San Francisco is home to some of the most diverse food options in the country and finding a spot to eat is never a challenge. However, finding good Pakistani food may be somewhat more difficult. Hole in the wall restaurants are often great finds and belie their modest exteriors: known for their small spaces and long lines, they also often boast delicious Pakistani classics.
With authentic and fresh Pakistani flavors, Shalimar offers a large menu of traditional dishes hailing from all over Pakistan. With two San Francisco locations, Shalimar is the go-to place for authentic Pakistani cuisine. Don’t let its humble exterior deceive you: Pakistani natives can always be found dining here to get a taste of home.
Located in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, Guddu de Karahi offers an authentic taste of the province of Punjab. A friendly man named Guddu runs the restaurant; he cooks all the food, making every dish a true speciality. The name of the restaurant, literally meaning ‘Guddu’s Karahi’, more than suggests that his special dishes are his chicken and goat Karahi, which are authentic to the northern region of Pakistan. For a home spun feel in a quiet neighborhood, Guddu’s provides the perfect environment and delicious food.
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This small and simple restaurant on the corner of O’Farrell and Jones Street in the Tenderloin district offers an unparalleled stop for classic Pakistani dishes. Pakwan’s most popular dishes include the Chicken Tikka Boti, Nihari and Chicken Tikka Masala (and, of course, a side of Naan).
Run by a Nepali family, Noori has a large variety of Pakistani and Indian cuisine with a unique twist on the food. Although the more commonly known dishes are on the menu, Noori takes a different approach to the food in terms of flavors. As they stick with traditional styles of popular South Asian dishes, they also incorporate certain dishes with a spin, such as the goat’s cheese naan, which cannot usually be found in a regular Pakistani or Indian restaurant. Their unique blend of traditional and new dishes sets Noori apart from any other Pakistani or Indian restaurant.
Also located in the Tenderloin neighborhood, Lahore Karahi is home to the most authentic flavors of the colorful city of Lahore, Pakistan. With its high levels of spice and the smell of fresh naan, you’ll feel hungry as soon as you walk in the door. The Tandoori section of the menu is a must-try at Lahore Karahi for the best chicken, kebabs and lamb chops in the city.