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Mar 5, 2008 01:40 PM

iso great food in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Am writing for a friend who's in Bangladesh doing a documentary. Anyone have any recs for good/interesting/flavorful options? He's an amazing amateur chef, and I feel badly that he's eating mediocre food in the school cafeteria near where he's filming...
Thanks in advance,

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  1. The two best independent restaurants I've eaten in Dhaka (and a fave amongst the locals there) are:

    1. Kasturi, 8 Purana Paltan, Bijoynagar, Dhaka. Tel: 9569942, 9564396

    2. Dhansiri. Plot 32/A, Road 45, Gulshan 2, Dhaka. Tel: 9882125, 8825050

    It's been a couple of years since I've been there - so your friend should call ahead & check. Both restaurants offered very good Bengali curries & seafood. Mildly-spiced & fried fish like rui (carp), rup chanda (pomfret) & ilish (hilsa/herring) are also very good!

    Most of the good restaurants in Dhaka are concentrated in the diplomatic/expat enclave at Gulshan/Banani.

    1. Bukhara Restaurant
      18th Floor,
      Iqbal Center,
      Kemal Ataturk Avenue, Banani.

      This is my favorite restaurant in Dhaka; it's got great Indian food and a beautiful location. The two the other poster listed are good as well. It is not hard to get decent Bengali food here, the
      issue is really that aside from that, the rest of the food is mediocre at best. His other option is befriending locals (or expats with good cooks) and getting invited home for dinner. The best meals I have had here have all been eaten in private homes.

      Most expats spend a lot of time eating at the private clubs, partially because they are the only places that can serve liquor, and the food is decent, although not great.

      1. Missed this thread entirely until I saw today's activity, hopefully recommendations are still of some use to your friend... Kasturi and Bukhara are both solid recommendations, (haven't tried Dhansiri), and, sadly Lulubelle is spot on about food quality for most of the other restaurants here.

        I just wanted to add a mention for Samdado, (House 27, Road 35, Gulshan 2), which does a generally decent job of its Japanese/Korean menu. It wouldn't make my list back home where I'm spoiled for really good Japanese, (I miss you Vancouver), but is a pleasant break from the other options in this city and has the added benefit of being one of the few places outside of the expat clubs and luxury hotels where you can enjoy a drink with dinner.

        And thinking of luxury hotels, the Westin opened on Gulshan Ave. last summer and has a small cafe in the lobby that sells good bread (at high prices), also a nice treat if your friend is getting tired of the sugar-laden white loaves that abound here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: J_Queck

          The Westin and the Radisson both do poolside BBQs that are pretty good. The bakery at the Radisson is pretty good as well,

          Samdado was exactly the restaurant I was thinking about when i said the food was mediocre at best. While a few items are pretty good, the noodles for example, most of the food is below the level of grocery store sushi in the States. The OP asked for "great" food, which is just about impossible in Dhaka. You can tell when people have been here too long, because they begin to refer to really bad restaurants (Spaghetti Jazz) as being "great". Samdado is far above Spaghetti jazz, but it would certainly never stay in business in a city where it weren't the only option.

          1. re: J_Queck

            Have you tried Jharna Grill at Pan Pacific Sonargaon? I had a grilled fish there which was very good - Ichimoti Pangash. Yep, it made such an impression on me, I still remembered the name of the dish!

          2. Thought of one more place...

            There is an Australian expat named Barry Ison who runs a guest house in Dhaka. It's located at Road 79, House 19 in Gulshan, and the food is amazing. He also has a small showroom of textiles, jewelry, baskets etc that he imports from Nepal, Thailand, etc. It's open for lunch every day, and you can make special arrangements for dinner. Barry is a total original and knows everything about Bangladesh and Dhaka. I HIGHLY recommend an afternoon or evening at his place.

            6 Replies
            1. re: lulubelle

              Thanks for this tip on the guest house, I wasn't familiar with it but I'll definitely check it out over the next few days.

              Regarding your other post above, I'm definitely becoming guilty of equating 'less bad than the other options' with 'great', or even 'good'...As noted, it wouldn't make my list back home, and you're right, would have a hard time staying in business.

              Anyways, thanks again for the tip.

              1. re: lulubelle

                greetings ,
                enjoying your ideas on good food joints. other great places are 1.Sajna ( north indian meals) at Raod 11, Banani, 2. Casablanca on Gulshan Avenue ( between i & II), 3. Casa Greek & 4. Bamboo Shoot on Gulshan Avenue above Agora and many more. But for more details call me on +8801912000210 JK

                1. re: lulubelle

                  hey!! have just moved to dhaka and am looking for some places to visit, can you give me some information about this guesthouse, does it still exist, i see thepost is quite old.. thanks

                  1. re: lulubelle

                    Hi there, noticed your post on Barry Ison. I lived in Banani like 15 years ago with my family in my early teens. We knew a Barry Ison, Aussie, who lived in Gulshan and when I saw this I wondered if it was him. He was doing crafts even back then, so think it has to be him. I would love to come back to Bangladesh with my family and work. It is tough to get work? I think Barry originally went to Bangladesh as a Baptist Missionary or his parents were or something like that. Any info on anything going over there would be great.

                    1. re: Elissao

                      It is indeed the same Barry Ison. I think he just opened a second guest house and restaurant, but I am not exactly sure where it is located. He had long been a proponent of local crafts and culture, and has done a lot of work to promote them and the local people.

                      As for getting work here, it really depends on what you do and who you work for. Everyone I know who is an expat works for some sort of Western organization.

                  2. Nice to have this advice... I am moving to Dhaka for two years this July and was about to write in asking about food there, but someone beat me to it! The guesthouse sounds right up my alley...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: katie570

                      Be sure to join whichever club you are connected to. The clubs have reciprocal arrangements, so that an American Club member can eat at the BHC or Aussie vlub as well as the ARA. (American Recreational Association)

                      Also, if you are connected to the embassy and can join the Comm, you should do so. It's the only place to get a lot of convenience products, and American foods. As good as my cook is, there are times when I really just want a can of chicken noodle soup and a bagel with cream cheese.

                      Just curious, why are you moving to Dhaka?

                      1. re: lulubelle

                        I'm going to be with the embassy. You? Thanks for the tips!

                        1. re: katie570

                          Ah, pretty much you're Embassy, NGO or a teacher if you're in Dhaka. I'm a teacher.

                          There are all kinds of interesting things to do here, and depending on what you're into, I'm sure I'll see you around.