are quite lovely.
upd: Dec 2004)
- Marco Polo restaurant, Pearl Continental. Very decent hotel
buffet with a good selection and choice.
- Pearl Continental, I haven't stayed here yet but it looks like the
best place in Lahore to stay.