Eating out in Lahore can be as cheap or expensive as you want. But if you’re really trying to save some dough and eat like a king at the same time. You have to hit the streets (literally). This is the first installment of Lahore on a Budget. Click here to see Best Restaurants in Gulberg Lahore.
It’s not rocket science
Lahore on a budget can be fun, satisfying and as adventurous as you want it to be. Some of my best memories of binge eating until my stomach nearly exploded were while eating cheap. So if you can’t afford a fancy meal at Aylanto, here’s your go-to list:
Lahore Chatkhara was Lahore’s first take on Karachi style street food (to my knowledge). Since then it has expanded, disappeared from the map and reappeared over the years. It now comes complete with a revamped social media presence and increased focus on customer service.
Although the chaats are famous I would always go there for the pocket sized bihari sandwiches. It is safe to say that these bihari buns are still an anomaly (in the best way) in Lahore. Just writing this article has made me crave these sandwiches, so guess what I’m having for dinner tonight? Good guess.
Lahore Chatkhara’s menu is not just limited to the sandwiches I keep talking about. Fantastic thaalis, chaats, and a million vegetarian alternatives are also available.
Recommended: Bihari Roll and Samosa Chaat
Capri is more Lahori than me. It’s also one of the first places that came to mind when I thought of eating in Lahore on a budget.
Named after the once acclaimed Capri Cinema (the Lahore variant, not the Karachi sensation), this famous eatery has been around for a hot minute. I remember skipping school and collecting our lunch money to get a nashta [breakfast]. It’s safe to say the lunch money went a long way. And while I’m not as adventurous as I was in my teens, I still can’t resist a nostalgic party every few weeks.
Capri offers almost everything you could wish for: Channay, Aaloo Channay, Nihari, Sujji Ka Halwa, Puri, Khamiri Roti, Samosas in the evening; actually a good breakfast solution for early risers and night owls.
Recommended: Nashta board (aaloo channay, puri, halwa, achaar)
JOHNNY AND JUGNU
Johnny and Jugnu were all about Lahore on a budget when they came up with their crazy menu. They had a crazy marketing campaign from day one and that’s how they got me. The real product was just the cherry on top.
Johnny and Jugnu initially went viral. Their social media game is legit, and their burgers and wraps are delicious. It’s take out or delivery only so don’t expect white tablecloths but it does what it does in the nicest way possible. I am forever addicted to their fried chicken offerings, and I shamelessly represent them at every social gathering where they are discussed.
On the bare-bones menu we have a Wrap, complete with fries in it, a Wehshi Zinger Burger, a Filet Burger and an Andaa Shaami Burger. Customize them your way with homemade sauces galore, some veggies, add a fried egg, maybe some cheese, all for less than Rs. 500. What did you think?
Wehshi Zinger with cheese and Atomic sauce is highly recommended.
SARRAK PE KARRAK
In our review, C+G Sarrak Pe Karrak mentioned “A Dhaba with a Twist”. It started as a fad and has really maintained its fame ever since. Media outlets (including us) have treated them like it’s nobody’s business, and I’m happy to say we’re still struggling.
Clean, sleek and with all the right benefits, SPK has reimagined a dhaba and executed the plan seamlessly. They have in-house board games and vintage art on the walls, and you’d love it, even if it’s just because you’re a pseudo-intellectual. I personally go there for endless hours Ludo.
Looking for a strong cup of tea? Sarrak Pe Karrak has your back, and then some. Their sub-Rs. 500 offers are delightful and I have yet to find someone who disagrees with their philosophy. Try the paratha, or the crispy fries, because you have to stay crispy.
Recommended: Crispy fries and chai.
CHAUDAIRY ICE CREAM
DHA has a new ice cream parlor, who would have thought? The Hot Spot, Cosa, Andersen’s all in the same place means the competition is tough so it really takes something special to stand out. Chaudary Ice Cream does just that.
There’s a lot more to love about this creamery than its comedic name. Noor loves the Lindt Milky ice cream, and I usually agree with most things Lindt (this would be a great time to hook up my DHA-famous Lindt cake). The decor of the store is eccentric, but even that might be an understatement. I think you should just read our review to find out.
Go for the music and ice cream it’s a cool little evening spot. In short, just check it out, you cheap skater. It won’t make you bleed dry.
Recommended: Lindt milky ice cream and a side of sass.
I dream of Awesamosas. For me they need no introduction, they are the beginning and the end of my culinary journey especially when we talk about cheap eats in Lahore. But for you lame asses, I’ll fill you in.
Lahore Eat three years ago was a godsend as it introduced me to Awesamosas. I’ve been in touch with Daniyal (one of the founders) ever since and they’ve been really good to me (the samosas, as well as the Awesamosa team). I once bought my qeema (ground beef) samosas from Nimco in Karachi, but Awesamosas had something to say about it. So I listened. And boy, am I glad I did.
On the menu: Caramelized Onion Samosas, Hyderbadi Aaloo Samosas, Reese’s Samosas, Apple Pie Samosas, Steamosas, Supakoras, etc. etc. etc.
Recommended: Dam ka Qeema Samosas
So I yelled at my editors when I heard we hadn’t reviewed Robbiya yet. They don’t get it. They probably never will, but that’s why I have to take care of you. Obviously we will do a review as soon as possible.
Robbiya is made of the blood, sweat and tears of their staff. I mean, I’m sure there’s sugar and dairy out there somewhere, but it’s mostly the other stuff. I remember people starting to boycott it because their staff used their bare hands to mix up the ice cream. Good. More for me! I do not give a hoot.
Seriously, you’d be an idiot not to risk food poisoning for this ice cream. I have been poisoned twice and I am still repeating it immensely.
Suggestion: Those cheap ass cones with the 2-in-1 ice cream with a whole heap of that chocolate syrup that freezes on contact with cool surfaces. See also Best restaurants in Lahore Gulberg.