Restaurants in Dhaka – Part Five

80 down… here are 61-80. Read roundup part one, part two, part three, and part four to read about the previous 60 eateries I’ve tried in Dhaka. Other than word of mouth (!), read about where I find the restaurants to try. I also scout for new places when I’m out and about and I welcome recommendations.

The lunch buffet at Istanbul is only 1000 taka.
The lunch buffet at Istanbul is only 1000 taka.

Orange and a Half cafe (7/13): New place! Cafe with coffee, shakes, desserts, and sandwiches. Located in Tejgaon, the industrial zone. The cafe is hip looking and located in the Shanta Western building. The owners want a “western” level place. Let’s see if they can reach it. For not, it’s coffee is okay, some of the sandwiches and cakes are okay… let’s see how they do once they have been open for a while. Their goal is to match Gloria Jean’s.

Ideas Manzil (11/13): International guest house with private set menus – Bangladeshi, Indian, Thai, European, and seafood. All the food was fresh. The antique shopping was also fun. Unique location much like a secret garden in Dhaka. You must contact them ahead of time to arrange the menu. Owned by an expat.

Mallika Snacks (8/13): Phoughka. It’s a local place and it’s more a snack place. Best phoughka in the Gulshan area. Very local place.

KFChicken (9/13) on Road 13: Batter fried chicken. The best fried chicken in Dhaka.

Sakura Golden Rice (5/13) near road 118: Chinese/Japanese/Bangladeshi. Reopened and still mediocre watered down food.

Istanbul (12/13): Turkish. Road 118. You can’t even tell you’re in Dhaka. It’s a massive multi-world restaurant with wood fire oven, Las Vegas painted sky ceiling, and a two level castle for children. They have a creamery on location and sell fresh cheese and bread. Soon will have a level with hookah/nargile/water pipe.

Topkapi (6/13): Buffet. Mostly Bangladeshi and Thai food. The papaya salad was not bad and it was spicy!

Emerald Thai (8/13): Thai. Located in Uttara near the flagship Arong store but very hard to find… interior decor is elegant but the food is not Thai spicy. Made for the Bangladeshi palate.

New Cathay (10/13): Chinese. This new location in Banani, on Road 11, is modern looking but the food and the waiters are as good as they have been for 25 years.

Gloria Jean’s (7/13): Cafe with food. Nice enough atmosphere inside and a place to hang out and grab a light bite to eat. Wi-fi and perky staff seem to be some of the reasons there’s hype about this place. I’m not really into it but then I don’t need a cafe to work from.

Nagasaki (7/13): Japanese. This place is like stepping back in time 50 years… there are holes under the tables so that you sit Japanese style but don’t have to sit on the floor if you are out of practice. Soggy rice. Not fresh sashimi. Located out in Uttara.

Just Juice (4/13): Juice and sandwiches. Has a few seats out in front and is otherwise a very small shop.

Attin (9/13): Arabic. Located on Road 27 in Gulshan, this is a hipster sort of place with a rustic loft feel. The middle eastern appetizers are not bad and the waiters are talkative.

Cuppa Coffee Cafe (7/13): Continental/Bangla-Asian. Located with a great view of Gulshan II circle, the people watching is the best thing about this place. Usual hit or miss with dishes covered in mystery white “special sauce” or red ketchup chili.

Baristo (8/13) – Road 6, Banani: Cafe/Italian/Smokers Lounge/Lounge. Opened in February 2013. Have the coffee while sitting in a car… this is a large place suited for large groups. Will soon have hookah/nargile/water pipe.

American Burger (7/13) – Road 11, Banani: Burgers and fries. Okay fries. Burger was okay. Small, take out sort of place with three tables.

Rush Tex Mex (7/13) – Road 6, Banani: Burgers and fries. The advertised Mexican dishes were mysteriously not available… small place with two booths. Fries were okay.

Spicy Restaurant (4/13) on Kemal Attaturk: Opened March 15, 2013. Usual burgers, kababs, banglese (bangla/chinese) stuff. Also has Wifi, I think. Has four booths (or half of the table is booth and the other side is chairs) and a table for six.

Atrium (7/13): Chinesey Bangla food. Some Indian. The lunch buffet for under 600 taka is okay. The exterior Japanesey garden and tables could be nice if it weren’t right on one of the busiest roads in the area.

Quesadilla (5/13); The quesadilla was actually okay. Not greasy and edible. The “Mexican pizza” was like a basic frozen pizza with some charred crumbled beefish added plus a few loops of green pepper. The nachos were a plate of fried wonton skins covered in brown beans, cheese, and decorated with swirls of “mexican” sauce — a slightly sweet pink sauce. The garlic bread with melted cheese was so tasteless as to be useless.

Istanbul restaurant bakes their own bread including this round bread called a simit.
Istanbul restaurant bakes their own bread including this round bread called a simit.

I’m encouraged by the emergence of new places. I’ll blog another time about the best places where I go more than once. Go out and explore!

Touched By A Manta Ray

True blue color therapy in the Maldives.
True blue color therapy in the Maldives.

I have never been into sand or sun or beaches but visiting the Maldives changed my mind. It seemed as if the water was not as salty as in other tropical places. But, maybe the fact that I was touched by a giant manta ray, has influenced my opinion. We paid the $48 for an outing to swim with giant manta rays, sea turtles, and fish. When we got into the water, the giant rays swam around us like a flock of kites gliding around our amateurish flailing limbs. I assumed that this was a popular feeding ground that the guides knew about and I also assumed that seeing the rays was a guarantee. Apparently it is not. So I feel even luckier. I am fairly sure that I was touched because I had stopped flailing around and was simply floating away on my back, totally ignoring the manta rays. Once I had been patted on the back by the ray, it had all my attention!

A colorful fish in the shallows.
A colorful fish in the shallows.

Homesick for Sri Lankan Egg Hopper

Egg hopper for breakfast.
Egg hopper for breakfast.

The moment I put the first bite of the Sri Lankan egg hopper in my mouth, I understood with my heart why this was a dish that would make me severely homesick. The “hopper” is a simple crepe served with chutney and pickle… the egg hopper is made by cooking an egg in the base of the mini-wok hopper pan. The pickle or sauce is more like a salsa, chopped up coconut and herbs…

Typical "pickle" or sauce to go with any dish.
Typical “pickle” or sauce to go with any dish.

The Bread Lover’s Guide to Dhaka

From King's.
From King’s.

As someone who loves good bread, I find it hard to find European-style yeasty bread in Dhaka. There is plenty of pillowy naan, stretchy rhumali, chewy paratha, and flaky dhosa. When I want European style bread, I go to the following places:

Kings Confectionary: This is where to get long baguette-like hoagie or subway rolls. Plus, the sugared doughnuts are chewy, doughy, and sugary.

German Butcher: They bake their own bread. They call it black bread but it’s more of a whole wheat blend. You can even buy a half loaf if you want to start out with that.

Do Mi Ok: The best sliced white bread in Dhaka. It’s doughy. If you squeeze it, it will hold your finger imprint. They also sell a few other types of fresh bread but it’s the white that I like.

Le Souffle. It is slightly ridiculous how expensive they are. They have a bakery and sell French baguettes and other types. The bread is hard crust sourdough style. They sell croissants and cakes as well.

Nordic Club: They do great cinnamon rolls… the black bread has too much molasses and tastes slightly off.

Antique bread tins.
Antique bread tins.

Bangladeshi Wedding Holud Food

Sweet fried dough - jalalopies.
Sweet fried dough – jalalopies.

The snacks and meal at a Bangladeshi wedding “holud” involve some standby favorites like “phoughka” which are fried dough balls filled with chickpeas, vegetables, and spices. When the same ingredients are chopped and served as a “mix” it is called “chop-puhti” which alliterates.  Bangladeshi samosas are called “sringhara” and they are often served as well.  Bangladeshis have a serious sweet tooth so jalalopies (fried sweet dough much like funnel cake) are another popular staple at weddings. The holud will have a start time of 7 p.m. but will not start until after eight (this is Bangladesh after all) and often closer to nine.

Chopped appetizer.
Chopped appetizer.

Somewhere near 10:30 p.m., the food will get served. Dinner is usually biryani with chicken, beef curry, vegetables, chapati, raw cut vegetables, and a sweet rice dessert.

Wedding Season Again in Dhaka – The Bride’s Holud

Flowers decorate the entrance to the holud venue.
Flowers decorate the entrance to the holud venue.

It’s that time of year again when the Bangladeshis get married. I am lucky to have been invited again. A year ago, I went to a combined holud which I described in an earlier blog. At the bride’s holud this year, the bride was carried in on a palanquin. While the groom was absent, his family and guests attended, carrying gifts. I will blog more about the next part of the wedding later… right now, I need to go to dance practice!

The "mishti" or sweet pots.
The “mishti” or sweet pots.

Best Vineyard Food – New Zealand

Eggplant/aubergine salad. So much better than it sounds.
Eggplant/aubergine salad. So much better than it sounds.

We were whizzing past the views of paradise on Waiheke Island off Auckland’s coast. The bus driver/guide had suggested places in his well rehearsed voice but after all the other tourists got off at the beachfront restaurant, I asked him again. Where would you eat? He mentioned a vineyard that had won some award last year. He said it was a bit of a walk at almost a kilometer.

The view from our table... vineyard to ocean...
The view from our table… vineyard to ocean…

We got lost. We asked a local for directions. He heartily endorsed Casita Miro. When we found it, we went in through the kitchen. Like everything else in New Zealand, it was both casual, elegant, and ridiculously fresh. The restaurant bakes all their own bread and their food is tapas style. They make good coffee as well so you can enjoy a latte as well (in New Zealand, they have another drink called a “flat white” which is a latte with no foam hence flat. The best one we had was made by an Italian guy down at the harbor in Auckland).

Tagine style lamb shank.
Tagine style lamb shank.

Casita Miro is only open for lunch so plan for it. Enjoy some of the vineyard’s wines… make this a destination.

Deep-fried mozzarella.
Deep-fried mozzarella.
The large windows of the restaurant.
The large windows of the restaurant.

Bucket List Foods – Fresh Hazelnuts in Denmark

Some people have places they must see before they die on their bucket list. To me, certain interesting people and certain foods are the destination. Fresh hazelnuts in Denmark is a destination.

Hazelnuts in shell and two ready to eat (one I have started…). These are not completely fresh.

Fresh hazelnuts are juicy and crisp. Try them. Make it a part of your trip if you are in Denmark in September.

One Year of Madventures.me – Still Mad for Food and Adventure

Madventures.me is one year old. One year ago, I started this blog in preparation for new adventures in food and travel. One year of great food and travel in Amman, Copenhagen, Dhaka, Doha, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Krabi, Luang Prabang, Mumbai, New Delhi, New England, Singapore, and many more.

I started this blog to share some of my adventures with family and friends. As I’ve blogged, my blog has evolved into a source for providing information on restaurants in Dhaka, shopping, and how much one can do in Bangladesh. As a blogger, I’ve been enormously happy when readers from all over the world visit my blog. Thank you for stopping by… from almost the entire world:

Map of visitors to madventures.me in the first 11 months.

As my readership expands beyond people I know, I’m curious about what leads readers to my blog. So here are the top search terms people have searched for in the past year:

Top search terms on madventures.me.

Land of Choices

Land of milk and soy, goat, almond…

I was recently in the new Trader Joes in Clarendon, Virginia, USA, and I was bedazzled by the array of new choices. Mine was a normal reaction and I came prepared with camera.

Bread by any name.

Whether you call it a tomato or a tomato, it’s still a tomato. Milk, however, is not just milk. And how great is that!

Long Out in the Country in Denmark

A plum ready for plucking.

The countryside in Denmark is never far from a town and spending a few days “long out in the countryside” as the Danes say… is easily achieved.

A 300-year old thatch roof farmhouse in modern colors.

Good homemade food, a few fruits from the garden, and a wood burning oven make for a “cozy” experience (the Danes love to be in a state of coziness).

Strong cheese called “Old Ole” on crisp bread.

Buttered Bread in Denmark

Four halves: potato, pork roast, fish filet, and “vet’s night snack.”

Open faced sandwiches are called “buttered bread” in Denmark. I have some favorites. It is harder and harder to find a place where you can buy ready-to-eat sandwiches but there are still a few places where this can still be done. One goes into the store, takes a number, and when it’s one’s turn, one orders “four halves” or however many sandwiches one wants. Then you can order them by name if you know what they are called (only some have special names like “the vet’s night snack”) but mostly, you can point.

Gravad lox sandwich made at home.

One can, of course, make sandwiches at home. I love the Danish open face sandwich because just like Peking Duck or a Korean Bulgogi lettuce wrap, there is something about the alchemy of certain flavors together that play my taste buds like a xylophone.