Pakistan — Food and Restaurants
Pakistan’s nightlife and entertainment scene is quite mild, offering up more movie theaters than nightclubs. The same cannot be said about the country’s dining options, which are numerous. Everything from traditional Pakistani meals to international home comforts can be found in the many restaurants in one of the larger centers.
Pakistan Bars and Pubbing
The nightlife scene in Pakistan is quite modest and this is largely a result of the religious restrictions placed on Muslim residents who are not permitted to purchase, consume or be in possession of alcohol. Travelers in search of Western-style discotheques will be disappointed. Most of the large hotels have bars where visitors can have a few drinks and on certain evenings the hotels have live music and dancing.
The best live music in Karachi can be found at a local joint called Salt n Pepper Village (3A Beach Avenue, DHA Phase 6, Karachi). By day this is a high-end restaurant but by night it is taken over by live Pakistani music. Located right next to the sea, this establishment provides not only great entertainment but a great atmosphere as well. Salt n Pepper Village is quite popular and can get rather crowded especially on weekends so it’s a good idea to come early or even book in advance.
Another great place to relax and knock back a couple of drinks is the Lahore Polo Club (Race Course Park Area, Lahore). The club, which is almost 120 years old, has a decent bar which is open to members of the public. The perfectly manicured lawns and colonial style décor provide the perfect environment in which to chit chat with the local elite. Visitors who go at the right time of the year might even be able to catch a polo match in full swing.
Pakistan Dining and Cuisine
The cuisine in Pakistan is as interesting and exciting as the culture and should definitely be given a try at least once. Most of the dishes are served with naan, a type of flatbread, or are presented on top of rice. The meals are also quite spicy so travelers with an aversion to chili will need to make this explicitly clear when ordering. There are, however, many international and European options available, especially in the more high-end hotels.
There are a few local restaurants which do a particularly good job of serving up Pakistani meals. Usmania Tandoori Restaurant in Quetta (Jinnah Road, Town Center Quetta) is one of these fine establishments. While the setting is quite fancy, the prices are not. Services are large and the quality of the food is simply top notch. Similarly, Hidden Paradise in Karimabad (Bazaar Road, Karimabad) has some great dishes as well. The restaurant makes up for its non-luxurious ambiance with some of the heartiest Pakistani meals in the city.
For something a bit more familiar, visitors should try Evolution in Karachi (66C-68C 25th Street, DHA, Karachi). One of the trendiest places in town, Evolution allows visitors to sample the flavors of the world in one sitting. This buffet style lunch offers everything from Italian and Japanese to Indian and Continental. KC Grill is also a hit with foreigners, serving up such favorites as steaks, burgers and French fries. While the menu may be pretty run-of-the-mill, the atmosphere certainly is not.