Come Ramazan and our hunt for iftar deals begins! While some places disappoint and make you feel like your money went to waste, there are others that are well worth every rupee you spend. Finding those places is the biggest challenge. This is where Instep comes to the rescue and picks the top 5 places for iftar in the capital.
Street 1 Café
If there is one place that consistently serves good quality food in Islamabad, it is Street 1 Café. Over the years, their iftar has developed quite a reputation and I was pleased to see them keep that repute this year too. Priced at the higher end, the iftar makes sure the money you pay is worth it because they serve everything from quick bites to four different kinds of salads, assorted fresh baked breads, soup, chicken, beef, prawns, fish, pastas, sides for vegetarians and drinks. The assorted desserts, which are the highlight of the iftar, include a wide variety of pastries, brownies and one-bite desserts. That is not all though - there is a lavish display of assorted fruit and a huge chocolate fountain to delight everyone’s sweet tooth. What more can one ask for?
Price per head: Rs. 2195 plus tax.
New to Islamabad’s eateries, Mughlai Courtyard opened earlier this month and has already raised the bar of good quality Pakistani food. It is one of the top choices for iftar this year and rightly so. The space transports you to the Mughal Era and ensures your taste buds are pleased with the experience too. For iftar they are serving specialties like cheese naan, chaat, assorted pakoras and samosas with mix and green tea. Their dinner is much more lavish with various kinds of barbeque items and grilled chicken dishes, mutton karahi, chicken curries, dumba karahi, mutton biryani, Kabuli pulao, butter paneer masala, lentils, a variety of naans, salads and raitas. If your mouth is watering already, you must know that the live jalebi bar, the Lahori kheer and the caramel pudding is what really stole my heart.
Price per head: Rs. 1599 plus tax.
It is interesting to see that so many of the new eateries have picked up in food quality and taste for iftar this year. Asian Wok, a relatively new Pan Asian restaurant by the Monal & Ittehad Group, is also serving a very delicious iftar dinner buffet this year. Asian Wok has a posh décor that sets your mood for a luxurious experience and the food does not disappoint either. The iftar has all the basic items like dahi barray, fruit chaat, chilli wings, samosas and sesame bread but the dinner menu is what really steals the show. For dinner, Asian Wok serves two choices of soup - the Asian Wok special and a Thai soup - with three types of salads, basics like vegetable fried rice, steamed rice and chicken chowmein. In the main course, they serve four dishes from the Chinese cuisine like kung pao fish, szechuan chicken, sweet & sour chicken, beef with chillies & onion. They also have stir fried vegetables and mafu tofu for the vegetarians and a few Thai dishes like chicken green curry, stir fried prawns, crispy Fish with lemon grass and stir fried beef with green pepper. The dessert menu also has quite a bit of variety with bread and butter pudding, assorted mousses, custards, cookies, crème brulee, fruit trifle, chocolate eclairs and more. One can’t expect to have anything less than a food coma after all this delicious food.
Price per head: Rs. 1900 plus tax.
BBQ Bazaar is yet another new entrant to the Islamabad food scene that has set the bar high in terms of food quality and has also kept its prices relatively low. As the name suggests, they serve desi specialties but really know how to do perfect and authentic BBQ botis, butter chicken, kebabs or mutton qorma, all of which are served in their iftar dinner. What’s strikingly different about BBQ Bazaar is that they stick to basics and the kind of comfort food one really looks for after a day of fasting. They also serve daal chawal, which is unique for a restaurant but there is something about their food that leaves one wanting for more. In the dessert menu they have kheer, gulab jamun and shahi tukra among other items that leave the visitors smiling with glee.
Price per head: Rs. 1450 plus tax.
While picking up these 5 eateries, I did a poll for popular opinion and Bauz made the list. Having developed a good reputation for fancy ambiance and good food, Bauz has tried to maintain it in Ramazan too, serving a wide variety of items that cover various cuisines - Italian, Chinese and even Pakistani. So to say Bauz is the place where everyone can go and find something they like would not be wrong. They serve chicken with cashew nuts & vegetable fried rice, alfredo pasta & tarragon chicken, oyster beef, pizzas, fish & chips, butter fried prawns and Pakistani items like chicken karahi, BBQ boti, reshmi kebab, achari daal and assorted desserts. While I personally prefer restaurants to do one cuisine but excel at it, I think Bauz is a great option for families where everyone wants to eat something different.
Price per head: Rs. 1595 plus tax.