There are endless options in Dubai for digging into delicious Pakistani food. But not many of these restaurants can claim to have seen Dubai grow over the years. That distinction goes to the oldest Pakistani restaurant in Dubai – Karachi Darbar.
This legendary restaurant with 21 outlets across Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman is a go-to spot for the city’s oldtimers seeking authentic Pakistani cuisine. But even a lot of long-term residents don’t catch on to the fact it’s the first and the oldest Pakistani restaurant in Dubai even though the year of establishment is part of the logo –1973.
Dubai’s oldest Pakistani restaurant is almost as old as the UAE
That means the first Karachi Darbar eatery, specifically the branch in Karama 1, took root in Dubai just two short years after the UAE came into being in 1971. 1973 was also the year the dirham was first issued as the UAE’s currency. That means this famous outlet’s fabled yet affordable haleem and halwa puris have been feeding hungry Dubai residents – both Pakistani expatriates and others – long before Sheikh Zayed Road was even dreamed of as a blueprint. Let that sink in.
Dates aside, this almost half-a-century-old Pakistani restaurant also has a great origin story. Karachi Darbar’s late founder Haji Mohammed Farook landed in Dubai accidentally in 1967. Mr. Farook disembarked the ship he was employed on as a chief cook when it docked in Dubai because of an argument with the Captain. Shortly after, the bought out the small restaurant in Deira he was working in, rebranded it to Karachi Darbar (after the city of Karachi – Pakistan’s financial capital) and moved locations.
49 years down the road, the homegrown family-run restaurant has fed hundreds of thousands of Dubai residents at affordable prices.
What’s good to eat here?
Plenty. The menu’s brimming with a ton of traditional Pakistani dishes, kebabs and curries from various Pakistani cities and regions. Paya (spicy stew made of goat or cow trotters), Peshawari chicken karahi, namkeen roast, and a variety of naans and rotis are favourite staples here. Also iconic are the biryanis, phalli keema (minced chicken with beans) and daal mash karahi (lentils).
August 14 is Pakistani Independence Day which makes it a great time to check out this historic Pakistani restaurant in Dubai and enjoy delicious food in a celebratory atmosphere.