Islamabad’s most popular tourist destination, The Monal, is a beautiful open-air restaurant perched on the Margalla Hills. The drive up from Islamabad takes up to 30 minutes and offers sneak peaks of the views that await you at the top. It is a fairly easy drive but the roads are winding and do require a fair amount of caution.
The mountains are thickly wooded. Keep an eye out for the groups of monkeys that frequent the side of the road hoping for treats from travellers. But be careful feeding them and avoid getting out of the car. They can be very aggressive. The woods are also populated by wild boars and even a few leopards, but they stay out of sight thankfully!
Monal itself is situated between two hilltops at a height of just under 1200 feet. The décor and the food are a tasteful mix of modernity and tradition. The menu consists of a rich and diverse assortment of authentic Pakistani and continental cuisine. But as delicious as the food may be, make no mistake – people come here for the view.
And what a view it is! The restaurant has seven terraces that overlook the city below. You can sit back and soak in the stunning sights of Islamabad in all their glory. Saidpur Village is directly below and Faisal Masjid lies just below to the West. On the East side of the city you can clearly see the majestic Constitution Avenue with Aiwan-e-Sadr, the Houses of Parliament, the Supreme Court, and Prime Minster’s Secretariat, with Rawal Lake shining in the background.
The best time to visit is at sunset or at night. You can experience live music every night and the ambience, though always packed, is relaxed. Remember – the restaurant gets really busy, especially on the weekends. So try to get there early as there can be significant wait times for a table.
Easiest way to go to Monal
Rent a car with driver on the Roamer app for your next trip to Murree for as little as Rs.1,030. You can get picked from your doorstep in Islamabad or Rawalpindi, driven to Monal, and get back with zero fuel charges. The basic package includes a one hour stay in Mona and you can extend your stay by paying just Rs 179 per additional hour. Click to download the Android app or the iOS app! Here’s a promo to get you started.