Google the words “Food capital of Pakistan”, the results are not going to surprising at all because everyone knows that Lahore is the answer. Food is synonymous with this culturally rich city. A major issue one might face here that there are so many options in every corner of this city that it is so hard to pick which particular place to go to.
My go to places for food in Lahore are mostly Gulberg and DHA (Yes I know I will be accused of being a “burger” here but I cannot deny that unfortunately). Even there are so many options that you just cannot pick and choose.
Mall One is a commercial place in Lahore which has a bunch of restaurants under one roof and some are nearby and every time I visit that place I cannot decide whether I should go for The Burning Giraffe, Maribelle, The Brasserie or The Wok. All of these restaurants specialize in different food items but nonetheless it still confuses you that what your taste buds desire.
The New Food Street in Paragon is not much of a help either.
Even though one would argue that it is a new food spot and there are fewer restaurants there as compared to other places, it is still hard to pick which place to go to. You visit Pablo’s once and although you enjoy the food there, the next time you go you still cannot decide whether you should go to Pablo’s or try Burger Hub this time or go for Dervish or Loft 29.
DHA is another confusing market to look for food. There are so many options from the amazing Veera 5 to the retro Big Moes to coffee places like Second Cup, Coffee Planet and Gloria Jean’s Coffees but chances are at times you would go for something like McDonald’s. If you live near Fortess where there are two McDonald’s (one in Fortress itself and one inside Fortress Square), I certainly don’t blame you. It is an everyday struggle of living in Lahore.
Now that I have mentioned Fortress, the situation there is not as booming. There is an abandoned building where once was a Burger King and a bowling alley and at a time there used to be a Tutti Fruiti and Subway as well before that. Similarly near Nando’s , there used to be a Dixy Chicken which could not stand the heat of the competition. Even some international restaurants such as Johnny Rockets, Fatburger and Cone Heads could not handle the competition and from opening branch after branch in the city, they finally gave up. Some of these restaurants are present in cities like Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar though but if one cannot survive in the food capital of the country is concerning.
Faisal Town, Model Town and Johar Town are other interesting food markets in the city for its desi cum international offerings. If you find a restaurant that would offer you Burger, Shakes and Fries right next to it would be a place that offers Siri Paye. These three places would be what I would call a must go for every foodie. On the downside, I have made the choice of picking a place even harder but to be fair it really isn’t my fault when food places here are just opening up from every corner.
An article on food and Lahore is certainly incomplete without the famous Food Street of Lahore which is a great tourist attraction offering a majestic view of historical beauty that is the Badshahi Mosque among other things in Old Lahore. Restaurants like Haveli, Andaaz and Cuckoo’s Den are located there, each with its unique menu and ambiance. Restaurants are not the only place where you can find food here; you can get the traditional Lahori cuisine like Siri Paye, Nihari, Falooda, Chicken Tikka among other delicious food items to satisfy your taste buds but this is not the only place where you will find this. You can find these at Garhi Shahu, Anarkali Bazaar or who am I kidding? Anywhere in Lahore (Yes even in DHA) but one thing to keep in mind here that they may vary from taste to taste in other place and taste in my opinion is something subjective.
For someone who lives in Lahore, less options are not the problem, it’s actually more options. Even as I mentioned earlier, if you go to Fortess Stadium, you cannot decide whether you would go for the McDonald’s at Fortress Stadium or the one inside Fortress Square. Even though they are the same thing literally but it still makes the situation hard.
This is a problem found in the food courts of malls here too whether they are big malls like Packages or Emporium or malls such as Xinhua, Imperial, Amanah or Fortress Square. This is something I have experienced personally every time I visit a mall. I simply cannot choose from where to order. By the time the order has arrived, I regret my decision and wished I had ordered something else. I’m sitting at a mall this very moment deciding whether I should go for OPTP, McDonald’s or Subway or something else. By the time I would have made my decision, I know I would regret it and wished I had ordered something else.
This is not just with going out for food in the evenings or at night but morning breakfast is too a huge task in the food capital. You cannot decide whether you would go for Nihari or try something at a place like English Tea House. One can say that it depends on one’s mood but moods do change swiftly too. You aim for something and then go for something else.
Unfortunately, staying indoors is not going to save you from the chaos of searching for food in Lahore. Foodpanda, Eat Mubarak and Cheetay are to be blamed for this. No matter where you live in this city, food delivery applications have so much options that you cannot decide what to go for. The deals they offer on not just one restaurant but several make the task even harder. In Western popular culture, there are often under a child’s bed. In Lahore’s case, it will probably be dancing food items each telling you to pick them over the other.
Restaurants in this city not only attract you because of its food but also because of the events they have. Places such as A Piece of Cake, Jessie’s, The Otus Rooftop, Karak Khel and more are prime examples here. The plus side here is that with these amazing events, you get offered amazing food but the downside is that it’s another restaurant added to your extensive list of restaurants in Lahore and makes the decision to go out even harder in this chaotic food capital.
The case is not just with restaurants with similar menu and similar food but every time you go out or plan on getting food delivered. In fact, I would go as far to claim that instead of choosing between Pizza Hut, Broadway Pizza, Domino’s or California Pizza you are either going to have a hard time choosing between Novu or Meat the Cheese or would not be able to decide between Nainu’s, Dogar or Burger Bar.
The abundance of food places in Lahore is something I deal with on a daily basis living in this city. Now that the popular Timmy’s is going to soon opening its doors in Jail Road where places like Chit Chaat, Subway, McDonald’s and KFC also stand is just going to make the decision even harder. This is not just limited to Timmy’s at Jail Road; it’s about every place that is soon going to open up in this city. This year alone, I have lost the count of how many food places just showed up here and the way they are operating like seems as if they have existed for years. In fact, as I’m writing this article somewhere in this city, a new food place is opening up.
Every article has a conclusion and so does this one but one thing that will never end is the love people of Lahore have for food and the opening up of food places in the city one after the other. As for what I had ordered, it’s McDonald’s but now I’m wishing I had gone for Subway. Nothing is wrong with the order; it’s just a Lahore thing.