• 10 Oct - 16 Oct, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • High Life

Karachi has been blessed with a load of world-class Middle-Eastern restaurants. Offering everything from tender grilled meats and kebabs to exceptional vegetarian dishes, these places will spice up your life. Here's our pick of the best.


One evening, we visited Walla in search of shawarmas meeting the Mid-Eastern standards. Introduced to the menu, we find that they offer a variety of shawarmas, in NYC style, with flavours suitable for everyone or costumise your own with a choice of brown or white pita or saj, chicken, beef or mix and sauces. Shawarma flavours ranging from classic (with garlic sauce), BBQ, tikka, jalapeno and red sauce to choose from; the flavours are varied from the choice of sauces, all of which we were told are made in-house. With experimental taste buds, we settled on the New Yorker with a red sauce and the Amigo with jalapeno sauce, both in chicken. The New Yorker had a generous filling of chicken, fries and heavy on the saucy was an interesting fusion. The only thing that didn’t work well with us was the brown pita tasted too thick for our taste. The chicken, re-grilled in olive oil, was crunchy and crispy and cooked to perfection. The Amigo next was a spicier variation with chopped jalapenos and generously saucy; we liked this one better and maybe next time we would try it in white pita instead.


One afternoon, we were walk-ins at the restaurant – its name spelled out in Urdu lettering over a painted wall evoking simplicity and quaintness of the place. Ploughing through the menu, we found it pretty vast for an eatery which specialises in Iranian grub – we flipped through sections of chicken & beef steaks, Chinese and desi specials. Our picks were carefully chosen from the Alborz Special – we settled for their famous Chullu Kebab and the very curious sounding, Akbar Juja. Within a wait for over 15 mins, our mains landed on our table. Chullu Kebab – considered the national dish of Iran – lived up to its honour. Succulent pieces of textured mutton made for long strips of kebab which we devoured with roasted tomatoes and sautéed veggies. Seasoned with mild spices and piquant trace of garlic and basil, the spice ratio was very less, allowing the tantalising flavour of grilled meat to shine through. Our next order, Akbar Juja was our first-time try. On a bed of steaming saffron rice, flavoured pieces of chicken were nestled along with sautéed veggies, pickles and spice garnish. A piping hot bowl of yakhni (broth) was also served along with it.


On Karachi’s popular E-street lined with fine dining restaurants, we walk in at Baituti on reservations to satiate taste buds craving a taste beyond desi and continental regulars. Skimming through the menu, we landed on Sujuk and Cheese Fatayer which is a boat-shaped spin-off of a flat bread pizza, topped with cheese and aesthetically placed red chillies had us feasting with our eyes first. The perfect crusty bread and a hit of spice made it the star of our elaborate dinner and the flatbread was devoured to its last slice to fully satiated diners. You simply cannot have mid-Eastern cuisine and skip the staple: Shish Taouk. A large serving of chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces, marinated and grilled to perfection, with a side of fries, coleslaw, pickles and charred tomatoes. The grilled chicken was the tenderest serving of chicken we have had in a while and the garlic sauce that came with the platter had us reaching for fries guiltlessly. Baituti was an experience of Lebanese culinary heritage and values catered warmly to Karachi.