Restaurant Review: Pakwan in San Francisco Serves Authentic Pakistani Cuisine

Pakwan is a popular chain of South Asian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area serving authentic Pakistani and Indian dishes in contemporary yet comfortable surroundings. Check out this first-hand review of an outlet in the Sunset district.

Here I am enjoying a mouth-watering dinner with an old friend at the Sunset outlet of Pakwan in San Francisco, California. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

70 Days Across America

Pakwan, which means “dish” in Urdu, is a popular chain of restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The restaurants serve authentic Pakistani and Indian dishes, ranging from appetizers such as papadum, raitas, pakora, and samosa to vegetarian delights, curries, biryanis,  tandoori barbecues, and other South Asian favourites.

I dined at one of the branches in San Francisco’s Sunset district with an old friend on the first evening of my 70 Day Across America journey across the United States.

She guided me through the menu and helped create a mouth-watering dinner for the two of us.

Talk about getting to eat like a local!

Not only that, the servings were so generous there were plenty of leftovers to be taken home for lunch the following day.

The Tandooris …

Tandoori Chicken. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

There are several tandoori barbecues on the menu, ranging from seasoned ground chicken or beef to bone-in chicken breasts, marinated beef cubes, fish filets, lamb chops – the list goes on.

My dining companion and I ordered Tandoori Chicken, and it was delicious!

The Curries …

Lamb Nihari and Tandoori Nam. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

There are several curries on the menu, and we opted for the very traditional Lamb Nihari, which was served with the bone in. It was hearty and flavourful!

The Vegetarian Dishes …

Vegetable Biriyani. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Vegetarians will not go hungry at Pakwan.

There are dishes made with various combinations of spinach, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and onions.

We ordered the Vegetable Biripyani. The serving was enormous, and the taste was out of this world!

The Ambiance …

Outdoor seating on the sidewalk. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

San Francisco’s Sunset district is famous for its foggy climate, but outdoor seating on the sidewalk is available for those brave enough to brave the cold – and for those rare sunny afternoons.

The interior. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Taking a peak inside of the restaurant’s stylish interior …

image-of-the interior-of-pakwan-restaurant
Restaurant interior. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Stylish calligraphy adorns one of the walls of the stylish eatery.

Counter. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

A customer places an order at the counter of the restaurant.

Restaurant interior. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The customer returns to her seat to await her meal.

A wall mural. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxed, and the seating is comfortable.

To give you an idea of just how relaxed and comfortable the place is, when I was taking photos of the food to go with this post, another diner came over and asked if I would like him to take a photo of my dining companion and me.

The restaurant a very contemporary design with exposed concrete floors and bold visuals.

There are both tables and booths. Diners place their orders at the counter, and dishes are served to their tables.

Most striking is the  beautiful mural showcasing photographic images prominent Pakistanis, which is mounted along one wall.

How many of them can you name?

The Friendly Staff …

Restaurant staff. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The staff were friendly, professional, and helpful.

I couldn’t resist asking if I could take a photograph of them to serve as a memento of my wonderful first night in the United States.

The Verdict

The venue was attractive, the service was attentive, and the food was delicious.

Best of all was getting the chance to reconnect with an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen in about 15 years, chatting and laughing over a mouth-watering meal!


Pakwan – 1140 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, California. Tel: (415) 84108400.

This is the eighth in a series on my epic journey, 70 Days Across America>>

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