Pakistani-Indian food in downtown San Francisco: Lahore Karahi

Lahore Karahi curry san francisco

Downtown San Francisco has a lot of Indian and Pakistani restaurants but which one to choose? Some are awful, others merely average. So I was thrilled to find Lahore Karahi on O’Farrell Street at Leavenworth (the Tenderloin), just a few blocks north of Union Square. The owner, Zulfiqar “Guddu” Haider runs the place. He is the chef, cooking up delightful fiery curries and tandoori dishes from behind the counter. I ordered the tandoori fish which came on a hot sizzling plate, and the saag paneer (spinach with cheese). The spices he used for the fish and the saag paneer were not the ones commonly used in other Indian or Pakistani restaurants. These dishes were more savoury and unusual. The garlic naan was out of this world: thin, hot out of the oven, crunchy and spicy.

  • Vibe: ethnic dive in the Tenderloin
  • Pros: best Pakistani-Indian food in downtown San Francisco and for miles around; the dishes are much more delicious than similar ones in other restaurants because the chef uses different spices; the tandoori fish and garlic naan were fabulous. It also provides takeaway service.
  • Cons: service can be slow because at times, it’s only the owner working there as chef, waiter and bus boy. The neighborhood, the Tenderloin, has a lot of homeless people and strange characters. During the day it’s okay, at night, probably more creepy. But that shouldn’t stop you from heading down to Lahore Karahi.

Lahore Karahi
612 O’Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
+1 415 567 8603

Lahore Karahi on Urbanspoon

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.