Let’s get one thing straight: we are a nation that loves to eat. On the sidewalk, in the end of a dead alleyway, at the back of the bus, on the couch, in our pajamas – you name it, and we’ve been there, chomping down on our favourite meals, wherever we’ve found one.
With the pandemic disrupting our voracious eating out habit, we resigned to our fate of staying in and staying safe. However, we didn’t let that stop us from indulging. In elaborate shawarma wraps, in tender-to-the-touch beef sheek kababs and dripping-in-sauce burgers, all from the comfort of our homes. While some favourite restaurants shut down, others trudged forward, offering delivery and takeaway.
Dhaka undoubtedly has plenty of soul-satisfying meals, but let’s be real – when it comes down to spending a day indoors, wondering, ‘What should we order today?’, the selection process can get pretty overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve taken that load off your shoulders and curated an exhaustive list of Dhaka’s best restaurants that deliver, so that you can get eating, fast.
Carb O’clock: burgers, pizza, rice meals & munchies
Cheat meals begin here. Unbutton those jeans and let your belly fall loose as we’re about to go all out on guilty pleasures – burgers, pizzas, rice meals – you name it. And what better way to enjoy these cheat meals, if not from the comfort of your home?
Topping the burger list is Madchef, home to innovative deshi burgers (the poneer stuffed Dhakaiya or the spicy Naga Blast), providing a twist on every dish, keeping us on our toes. They also have delish rice meals (Achari Rice, Gyro Rice, to name a few). And of course, they’ve got dips for days – garlic mayo, spicy naga, spiced mayo allowing you to build your own flavour combo. Don’t forget to add a side of Masala fries for the full experience!
If you are a burger snob and not in the mood for debate when ordering in, you can always settle for the classic: American Burger. The city’s favourite and oldest burger joint, their simple flame grilled patty has survived everything – the onslaught of a million other burger joints, the pandemic, location moves – they’ve survived it all and how.
If you’re in the mood to splurge, then there’s Farmhouse Burger (order the box of 6 sliders if you’re spoilt for choice!).
If you need a late night carb hit, there’s the trusty Burger King, with their Whoppers or the classic Tendercrisp.
A pizza your heart
When it comes to pizza deliveries, no one likes crust that’s hardened, or lacklustre toppings. For a pizza that travels well and hits the spot, our first choice is the city’s favourite: Bella Italia. Theirs is the perfect balance of a thin, yet foldable crust, basic topics done right and consistency in quality that is unmatched for years.
As the oldest Italian joint in Dhaka, they’re known for their pizzas as much as their pastas ( Al Pomodori Secchi, or Fettuccine Alfredo, anyone?). Order the Pizza Bella Italia if you’re in the mood for something different, or you can settle for the Pizza Bolognese if you want in on a nostalgic trip.
Cheez has become synonymous with pizza in Dhaka, thanks to their flavour profiles that tickle your deshi fancies – something giants like Pizza Hut or Pizza Inn haven’t been able to nail. Their absolute best is the All Bout The Shroom made with a fiery combo of button and black mushroom fungi combined with white sauce, mozzarella, cheddar & feta; topped with spicy onion, roasted tomato, green sauce & sea salt…..hungry yet?
Fat Boy Pies also also deserves a place in this list for their out of the box flavours: Honey Pepperoni, All Star Seafood Olympics and Beef Jalapeno. Their portions are large, ideal for sharing, and price reasonable, so much so that you’ll be tempted to order the entire menu!
Sometimes all we want is a grand deshi spread – be it a piping hot plate of kacchi or a shorisha tel-infused tehari. Well, you’ve come to the right place. If we are going to ditch a home cooked meal for a deshi spread from outside, it’s got to be just as good, if not better! Keeping that in mind we’ve rounded up the following:
For traditional wedding style kacchi that hits the spot every single time, go for Salam’s Kitchen’s Biye Bari Menu (complete with Biye Bari Roast, Firni/Jorda and Borhani), but more adventurous eaters can try Sultan’s Dine with their spiced biryani and generous portions.
If you want something light, then of course, there’s the iconic Tehari Ghar, with their shorisha tel tehari peppered with baby aloos. Originally a hole in the wall joint in Sobhanbag, they’ve got bragging rights as the city’s reigning king of tehari, growing more beloved with every passing year – this year more than others, because now, finally, they deliver!
Now now, as for khichuri, the ultimate Bengali soul food, GPR’s no frill khichuri will transport you to a rainy Friday at home, lazing under the fan as you hear the raindrops pitter-patter at your window sill. It’s simple, it’s flavourful and it tastes like home.
For a more grander alternative, if you’re into achari style letka khichuri, there’s always Premium Sweets. Albeit, on the pricier end, you can opt for the heavy Kala Bhuna rendition, or the basic Achari Chicken Khichuri – both are one-pot wonders that satisfy, time after time.
If you’re on the hunt for a sheek kabab that will have you on your knees, then this is it. This kabab melts in your mouth, like butter on a hot pan. Packing a mighty punch, these kebabs have truly stood the test of time. With branches across Dhaka, all you need is one of these babies and their Special Paratha and you’re set. However, let us warn you that one is never enough.
This list was particularly tough to curate, given Dhaka’s vast offerings of munchies. For us, a snack is a meal and a meal is a snack, depending on how we’re feeling. Regardless of which you consider as what, usually, we’re all just hungry, hankering for a fix. Here’s a spread of fixes for cravings that hit at odd hours of the day:
Ahh…Arax. Perfectly tender Lebanese shawarma, with a garlic sauce that beats the iconic Helvetia sauce we once loved so much. This is love in a wrap, if there ever could be one. They make only one type – the basic chicken shawarma and there’s no reason for them to make another. ‘Nuff said.
Coming in close second to Arax is Durum, offering you a Turkish doner in a range of flavours. The Original Chicken Doner comes with house-made toum, tahini and gherkin, while more adventurous flavours include the Wasabi Mayo Doner and the Pesto Doner.
Anyone who likes deshi shawarma, loves Shawarma House. In the business for years, they aren’t here to prove to you their authenticity as a Turkish doner kabab house or as a Arabian shawarma joint. They’re simply, deliciously, a Bangladeshi shawarma house. Simple, affordable, packed with flavour and house white-sauce, we love them for their spiced chili oil as much as we love them for their bun-style shawarmas.
Best sellers include the Beef Shawarma and the Beef Shawarma Wrap.
Sandwiches & such
Dhaka’s OG bakery is testament to the fact that when it comes to taste tests, what’s good, will always survive the test of time, just like their classic Hunter Beef Sandwich. It reminds you of days gone by, it’s remembered today, and you know you will crave it tomorrow. Some things you just love endlessly, and this sandwich is one of those things.
Holey, the capital’s premier brunch destination, has everything from the best sandwiches to the best brunch items to delicious scones. All their bread is baked daily, in house, which is one reason for their excellence. Recommendations include the Rare Roast Beef Sandwich, Cream Cheese Bagel, Salmon Quiche and the Shakshouka.
Another homegrown cafe that has made its mark on both our hearts and the capital, Tabaq has a strong fan following thanks to their concise menu, packed with crowd pleasing favourites. Chicken Cheesy Grilled Pizza Sandwich, Chicken Tikka Sandwich, the Cheesecake Brownie and the Oreo Cheesecake Bar – this is one place you can snag the best munchies worth your money.
North End, the king of all cafes, not only serves the best coffee, but has a dessert and snack menu to match – and not too many cafes do both right so well. There’s literally nothing on the menu that can be called mediocre – from their decadent brownie to the 3C sandwich, they knock the competition out of the park. Their desserts are also no joke, especially the Cheesecake Parfait with strawberry sauce or caramel chocolate chunk.
With Dhaka being the epicentre of eateries, most of these munchies can be delivered to you hot, and on time, surviving the abuse of travelling, in less than an hour. The next time you’re stuck with the nagging question of ‘What do we order today?’, you know where to look – foodpanda.