Keto-hunt in the capital!

February 7, 2021

All the places that’ll help you stay in a state of ketosis when you’re in Islamabad.

I did 50 days without carbs and sugar during strict quarantine last year (2020 still doesn’t sound like last year but here we are), however, as soon as stepping out became an apprehensive norm, I just couldn’t stick to it. Carbs would sneak into my diet from one place or the other, whether I was stepping out for coffee or going out for a quick lunch. The easiest way seemed to be to meet for breakfast and just have a philly cheese steak omelette. But then how many eggs can one possibly have?

And so began my hunt for keto friendly (not necessarily very high fat, but definitely low carb) options in Islamabad and I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few! Here’s where I found happy indulgences…

Street 1 Café

There’s a running joke in the capital that all Islamabadis returning home from abroad for the holidays have had lunch at Street 1 Café in Kohsar Market by Day 3 of their trip. And there must be a reason behind consistently being the most popular place to eat in the city. While most people think the reason is its desserts, I think the diverse food options could be another reason. Last year they also began serving a keto menu, which is perhaps the only keto menu in the capital with so many options. From beef tataki, warm avocado and shrimp and cranberry pecan salad in the appetisers to Cajun stuffed chicken with zoodles, steak tips and t-bone steak, lamb chops, red snapper, grilled Norwegian pink salmon and authentic tenderloin steak, Street 1 Café has something for everyone cutting carbs. I personally love the Cajun chicken with zoodles. On the weekends, they also offer a hearty traditional keto platter with butter chicken, palak paneer, coconut flour parathas and a creamy keto chocolate mousse. I wish they served that mousse on weekdays too. Its sister branch, Sidewalk, always has keto cookies to pick up, on the go, every day!


How ironic and pleasant at the same time that even Loafology (contrary to its name) offers a keto menu with quite a few options. On this menu they offer beef chilli served with homestyle kimchi & zoodles (zucchini noodles), roast beef served with homemade kimchi and cauliflower salad, herb roasted chicken with kimchi and zoodles, pan fried fish with lemon caper sauce with cauliflower and kimchi and stir-fried prawns with lemon butter sauce served with the same options. I like how they have a bit of everything, from seafood, chicken and beef in their keto menu, but I hoped their side options had more to offer. I tried their beef chilli and it was perfectly done; tender and tangy but not sweet. I’m definitely going back to try the rest too.


What I love about food from the subcontinent is how diverse it is. We may not value it as much because we’ve grown up with it but it has all the nutrients one could possibly need. There’s protein and fat and the option to add lots of leafy vegetables. It’s really our fault that we focus on breads and rice but the cuisine offers so much that one will always be spoilt for choice when it comes to low carb food options. Chattha’s in F-10 Islamabad makes some delicious makhni handi and grilled kebabs that can make anyone forget about the good old biryani. Have these without the naans and you’ll feel treated without cheating on your diet. Chattha’s also has a huge high protein variety including BBQ, palak paneer, grilled fish, perfectly cooked meat mince with peas, niharis and paaye, a diverse handi and karahi menu. Just skip the naan bread and use the fork and you won’t have to worry about getting out of ketosis.

Street Burger

I feel like most restaurants can put steaks and chicken options on a side menu and call it keto but what’s real hard work is when they spin almond flour to make bread or buns and give customers the feeling that they’re having the next best thing. Street Burger, a burger joint in Kohsar Market, has recently done that. They now serve a keto burger with the option of a beef or chicken patty. A grilled patty of your choice with cheese and a secret sauce on top and iceberg lettuce is packed between a seeded almond flour bun. I tried it recently and absolutely loved it. The bun felt like the real multigrain one and any time I feel like cheating, I’ll just have the keto burger!


Islamabad lacked an artisanal Greek yogurt option that was just as creamy and delicious as the imported options Pascual, Chobani or Fage available at Kohsar Market, but wouldn’t break the pocket. In came Yogtopia! A small home-based business that came out during quarantine, Yogtopia offers fresh handmade artisanal dessert in different flavours. While some of these flavours are regular, they also have seasonal ones. What’s most healthy and keto friendly are their sugar free options. I absolutely love their chocolate mousse and French vanilla and coconut sugar free options and can’t wait till they start making a strawberry or banana flavour in the sugar free versions. Yogtopia is the go-to keto friendly dessert option when you’re craving for something creamy and sweet and a healthy breakfast or lunch at the same time! Try it. 

Keto-hunt in the capital!