Lahore on a Budget: 7 Restaurants for less than Rs. 500 | Part 2
Tired of elaborate meals that cost an arm and a leg? Then we’ve got the perfect list for you. Last year, we wrote about restaurants in Lahore that won’t break the bank. Here’s our second (!) edition of Lahore on a Budget. Enjoy!
Watching your pocket in Lahore means discovery. Every street corner has a unique story, and every hawker cooks the best something, or the other. So when Sakura ain’t for you, check out these picks:
Arif Chatkhara is the tikka you’ve probably seen around, but haven’t had the fortune of trying yet. Once a ‘hidden’ gem of the Walled City, you now see Arif Chatkhara’s pop-up stalls at all major food festivals in Lahore. Someone decided to test the market, and I’m glad that they did. Arif Chatkhara does a magical spread.
The tawa chicken is the main event here. Green chilies and millions of lemons and spices can be tweaked to provide a Nando’s-like experience: medium, hot, or extra hot. Simmered on a tawa with butter and oil, these chicken pieces are fall apart delicious. They’re swooped up with a half-fried naan from the tawa, which doubles as the packaging. Novel.
Unbeknownst to most people, Arif Chatkhara’s menu is not simply restricted to the tawa chicken. The Anda Tikki is fantastic. It’s basically a combo of shami kebab and egg smothered with butter and broken down to the point of uniformity; it’s the perfect savoriness to offset the spice.
Recommended: Spicy Tawa Chicken and Anda Tikki (it’s everything on their menu)
Saadiq Murgh Channay
Naan Channay are an extremely Lahori thing, especially when you’re on a budget. Saadiq Murgh Channay is more or less quintessential to the naan channay experience in Lahore.
On the famous Gawalmandi Food Street, Saadiq presents itself as a hole in the wall. I was late to the game and only found out about it a couple of years ago, but boy am I glad that I did. Cheap, hearty and wholesome, it’s an award-winning combo. Saadiq has no in-house tandoor, owing to the quaint nature of the shop in the first place; this means you get your pick of nearby tandoors for your carbage. It’s definitely a plus point, and you don’t hear people complaining.
Saadiq offers three distinct options for diners: brothy, salty, saaday [plain] channay, channay with nargisi koftay, and murgh channay.
Recommended: a big bowl of saaday channay with kulchay.
Jaidi Paan Shop isn’t really known for anything other than paan and cigarettes. But as pan shops look to expand into the food and beverage space, they may hit a home run. Jaidi has done exactly that with their biryani, and we can’t seem to get enough. In fact, Jaidi Biryani compelled Purnea to write a dedicated article.
Flavorful rice whisked in buttery goodness, made as spicy as you’d like it, complete with roasted potatoes. Add a short delivery time to the mix and an unbeatable price for humongous portions, you’d be hard pressed to look elsewhere. Current meal packages include a shami kebab per serving, raita, achaar, firni, a kachumar salad, and a drink for a steal. The perfect candidate for doing Lahore on a budget.
It’s just biryani here in terms of the menu. The half-plate should be good for anyone looking to get a light meal in (as light as biryani can be). Hungrier patrons should go for a more-than-ample full plate. If you’d like to share, go for the jumbo.
Recommended: Full plate of biryani with all the spices you can ask for.
Lily's Khow Suey
In our review, Purnea called Lily’s Khow Suey a “homely fix to our midday binges”. Lily’s has a cult following and they’re loyal because there’s absolutely no compromise on quality. It’s one of our top picks for warm, homemade food that tastes just like love.
Well packaged and with customer service that puts 5-star hotels to shame, Lily’s Khow Suey is right on the money. Simple, clean flavors build up to something larger than the sum of its parts. You assemble the ingredients like a composition, tweaking every bit of every bite, and that means there’s something for everyone. Eggs, crispy noodles, egg noodles, green onions, coconut milk based chicken curry, chili flakes, coriander and lemon slices leave little else to be desired.
Looking for that feel good meal that won’t have you strapped for cash? Lily’s Khow Suey has your back. I have yet to find someone who disagrees with their philosophy.
Recommended: Khow Suey, of course
I’m going to go ahead and say that Home Grown does one of the best burgers in Lahore. With the plethora of burger joints popping up left, right and center, it’s hard to shine. But Home Grown does it, effortlessly. This no-frills burger spot is the perfect pick for Lahore on a budget.
How exciting could building your own burger be? Very. For starters (hehe, there’s no starters on the menu), you have a charcoal grilled beef or chicken patty with an option of white or brown buns. There’s your standard BLT but more exciting options like sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, pickled cucumbers and more premium options like turkey bacon and beef pepperoni are apt for wondrous customization. There’s no mistaking the magic in the patty.
For the right budget, you can get a kick-ass burger that won’t leave you high and dry. Order yours today!
Recommended: Beef patty, white buns, caramelized onions, cheese, pickles, turkey bacon, garlic mayo.
Doughlicious is a favorite, mostly because of how innovative they are. They’ve managed to successfully combine a doughnut and an ice-cream cone into a delicious hybrid. Soft serve vanilla ice-cream scooped onto a cinnamon-iced doughnut cone that has been layered with Nutella on the inside. Doesn’t get much better than that. The cone is decorated with a chocolate wafer, and edible golden stars, for the princess in you.
If that’s too experimental for you they’ve got a few tamer options such as Belgian waffles, donut holes, donut sandwiches and, as of late, cheesy pizza cones. See? Even squares can have fun at Doughlicious.
Recommended: Their Dream Cone had Urooj swooning.
Waffles by Alamgir
Waffles by Alamgir is an ice cream kiosk that has been functioning for decades at Main Market Gulberg. Alamgir Ali is the man behind these famous waffle cones and half of the charm of visiting is running into him. This soft ice cream cone comes in two flavors; vanilla and coffee, and is topped off with a lot of nuts, chocolate, peanut-brittle and bits of the waffle biscuit.
The best part is that for Rs. 100 you get an ice-cream cone with a waffle as good as the one at Cosa Nostra, if not better. I know this sounds like a tall claim but everyone who has had Alamgir’s cones can vouch for this. Still don’t believe me? Then check it out for yourself.