Pakistan Travel Companion – Little Kept Secret


Islamabad Kabul Restaurant in Sector F/7

Captain Dan Hanley – Islamabad, Pakistan


(May 19, 2011) – While many foreign travelers may shudder these politically troubled days at the thought of enjoying a great meal in Islamabad, Pakistan at phenomenally convenient prices, one of my favorite haunts for exquisite ethnic cuisine is the Kabul Restaurant in Sector F/7 in the heart of Islamabad.

Located conveniently on College Road in the Jinnah Market, the tantalizing aroma of fresh skewed kebab roasting on an outside open grill alongside other Afghan delicacies captures your attention even before you enter the premises.  Housed on two floors, the prompt service, ethnic atmosphere and especially the scrumptious cuisine offered on the menu puts this restaurant at the top of my list when dining in Islamabad.

The main dining room is located on the second floor and, adorned with long tables surrounded by intimately snuggled side table seating, on any given evening one may find it always crowded with Pakistani, Afghan, embassy workers, and many tourists.  Outside seating café style is also available along College Road.

Service is prompt and courteous despite the overburdened waiters who eagerly satisfy your every need with a simple wave of your hand in their direction.

By western standards, the huge portions of delicious mounds of rice laced with meat and vegetables compliment the warm toasted roti and mouth-watering tender meat offerings at this quaint restaurant.  A wide variety of beverages are also available.

For those unfamiliar with roti, the flat bread offered at most restaurants as standard bill of fare, it is a large round flat bread prepared with flour and water and toasted warm on a flat skillet that could serve as a meal in itself with the proper condiments.

At Kabul Restaurant, this warm bread is served hot out of the mud ovens to your table along side mounds of rice the size of the Margalla Hills, the Himalaya foothills adjacent to Islamabad and a great tourist location to be discussed in a future column.

The specialty of the house is their beef and chicken kabob served in overly-generous amounts on skewers at your table.  Waiters will gladly unskewer the meat for you with one slide of the knife down the the skewer and onto the plate.

Few realize that over 1.6 million registered Afghans have fled their native land to settle in Pakistan to open various businesses with their families.  In spite of heightened political tensions in the region, patrons of the establishment have always received our family with reserved, but warm reception, which is not uncommon throughout Pakistan in these troubled times.

With regard to family closeness and values, the rich Pakistani culture is mainly unique compared to the hustle-bustle two-income earning families of the west.  Heartwarming to say the least, the sight of a large Afghan or Pakistani family sharing a friendly meal on austere budgets at the large tables of this restaurant as compared to a fast swing through the local McDonald’s for a Big Mac, as we see oft times in the west, serves as an example of what has been lost in the global economy throughout the world.

For a family of four, you can hobble out of this restaurant with an overstuffed belly and a fat wallet for around 2500 rupees or $30 in U.S. dollars.  Tipping is generally offered at 10-15% to waiters.

But don’t take my word for it, experience it for yourself!  For those more serious, less daring and timid souls who might be reluctant, as an admired poet once said:

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

~ Oscar Wilde ~

Most all believe that we only get to dance down the path of life but once, so dance, live, learn and love.  Lighten up; be daring…visit the Kabul Restaurant on your next visit to Islamabad!



Captain Dan Hanley resides with his Pakistani bride, Huma Hashmi-Hanley, and their two children in Islamabad, Pakistan where they are currently launching an NGO in hopes of heightening global awareness while providing relief to the ‘forgotten ones’ in the flooded areas of the country and other locations elsewhere in southwest Asia.





In Brief [Correction 12/19/07]

The Washington Post December 6, 2007 Montgomery County officials last week broke ground for the construction of the first new fire station in Germantown since 1980.

The $10 million Germantown/Kingsview Fire Station No. 22 will be located at the intersection of Route 117 and Route 118 and is scheduled for completion in late 2008.

In recent years, residents of the Upcounty area have complained about the lack of fire stations in the fast-growing area.

“I have been working with the community since before I was elected to get this issue addressed,” said council member Michael Knapp (D-Upcounty) in a statement. “This groundbreaking signifies a huge step forward in the protection of our residents and is only the first of four groundbreakings we will have for fire stations in the Upcounty area in coming years.” Currently, the Germantown area has only one fire station.

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville this week celebrated the opening of its new patient tower, which will add 144 private patient rooms, marking the first major expansion since the hospital opened in 1979. web site fitzgerald auto mall

The tower, part of a four-year, $100 million expansion project, also will house the Surgical Services Department, scheduled to open in February. The new surgical area will include 16 operating rooms, private consultation rooms and new technology such as flat-screen televisions in each room.

The tower’s second floor also will feature a healing garden, intended to provide a place for patients, visitors and staff to relax. The hospital’s foundation is working to cover the cost of the garden, which is scheduled for construction by the end of 2008.

The tower also houses expanded space for several patient care units, including oncology, maternity, orthopedics, medicine and pre- and post-surgical patients.

The Montgomery County Affordable Housing Task Force is sponsoring a series of work sessions this month to get community input on plans to address affordable housing. The first meeting was Tuesday. The five remaining sessions will be held over the next two weeks.

7-9 p.m. today. Wheaton Community Center, 11711 Georgia Ave.

2-4 p.m. Tuesday. Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Ave.

7-9 p.m. Wednesday. Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3131 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring. go to web site fitzgerald auto mall

7-9 p.m. next Thursday. Long Branch Community Center, 8700 Piney Branch Rd., Silver Spring.

7-9 p.m. Dec. 17. Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane.

County residents can safely dispose of sensitive personal documents as part of a community shred event at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds on Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m.

Residents are advised to shred all documents that they are not required to keep for records or tax purposes. Recommended items for shredding include credit card bills, summaries and receipts, ATM receipts, bank statements, cancelled and voided checks, employment pay stubs and expired identification cards.

Residents can bring a maximum of five boxes of materials to be shredded. No business or commercial materials will be accepted.

For more information, call 240-777-8000.

Montgomery County parents will be able to get their child-safety car seats inspected at a free car seat checkup from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Rockville.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) will be joining the event. No appointment is necessary.

County residents can also have child-safety seats inspected for free by appointment at one of three inspection stations operated by the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service according to the following schedule:

7:30 .m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the first Saturday of each month. Safe Kids Montgomery County, 14111 Georgia Ave., Aspen Hill.

7-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. the first Saturday of each month. Criswell Chevrolet, 503 Quince Orchard Rd., Gaithersburg.

8 a.m.-noon Wednesday and 8 a.m.-noon the second Saturday of each month. Great Beginnings children’s store, 18501 N. Frederick Rd., Gaithersburg.

To schedule an appointment, call 240-777-2223.

Parking fees at Rockville’s downtown Town Square development will be waived during the holiday season in three garages owned by the city. The parking garage on North Washington Street has 224 public spaces, the Maryland Avenue garage has about 120 spaces and the Rockville Pike garage has more than 620 public spaces.

Patrons will still have to pay for street parking at meters in and around Town Square. In January, city officials will announce a date when parking fees will be charged again in the garages.



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