“The restaurant's ambience is peaceful and unhurried."
Chai is well-loved by Desi people all across the globe.
While chai is made on a daily basis within Desi households, you cannot deny that there is a certain charm when visiting a chai stall or café.
An authentic cup of chai, accompanied by a cool ambience and good friends in the evening – the vibes are unmatched.
The South Asia diaspora have opened up many chai places, selling perfectly brewed Desi chai, across the world.
Britain has many places that you could visit to fulfil your masala chai cravings, especially in London.
However, there is no country that does chai quite like Pakistan.
When in Pakistan it is guaranteed that you can purchase a cup of warm chai wherever you go, no matter the time.
Chai places in Pakistan are well-loved by locals and tourists alike.
Every area in Pakistan is full to the brim with an abundance of chai stalls offering a variety of chai, food and vibes.
Pakistan’s fourth-largest city, Rawalpindi, is no different.
Rawalpindi is a city with a lot to offer, with great food, attractions, history, and heritage. It is a bustling city that is a must-visit when in Pakistan.
Similarly, Rawalpindi certainly does not disappoint on the chai front.
So without further ado, DESIblitz has compiled a list of the five best chai spots to visit when in Rawalpindi.
Chikachino, established in 2017, is a modern Pakistani street food café. It is located in Bahria Town phase 4, right next to the Arena cinema.
Chikachino is aimed at a younger demographic with its very relaxing vibe and urban décor.
The décor is sure to lift your mood. The café is decorated with vibrant yellow furniture and walls, with contrasting blacks.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating available. The outdoor seating is decorated with vibrant fairy lights, which adds a nice atmosphere in the late evenings.
Chikachino’s is open from 4 pm to 3 am daily and serves a range of food and drink.
They have an extensive chai menu, offering 10 different types.
This menu includes:
- Chikachino Chai
- Peshwari Kahwa
- Dar Chini Kahwa
- Gur Wali
- Malakand Kawa
They are priced between Rs. 139-229 (59p-98p).
To accompany your chai, Chikachino frequently has music playing and sometimes even live music, which really adds to the chill vibes of the place.
One customer referred to Chikachino as: “A hip place to hang out.”
“You can order their Karak chai, enjoy the music and catch up with friends. Recommended for group meetups.”
While another praised the ambience:
“The restaurant’s ambience is peaceful and unhurried. Highly recommended.”
The key to a great chai place is good food to accompany it and Chikachino certainly does not disappoint on the food front.
Alongside their extensive chai selection is a vast menu consisting of different chaats, burgers, BBQ platters and paratha rolls.
They also have a unique menu of 13 filled parathas, which are priced between Rs. 229-639 (98p – £2.75). The flavours consist of:
- Pindi Anda Paratha
- Aloo Paratha
- Pizza Paratha
- Nutella Paratha
- Chicken Paratha
- Charsada Paratha
- Hyderabadi Chili Cheese Paratha
- Beef Keema Paratha
- Gur Paratha
- Balai Paratha
- Chini Paratha
- Hara Chicken Cheese Paratha
Customers frequently praise the vast range of food:
“My go-to place for Gol Gappe Bun, rolls, Paratha, chai and samosas. Order anything and you will love it, plus songs are great.”
Another customer spoke highly of the Chikachino’s chaats:
“Love the place and the food. Had papri chat, bano bazar samosa chat and it was delicious.”
While another customer swears that Chikachino sells the best jalebi in Rawalpindi, explaining:
“Their jalebi was a different breed and really good. I also tried their hot gulab jamun and doodh jalebi, which were also good.”
Chikachino is the full package that offers a modern quirky ambience, amazing chai and music.
Visit their Instagram here.
The Grand Truck
If you are looking for a different vibe to fulfil your chai cravings then The Grand Truck is the place to go.
When visiting Pakistan the first thing you are bound to notice is the vibrantly decorated trucks. Truck art is a much-loved cultural tradition in Pakistan.
The trucks include intricate calligraphy and designs that usually hold a much deeper meaning beyond their aesthetic qualities.
Over the years truck art has been reproduced in fashion and homeware, however more recently has also been seen within the food industry.
The Grand Truck, located in Rawalpindi’s Bahria Town Phase 7, is Pakistan’s first-ever truck art food truck.
The spot opened in 2020 and has quickly become popular amongst the locals.
At first glance it looks just like the vibrantly decorated trucks you see on the roads, however, it sells food and drink.
Their menu includes three types of Desi tea: Pink chai, Karak chai and Elachi chai. They are reasonably priced between Rs. 139-199 (59-85p).
Alongside the chai options, they also sell a range of Pakistani street food, such as pakoras and a chaat named ‘Ami Ji Kay Bhallay’.
The Grand Truck has a unique samosa menu.
It includes a cheese sausage mushroom, a chicken tikka cheese, a fajita tikka cheese and your classic Desi aloo samosa.
Their menu is reasonably priced between Rs. 35 (15p) and Rs. 565 (£2.48).
This chai spot gives off a very chilled vibe. Next to the truck is a seating area decorated with fairy lights.
It is a perfect spot to visit in the late evening with friends.
One customer stated:
“I enjoyed the secluded location with scrumptious halwa poori platter topped off with elachi-waali chai. Good food and reasonably priced.”
While another spoke of the ambience:
“Halwa puri platter, morning sunshine, truck with art and music is a perfect combo.”
The Grand Truck is a must to visit if you are a lover of unique chai spots, Pakistani street food, and the vibrancy of truck art.
Visit their Instagram page here.
Chai Junction is located in Bahria Town phase 4 in the Riveria Food Court as part of the larger Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area.
It was founded by two young professionals who felt that Rawalpindi did not have a place for young people to hang out in a casual upbeat atmosphere.
Chai Junction believe that chai is a great point of connection between individuals, they explain:
“Meetups usually needs a point of convergence and Chai was an obvious choice, as they say, Pakistan runs on chai.”
Chai Junction has a menu of 11 different chais, available in both small and large sizes. The chai options include:
- Doodh Patti
- Gur Wali
Their chai range does not stop there!
Cha Junction also has 3 special Matka chais available, all of which are served in a Matka pot. The matka range includes: Special Matka, Kashmiri and Matkachino.
Watch how Chai Junction’s Matka Chai is Made:
The chai is reasonably priced between Rs. 80-250 (35p-£1.08).
Chai Junction’s food menu consists of samosa, pakora, roll parathas, sandwiches and noodles.
The Matka chai is certainly a firm favourite amongst customers, with one customer stating:
“Matkachino chai is the best tea, and their fries and Pakoras are cooked to perfection with very little oil. Highly recommended.”
“Loved their Nutella paratha the most. The Matka chai was on point too. “
However, if you are not in a chai mood they also have a range of ‘chillers’ available. These include doodh soda, lassi, milkshakes and fruity drinks.
Chai Junction has certainly achieved its aim of providing a casual place for young people to hang out, with customers frequently complementing the ambience:
“Really nice and cosy place to sit outdoors, have a warm cup of tea and have a chat with friends and family. Worth a try if you’re in the area.”
“Casual, fun outdoor place. Great for summer evening hangouts.”
They don’t just offer food and drink, but also some entertainment. One customer said:
“I really liked the place because of the environment there.
“They offer ludo or cards to the customers to play while waiting for food and even after the munch is over.”
Occasionally they also have events such as game tournaments or live viewings of sport finals to enjoy while drinking your chai.
Chai Junction is the spot to go to if you want a casual evening of good food and drink with friends that doesn’t break the bank.
Chaaye Khana is a chain of restaurants, with one in Rawalpindi’s Saddar area.
Chaaye Khana, as the name suggests, serves both chai and ‘khana’ (food).
A customer said: “The perfect place for a nice relaxing cup of chai.
“I’ve heard a lot about Chaaye Khana from a friend and I must say it lived up to the recommendation every bit.”
Chaaye Khana, alongside your usual teas and coffees, have a selection of six Desi chais.
These include Regular chai, Special chai, Doodh Patti, Peshwari kehva, Masala chai and a Kashmiri chai.
They are priced between Rs. 120-295 (51p-£1.27).
This spot is well-loved for its selection of chai, however, one TripAdvisor user said:
“It’s more than a chai place, we ordered waffles and doodh pati… both were very delightful.”
Chaaye Khana also serves a variety of food from pizza to samosas and wraps. However, the breakfast menu is very popular among customers.
Their breakfast menu includes a selection of paratha, halwa puri and a selection of omelettes, such as cheese, mushroom and spinach.
In particular, customers rave how their omelettes and French toast are a must when visiting Chaaye Khana.
Chaaye Khana has more of a family feel to it, compared to other chai cafés.
Nevertheless, customers have similarly praised the ambience, with one TripAdvisor user saying:
“If friends or couples or families wanna spend time for gupshup, it’s a very good place because of its cosy atmosphere ambience.”
Another said: “One can sit with friends in a homely environment.”
So, if you are looking for a family-friendly chai place, check out Chaaye Khana.
Tab-E-Dar Matka Junction
Tab-E-Dar Matka Junction opened in 2020 and is an outdoor café that specialises in Matka chai.
It is located at 42 Haider Road in Saddar.
Tabedar Matka Junction sells a small selection of food, which consists of hot wings, burgers and a zinger roll paratha.
All of their food items are priced under Rs. 390 (£1.68), which makes it a great budget-friendly café.
However, the real charm of Tab-E-Dar Matka Junction lies in their drinks menu.
The menu consists of eight chais, all served in Matka pots. The options are:
- Matka Karak
- Matka Doodh Pati
- Matka Shahi
- Matka Ginger
- Matka Dar Chini
- Matka Kashmir
- TD’s Special
They are very affordably priced between Rs. 90-150 (39p- 65p)
Tab-E-Dar Matka Junction is an outdoor café, but it is still decorated in a way that makes it a comfortable experience for customers.
The area is full of sofas, chairs and tables, as well as fairy lights, providing a cosy atmosphere.
One customer mentioned how it makes an amazing spot for entertainment, stating:
“It’s a great place for friends gathering. They have ludo on every table.”
The café always has some amazing music playing and sometimes even has live music.
In the past, they have hosted a live Qawwali night and other musical nights.
Tabedar Matka Junction is a great budget-friendly chai option if you are looking for some authentic Matka chai and great music.
Visiting an authentic chai place while in Pakistan is an absolute must.
We have brought you a list of some chai places to check out in Rawalpindi.
These places combine great food, music and a relaxed atmosphere with a warm cup of Desi chai.
So the next time you are craving a cup of Desi chai and are in Rawalpindi, it is worth checking out some of these places.