By Amna Ali Syed
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating”
~ Luciano Pavarotti
This is exactly what you all shall be doing, subsequent to hour-long committee sessions, barbarous debates and bloodthirsty face-offs with the most spirited of delegates, for whom defending their country might be more important than anything else. Except maybe food, for food is the one ingredient that binds us all together, no matter what part of the world we come from. And this is why the only thing I like better than talking about food, is eating – and that is exactly what I am going to do, after I talk as much as I can about good food, hoping to leave your taste buds as enticed as Beyoncé’s back-up dancers on a concert night.
Pakistan is rich in many of nature’s blessings, including good food. The people here raise the bar of what it means to be a foodie, and whether it is someone sat in the busy food streets of Rawalpindi for a nice desi breakfast, or the regular visitor at every high-end new restaurant that opens up in Islamabad; they will be bigger critics of food than any connoisseur to exist.
Thus as you may have guessed by now, food is a pretty big deal for us Islamabadis, as it should be for you when you arrive here for the much-hyped NIMUN 2019. Whether you’re a regular visitor or a first-time tourist, allow me to be your guide to restaurants you absolutely MUST check-in to while you’re in Islamabad. I promise you will not be disappointed!
1. The Monal
You will probably hear a lot about this place, not just for its authentic Pakistani cuisine which will leave you licking your fingers afterwards, but also for its glorious view overlooking the capital amongst the pristine Margalla hills. Treat yourself with indigenous flavours and aromas of a wide variety of cuisines ranging from Pakistani to Continental, Thai, Oriental, Chinese, Italian and many more. Whether you choose to sit out in the warm winter sunshine, or sit in during the cold nights; do not forget to immerse yourself in the drive up to this picturesque place, surrounded by breath-taking views – especially at sunset.
The morning before you prepare yourself for a day of tireless debating, you might want to fill yourself up with some healthy and energizing Pakistani nashta. For this very purpose, I present to you the restaurant offering one of the best breakfasts in Islamabad! Their exclusive breakfast menu ranges from spicy Aloo Bhujia to Halwa Puri, and the very special Pakistani style omelette alongside a wide range of parathas. Combining any of these exquisite items with Doodh Patti or their special Lassi makes a meal fit for a king.
3. Chaaye Khana
Another all-time favourite is this tea-centric café. From their all-rounder breakfast inclusive of English and Pakistani items, to their sandwiches, pasta and the heavenly desserts, there’s absolutely no restaurant at par with the standards of this place. Comfortable sofas and the luxury of good books to flip over while you enjoy warm, flavoursome food is one combination you should never miss! Also, do not forget to try their tea, which comes in all kinds of unique flavours, and pairs perfectly with any dish.
If you love burgers (which is a term you will hear a lot in Islamabad for many reasons other than food, mind you), this cowboy themed restaurant is the one for you. Thick, juicy patties, power packed with irresistible flavours and soft crunchy buns are literally what dreams are made of. Pair them with a side of curly fries and your favourite drink, and you’ll be good to go!
5. Mindanos – The Food Chapter
A relatively new addition to the list of Islamabad eateries is this fusion restaurant. Their menu comprises of some exceptionally mouth-watering dishes like cheesy molten lasagne, creamy fettucine pasta and the most fulfilling steaks you will ever taste. Another plus is their exceptional customer service, which will remind you of exactly why Pakistan is one of the most hospitable nations in the world.
So in case you’re not doing so well in your committee session, ask not what you can do for your country, simply ask what’s for lunch?
Happy eating and happy debating to you all!
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