The 16 Best Pakistani Restaurants In London

There's a wealth of excellent Pakistani restaurants in the city, spanning legendary Whitechapel canteens, Afghan-influenced Pashtun cooking, and pillowy Ferrero Rocher naans.
The 16 Best Pakistani Restaurants In London image

photo credit: Koray Firat

Even though one of the most famous and celebrated restaurants in London is a Pakistani spot in Whitechapel, there’s so much more to Pakistani cuisine beyond deliciously sizzling lamb chops. Old-school east London karahi canteens, portions of patiently simmered haleem, and Afghan-influenced Pashtun cooking with naan that should have a tog count. London’s best Pakistani restaurants are brilliant, buzzing, and you can find them all over the city. 


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Dinner with the ParentsCasual Weeknight DinnerCatching Up With MatesHalalCheap Eats
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

You can depend on Lahore Karahi in Tooting for excellent creamy chicken tikka masala karahi, being a lively place to bring friends when one of them has a new-found obsession with samosa chaat, and for family meals where plates of steaming biryani are passed around and garlic naans are fought over. As for what’s good on the lengthy menu of Pakistani and North Indian classics, the clue is in the name of the restaurant. The karahi dishes are the highlight, from the rich and spicy king prawn karahi to the zingy paneer number.

We’ve heard there’s an ongoing rivalry between Tooting locals who think Lahore Karahi is the best Pakistani restaurant in the area, and ones who back Dawat all the way. We’re undecided which takes the number one spot, but once we tried the Dawat special mixed grill, we understood why there are family divides over this place. It’s a casual, always buzzing, neighbourhood spot with groups tucking into chicken jalfrezi and friends fighting over the last tandoori king prawn, whether it’s the weekend or a quiet Tuesday night.

Spice Village in Tooting is a bit OTT, with samosa chaat arriving atop a cauldron filled with smoke and mocktails presented in a top hat—with yet more smoke. But theatrics aside, the food is really great. Our go-to order is the spicy prawn karahi and pillowy, perfectly charred naan. While the space is big enough to accommodate groups, the moody lighting and velvet chairs scream date night. There’s a special occasion energy to this place, where you’re just as likely to bring a third date as you are to celebrate a promotion.

There’s little room for dithering at a restaurant like Namak Mandi. The cash-only Pashtun restaurant in Tooting is a constantly fizzing, bubbling, flaming, moving, and smoking box. Families and friends bag one of their tables early, while the hyper-organised head up to their private dining room to attack a pre-ordered whole lamb while sitting cross-legged on cushions. Discus-shaped crispy chapli kebabs being cooked in crackling fat soundtrack the room, enormous hanging Afghan naans float past like edible comfort blankets, and flame-torched woks full of fresh karahi are constantly stirred and swapped. All are essential orders.

The excellent mocktail menu at Karachi Cuisine is the first indicator that the Norbury restaurant is somewhere to come for a good time. The spacious dining room, with purple overhead lighting and bright red booths, is primed for locals celebrating any and every special occasion. Although Karachi Cuisine serves dishes found all over Pakistan and North India, its namesake city, Karachi, has a big influence on the menu. Bun kebab is a must-order— the patty, sandwiched with omelette and salad in a bun, is super soft and spiced.

The Punjabi food coming out of the kitchen at Tayyabs mixes both Pakistani and Indian flavours, and the institutional BYOB Whitechapel spot is famous for a tonne of good reasons. A large chunk of Londoners have got a story to tell about a time here, and pretty much all of them involve a queue of people outside holding jangling bags of drinks and the cheers of excitement when the sizzling lamb chops arrive. These days, the food isn’t the reason people come. The dry curries are passable and those lamb chops get a pass for nostalgic reasons. But as far as a multi-room, always buzzing, truly legendary restaurant goes, Tayyabs is a true part of London’s furniture.

Shalamar Kebab House is a straightforward, white-lit, canteen-style Pakistani restaurant that lives in the literal shadow of Tayyabs. Unlike that legendary London spot, Shalamar is made for swift but always-satisfying meals—from freshly made chicken tikka, naans straight from the tandoor, and steaming piles of biryani. Given its strip lighting and affordable prices, Shalamar isn’t somewhere you tend to spend a lot of time, but it pretty much guarantees a good one when you’re in need of filling flavours.

We suggest coming to Dilpasand in numbers—whether for date night or a post-work team meal over BYOB Kingfishers. There’s a buzzy atmosphere in the evening, especially towards the end of the week. And although the gold-accented dining room is a little chintzy, it feels more ‘special occasion’ than other Whitechapel BYOB spots. Coming in a group also means you can share more dishes. The biryani is a little one note, so instead get a kulcha naan or huge Afghani naan to soak up the rich, deeply spiced lamb nihari.

There are a few restaurants in London that share the Lahore name, but this BYOB Whitechapel institution was the first. Skinny sizzling lamb chops rubbed in a moreish curried marinade are a favourite off the grill along with gently spiced pieces of mutton tikka. The canteen-like space was built for big groups of hungry friends and family. The Punjabi menu covers a lot of ground—from korma to karahi gosht—and if you’re looking for somewhere to please multiple people, Lahore Kebab House has been doing just that for years.

The harsh, spotlight lighting and sparse decoration at Lahori Nihaari don’t immediately make the place feel like somewhere to relax. But after a few minutes at the Upton Park restaurant, the squishy red booths and warm hospitality invite you to get comfortable, and the excellent Pakistani dishes will make you linger. Make sure bhindi gosht or chicken is on your order—whether you get it with chicken or lamb, the tender, stewed okra is a standout. As each dish arrives and evenings wear on, the soundtrack of groups laughing, highchairs being dragged across the restaurant, and families chatting about their day gets louder.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



OpenTable logo

Marble Arch may be an area you’d avoid at all costs on a normal day—we get it, the people traffic on that side of Oxford Street isn’t for the faint-hearted. But this serene Pakistani and North Indian restaurant on New Quebec Street is worth all of the expert swerving of people laden with Primark bags. The warm, inviting glow could either be the work of the little tea lights on each table, or the sizzling tandoori jheenga that arrives in a hot skillet. The moody dim lighting, intimate booths, and downstairs bar make this the ultimate date night move when you’re craving chicken karahi or our go-to order, jheenga bhaati—meaty king prawns in a rich tomato sauce.

A bright and busy Pakistani spot near Edgware Road station, Taste of Lahore is a mini restaurant chain with locations around west London, and has a potato-stuffed naan that we all need in our lives. Spend a couple of hours scooping the lentil-filled haleem with that potato naan, marvelling at the creamy butter chicken curry, and claiming you’re full before going for another spoonful of fragrant lamb biryani. Chaotic family dinners and last-minute catch-ups before catching a train from Paddington are our favourite ways to use this spot. Just make sure you come hungry because the portions are generous.

Gifto’s Lahore Karahi on Southall Broadway feels much warmer than the stark, cavernous space suggests. The rows of long, canteen-style sharing tables are where families pile in, in a jumble of noise, as sizzling skillets of fragrant chapli kebab are whisked to tables. Booths pushed up against bare walls are somewhere you could hunker down in, as attentive staff buzz about. If fall-apart meat in a rich, tomatoey, ginger and cardamom-spiked masala sounds good to you, the chef’s special peshwari chicken is a must-order. There’s nothing to steal focus from the food in a stripped-back spot like this, and Gifto’s doesn’t need the accessories.

We can’t think of many laid-back dinner situations that Aladin Kebabish, a Pakistani spot in Hendon, doesn’t suit. Stepping off the busy, grey broadway and into this restaurant, we were comforted by familiar, homely sights—sports playing on the TV, framed family photos on the walls, and a fish tank sitting atop a chest of drawers. As dishes kept coming out of the kitchen, we relaxed further into our seats, laughed louder, and bickered over the last shards of papadom. Dishes at this restaurant are soothing, especially the qeema masala—a thick, rich gravy, perfect for scooping up with big pieces of garlic naan. Aladin’s phone rings off the hook with people wanting to snag last-minute tables, so book ahead.

If you want to walk into Taste Of Pakistan for an impromptu chapli kebab, you better get down to this Hounslow spot on a midweek lunchtime. Come dinner, it’s guaranteed to be heaving. This Pashtun restaurant is a destination. 4x4s pull up to its driveway and groups pile into the vast, basic, white-lit dining room before filling their table with juicy kebabs, bubbling karahis, and giant naans that hang from hooks like taunting sirens for anyone outside without a reservation. Naseer, the owner, happily holds court and checks whether your velvet-smooth charsi karahi is OK (it’s excellent) and whether you need to make another booking (you absolutely do).

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

Where To Eat Indian Food In London Right Now image

Where To Eat Indian Food In London Right Now

From white tablecloth places to canteen-style spots, these are our 21 favourite Indian restaurants across the city.

Lahore Karahi image

A Tooting stalwart, Lahore Karahi has been serving dependable Pakistani classics since 1995.

Rémy Martin

Otherwise known as the moo krob KO guide. These are the best places to eat Thai food in London.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store