Friday, September 30, 2016

the royal elephant

the royal elephant
marriott hotel, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 051) 2826121

what was consumed: the thai standards (pad thai, som tum papaya salad, green curry, penang curry (i think), garlic rice) and fried bananas with ice cream!

more hotel restaurants! but sometimes, that's just where you've got to go. yes, you'll pay a little extra, but you'll leave with a full belly and happy taste buds.

the royal elephant happens to be where we've been going lately. they have pretty solid thai cuisine options and they have a delish fried banana with ice cream dessert. and all of that makes me so happy:




Wednesday, September 28, 2016


street 55, F-8/4, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 051) 2855650

what was consumed: chinese food! dumplings, spring rolls, chow mein (sometimes called lo mein), chicken served a few different ways, sweet and sour stuff, sauteed veggies with tofu, and topped off with garlic fried rice

yay chinese food! sometimes, i really want to eat american-style chinese food. so, when someone mentioned chinatown (and that it's more american style than chinese chinese style), i was all in. what is it about westernized chinese food? i love it (i love the authentic cuisine as well, but for different reasons. but i digress):




chinatown also delivers, so if you can't (or don't want to) shlep it out to F-8, give them a call (or food panda it?) and order some takeout chinese!


Monday, September 26, 2016

little asia

little asia
block b agha khan road, F-6 markaz, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 051) 2272435

what was consumed: chinese food! and thai food! ... ??? not surprisingly, both chinese and thai cuisine are offered (and a few "korean" options, but i won't judge. hahaha).

little asia offers a pretty large menu of asian cuisine, mostly chinese and thai, with all variations of protein (chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, tofu, etc). i like that they offer so much variety even if that means someone like me has a more difficult time trying to decide what it is that i'm going to order (and encourage others to order). you can pretty much expect american-style chinese/thai food. for me, that's exactly what i was looking for.

i also like that they serve you baskets of shrimp chips (the size of my face! remember when i had that in bali, indonesia? oh, the memories :) along with sauces that whet your appetite. i could easily go through a few baskets of that deliciousness.

be sure to go with a couple of folks and encourage family style dining so that you can try all sort of things. so delicious!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

khoka khola

khoka khola
suite 17, beverly center, blue area, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 0321) 5176394

what was consumed: everything! seriously, everything. all the naans, all the appetizers, all the main dishes, and even the dessert! khoka khola has a super small menu, one that rotates based on what the chef(s) want to make. hope, though, that they have chicken briyani and butter chicken - i think they're my favorites.

people kept mentioning that islamabad has a rising young hipster crowd, filled with young pakistanis who want more (and better) for where they live (i'm glad to see that this mentality is alive and well in islamabad as it is in lots of places around the world). as a result, enter places like khoka khola. HURRAY! taking the advice of some folks who've been in islamabad for a lot longer than me, a bunch of us head to khoka khola to try their eats for ourselves.

because of our large group, we made reservations (big party or small, i recommend you call and give the folks at khoka khola a call and make some ressies. they don't have a lot of seating (at least for now - who knows what is in their future!) and you'll definitely want to be enjoying all of the delicious food they have to offer). and so, upon arrival, the khoka khola folks were waiting for us and had our table ready. we then, almost immediately, agreed to order one of everything on the menu. for realz.

naan with cheese, naan with meat, naan with pickles, bowls of papri chaat as appetizers. then plate after plate of entrees, to include chicken briyani, butter chicken, thali, daal, tikka ... while we knew that we ordered the menu, the amount of food that we ordered was a bit overwhelming. i'm glad we ordered all of it, though, because we were famished and definitely put a huge dent in all of the food.

so, what'd i think? delish. and as each of the mains came out, we were introduced to the person who was the mastermind behind it (not sure if they did this for all of the tables or just for ours which was very obviously a table of foreigners. either way). some of the dishes were spicy (like the daal), lots of creamy (like the butter chicken), and definitely lots of flavor (all of them!). i prefer the papri chaat as my appetizer and i could eat their briyani and butter chicken all day, every day. YUM.

i also appreciated that the guy who runs the place (the owner, i presume) visited all of the tables to explain the menu, check in with the diners, and make sure that everyone was enjoying their meal. while some say that this is a sales technique to sell more dishes, i like the seemingly personal touch as i felt he was invested in my food happiness. and yes, as a result of his recommendation, we did try the kulfa (a desi ice cream) that really was pretty darn delicious.

so ... when are we going?


Thursday, September 22, 2016

street one cafe

street one cafe
diplomatic enclave, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 051) 2832246/48

what was consumed: brunch! omelets, stuffed french toast, and lots of coffee.

yay for street one cafe!

the running group that i'm part of sometimes runs by street one cafe, the location that is on the diplomatic enclave. but it wasn't until a few weeks after that that i got to try out street one cafe's breakfast/brunch. and i'm glad i did!

street one cafe offers a variety of dishes, but most people i've spoken with tell me that street one cafe does a nice breakfast/brunch. so, when i got my chance, i opted for brunch options, instead of my usual lunch/dinner food preference. friend J and i decided to split a omelet and the stuffed french toast. and i am glad that we did! 

street one cafe does a pretty good omelet. the eggs are cooked well and if your omelet comes with cheese, there will be a lot of it (cheese, that is) - hooray! the stuffed french toast was also delish. for some reason, i thought it would be more sugary; i'm glad it wasn't. half a savory omelet and half a sweet stuffed french toast (with lots of syrup!) was just what this runner needed.

the diplomatic enclave location is also nice as it accommodates larger parties. in addition to the main floor, they have an upstairs seating area (though i've never sad there ... yet). be sure to graba few extra minutes as sometimes service is slow. but that's ok - it gives you more time to enjoy the company of your friends and fellow diners.

a few things:
- though the name of the eatery is street one, they're actually on street seven.
- they open early-ish (for brunch, anyway) which is perfect on those days we go for long runs and are then looking for a nice lace to grab brunch-y foods.
- they also serve lunch which, from what i understand, is also delish.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

al maghreb

al maghreb
serena hotel, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 051-2874000

what was consumed: tabbouleh, fatoosh, hummus, chicken tagine

there are quite a few quick eats options in islamabad. similarly, there are quite a few nice-ish sit down restaurants. most of them are in hotels (turns out, that's a thing here too). i'm just glad that they exist.

BJL and i decided to go out for a nice-ish dinner, so head to the serena hotel's al maghreb for some middle eastern cuisine.

to make a gross generalization, pakistanis eat dinner really late. so when we arrived at al maghreb, we were literally the only ones there. no problem - we were immediately seated and service was top notch.

we chose a variety of dishes, many of which were our favorites when we were serving in the middle east. so we knew exactly what we wanted, but could also be highly disappointed (can't help but to have high expectations). lucky for us, our expectations were met and we enjoyed delicious middle eastern cuisine. YUM. 


Sunday, September 18, 2016


saidpur village, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 300-45601707, 301-8445511

what was consumed: all the things! some naan, some chicken, some lamb, some veggies, all delish.

there are a few places in town that, along with pakistani food, have a sort of pakistani feel to them. andaaz is one of those places.

the andaaz in islamabad is located in saidpur village, a traditional-like village in look and feel. as you're sitting in the open dining area of andaaz, you get a chance to look out at all of the green that is part of islamabad. and, if you go for dinner as we did, you get to enjoy how the look changes as the sun goes down and the night lights go up. just to be a part of that is worth the visit to andaaz.

but the food! yum. we had a series of dishes that i can't recall (despite the availability of the andaaz menu online). it was definitely a combination of veggies, chicken, seafood (shrimp), and lamb. most things were served like a curry, unless it was a naan (of course). and everything was delicious. one person in our party was concerned we hadn't ordered enough food; i'd definitely recommend at least 1 dish per person, in addition to appetizers. but don't worry if you don't order enough! they'll always take additions to your order. YUM. 

if there's something i didn't like, it was that the servers brought around comment cards at the end of your meal and waited for you to fill it out (for my comment, i said that i didn't like that the servers did that), but if that's the biggest complaint, then that's not a big deal! so, despite the sort of hassle to eat at andaaz, i'd go through it again. so fun, so delish!