Saturday, 7 January 2012

Gracias for a Spanish experience- Cafe Gracias

Gracias for a Spanish experience- Cafe Gracias

Gracias is a warm and welcoming addition to the Karachi fine dining scene, a gorgeous establishment serving Mexican and Spanish style cuisine.

 Located at Badar Commerical-DHA, the eatery is  run by two young lovely entrepreneur sisters Sidrah and Hifza. Their love of cooking coupled with Spanish culture and music resulted in this gorgeous establishment serving Mexican and Spanish style cuisine. Hifza is the brain behind the concept and runs the place full time. A software engineer, who quit after three years of working in the corporate world to follow her dreams of opening a restaurant. It is amazing to see the enthusiasm and dedication with which these two very young ladies are working hard to make this place unique from any ordinary eating-place. They are personally involved in every aspect right from interior designing of the place to creating new recipes, training the staff and ensuring the customers leave satisfied. One of the things I absolutely loved right away about this place is its decor and ambiance. Ninety percent of the interior designing is personally done by the sisters themselves, in brightly colored and decorated with beautiful murals on the walls and hanging lamps. Each of these square shaped lamp shades are screen printed on all four sides with works of famous classic artists that include Da Vinci, Michael Angelo etc. With the soft Spanish music in the background, an ordinary lunch or dinner becomes a memorable gastronomic experience. 

The team at work appears highly trained; the food is prepared and artistically presented by a seasoned chef. The staff at the Gracias, was friendly and helpful, the waitors were knowledgeable about the food and could answer questions about what was in the dishes, what they tasted like and help you choose from the menu.

Gracias is among very few eateries in Karachi that serves mouth watering and authentic Mexican food. The menu offers a good selection of meat, poultry and seafood entrees’ cooked in Spanish, Mexican and Italian Style. Chilies and spicy taste is common among Mexican and Pakistani cuisine, so the food here definitely appeals to Pakistani palates. Appetizers and salads offer to tantalize the
taste buds before the main course. My pick among the appetizers were Nachos, and Bruchettas which are unique in their taste, crunchy and moderatly spicy complete with salsa and sour cream, makes great appetizers to begin with. However the nachos can be improved with a little more of the toppings on it. The food is hot, but not very spicy. It's homemade and fresh taste is far superior to what we typically get in chain restaurants.

During a few recent visits to the restaurant followed by a food shoot, I got an experience of eating a range of their dishes . Gracias signature dishes includes Tacos, Burritos and Enchiladas available in both beef and chicken fillings, loaded with beans, cheese and chillies fillings, tastefully prepared topped with salsa and jalapeno. Just dip in the sour cream and sink your teeth in.

The menu lists some scrumptuous preparations of sea food, other then crispy fried calamari, their Grilled Fish with Tamarind sauce and the Crispy Fish Fillet both dishes cooked with the fresh catch of snappers is the restaurants’ specialty. They also serve a variety of steaks cooked with the prime cut of juiciest beef, one can find almost all popular steaks here, done to perfection, topped with great sauces and sides. The menu is a little weaker on sandwiches; apart from three different sandwich entrees, there are no burgers. The meat dishes are marinated in choicest of ingredients that are mostly imported. However, I often wonder why most restaurant owners import the ingredients, rather then using the local fresh ingredients. Talking to Hifza, she mentioned two reasons, firstly they are not continually available, secondly there is a lot of deviation in the quality which makes it difficult for them to maintain the quality of food, and so they prefer importing their ingredients.

 Now talking about the drinks menu; of course to wash down all these zesty meals one definitely need something to drink, and wow The Red Lady cocktail was a pleasant surprise. A cool, refreshing, perfectly blended drink of beetroot, banana and lemon. My next favorite on their list which I tried were cucumber and mint lemonade, and the most unique was the sweet tasting, mixed fruit punch. Gracias also offers freshly pressed juices of the fruits in season. The fried ice cream –turned out exploding with textures and flavors. A downright treat for sweet tooth, which no one can have just once. Having said that at this time the choice of deserts is limited to only three, I am sure as the restaurant picks up there will be more to select from. 


During the conversation the owners share the future plans for the restaurants; they will soon come up with Burgers as well as Tapas and Pella. Also, they have an expansion plan at the basement to increase the current seating capacity. The restaurant definitely have a long way to go and definitely promises to make this little initiative into the talk of the town for Mexican food lovers. 

Blog write up; Farah Kamal
Photography: Farah Kamal
This blog published in Express Tribune


  1. Great to see all this food stuff. I just saw these pics after having lunch but got hungry again!

  2. Thank you so much Farah... What a beautiful review & awesome photography! We at Cafe Gracias are humbly thankful to you =) God bless you always!