Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Sep 9, 2006 08:21 PM

Pakistani restaurants: any regional specialties?

Picking up from topic 323905 where we've hit the nesting limit:

Almost all of the Indian places that have opened in recent years are Pakistani: Shalimar, Naan 'n' Curry, Indus Village, Pakwan, Darbar, Mehfil.

Do any specialize or excel in more specific regional cuisines? Seems to me like they're all pretty broad in scope, offering muslim or halal-friendly dishes from all parts of the Indian subcontinent.

But sometimes you just have to know what to order or ask for, like for the Gujarati stuff at Sultan. Tips?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Actually, the SF Indian/Pakistani restaurants are fairly narrow in offering Moghul and Punjabi dishes from the North, which is where the muslim regions are located on the subcontinent.

    If you want something else, you need to venture outside the City of San Francisco for the most part. Check posts for Fremont, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Mountain View, etc.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      a very belated reply to a revived thread - but in addition to the areas you mention there is a substantial muslim community in hyderabad/andhra pradesh (for a while during the pre-partition i believe there was originally a plan to have a three part non-contiguous state including modern day pakistan, west benal/bandladesh, and a third area in what is andhra pradesh).

      are there any andheri/hyderabadi style places in the bay area? in india this regional designation is synonymous with two things - incredibly spicy food and biryani (not unique to the region but they are famous for it).

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        I went to a place in Dublin called biryani pointe that may be hyderabadi. It's part of a national chain of 15 or so restaurants, two of which an Indian from India friend likes lot. It was good, about half the dishes I thought were excellent. There's another in Santa Clara and a similarly named but I think unrelated Hyderabad biiryani pointe in Milpitas.

        I particularly liked the chicken 65 and gobi manchurian and the goat curry.

          1. re: tex.s.toast

            Thanks for the explanation about Andhra Pradesh. Now mutton pepper fry and other meated dishes make sense to me. In Milpitas, I really liked Tirupathi Bhimas, perhaps the fieriest food I've ever eaten, but have not been there for several years now. It is vegetarian though.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. I'm not specifically asking about SF. Indus Village is in Berkeley.

            I know of some places that specialize in various regional cuisines of India, but what about Pakistan?

            1. I don't think I can help that much, but hopefully someone with more info can chime in.

              As mentioned, most of the Pakistani places here serve food typical of Punjab, especially Lahore. The only other place I've traveled in Pakistan is Northwest Frontier province, but the restaurant food I had there was largely Punjabi, or sometimes Afghani-style (due to the proximity to Kabul and large number of refugess). For local food, the specialties I remember were chapli kabob (different style kabob with beef and egg, I think) and a different pullaw.

              I've never seen Sindhi style food (Sind province) here, but there's a brief Wiki on what to look for:
              I haven't read anything about Belochi food (Belochistan province).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Josh Fredericks

                I've been told that Moghul/Punjabi food is what's served in restaurants all over the subcontinent as dining out is a special occasion. For local food, you have to get a homecooked meal, though that is changing with the rising wealth.

                Even though Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, more than half the population speaks Punjabi due to the migration north after partition. Given these two factors, it's not unexpected that Punjabi style food dominates.

                At Darbar on Polk St. in SF, I have been served a Sindhi style biryani. The chapli kabob (a Pashtun specialty) is on the menu and very good there too. Iirc, the owner is from Lahore.

                And, I have seen Kabuli pullao on menus. I've never run across a Balochi style stuffed and roasted whole lamb around here. (g)

                I guess we could also raise the issue of what constitutes "Pakistani" besides the four provinces that you've mentioned. Should we count Bangladesh, the former East Pakistan? Enforce a claim on Kashmir? What about the Pashtun refugees from Afghanistan who passed through Pakistani camps on their way to Fremont? Or Chinese cuisine which Pakistanis have made their own?

              2. Bumping this.

                Perhaps I'm not using the right search terms, but I'm not seeing much new info other than mentions of Lahore Karahi and Guddu di Karahe.

                Are there any Pakistani restaurants/dishes that distinguish themselves from what's generally available at other Pakistani/Indian restaurants?

                9 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Aren't those places regional Indian rather than Pakistani? If not, any tips or links to which dishes/styles of those dishes are more typical of Pakistan?

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      Mumbai Chowk has dishes from all over that are popular in Mumbai, including some that originated in regions now in Pakistan.

                      I thought of Anjappar because it's halal and has mutton, but Chettinad is actually way south.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I'll have to explore more of the menu at Mumbai Chowk--- everything I've eaten there has been good, including the Sukah mutton masala I tasted thanks to your tip in that other thread.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Which dishes did you eat at Mumbai Chowk that originated in Pakistan?

                          1. re: osho

                            I'm not sure I ordered any, I just Googled the dishes that were unfamiliar to me. Dabba gosht is one, I think there were two or three others.


                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Dabba Gosht is a dish that originates from a community called Dawoodi Bohras - majority of whom reside in India. It's an awesome dish if made right.

                              Pakistan was once part of India, so 90% of food overlaps except for the cuisine from the far North West of Pakistan.

                    2. re: hyperbowler

                      BBQ n Curry in Sausalito. The owners are Sindhi. I need to return for the weekend specials.