internationally in July 2003 as
First published in
Last updated December 3 2004
Consider your security when visiting some
restaurants. In February 2003 the British Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG –
www.baag.org.uk) issued a warning in one of its regular bulletins: ‘In the
light of possible hostilities in
One of the best ways to enjoy Afghan food and hospitality is of course to accept an invitation to dinner with an Afghan family.
Pictures: Restaurant Update.
Restaurants Update article from AFGHAN SCENE MAGAZINE.
Mediterraneo Club menu. CLOSED
Pictures: Elbow Room Restaurant and Bar.
New restaurant: Taste.
New website for the Deutscher Hof Restaurant: www.deutscher-hof-kabul.com.
New opening times for the German restaurant – open on Saturday and closed on Tuesdays.
Achtung neue Öffnungszeiten!!! Dienstag Schließtag!!! Samstag geöffnet! Mittwoch – Montag Uhr Mittagstisch Abendkarte
Attention new opening times. Tuesday is off day!!! Saturday open!
Wednesday to Friday open
Restaurant update There’s a new Croatian Cuisine place,
the Zadar Restaurant, on the left hand side of the
main road to Taimani just before IOM. The German
restaurant starts a new and cheaper menu this week with a buffet on Thursday
nights. The Gandamak Lodge, now linked to the
Frontline Club in
Check the new menu for the German Restaurant.
The following is a by-no-means-comprehensive
list of places to eat in
July 2003 Info on Kelt’s Irish Bar at the Mustafa Hotel.
June 2003 Info on new Haji Baba Restaurant.
May 2003 Info on new German restaurant in Kabul.
Anaar House 6, Street 4, Kolola Pushta, behind the UNICA Guesthouse; tel: 070 28 4315, 070 29 1857.
The Anaar offers a
wonderful, warm dining experience. It’s located down a lantern-lit alleyway.
The restaurant reception and dining-rooms are hung with beautiful Afghan
carpets. In fact all the décor is local. A magnificent, carved wooden
doorframe in the far restaurant room is a fantastic work of art. In this
room, diners can sprawl on Afghan cushions and eat from low-level tables, but
elsewhere there is seating and at the far end of the seated dining-room there
is a vast fireplace. The cuisine is described as Indian, Chinese and Thai.
Indeed the restaurant is co-owned by an Indian and Afghan who have brought
their culinary experiences to play here very successfully. The Thai green
curry is particularly good. The place is open for lunch 11.00–15.00 and for
dinner 19.00–23.00 (though one friend of the authors was at a party until
03.00). Dinner costs around US$12 a head. There is no alcohol served here,
but you can bring your own as long as you are discreet about consumption and request
permission from the management first. According to one diner it provides ‘the
most relaxing and intimate restaurant yet in
The food is more expensive than many of the
other places listed, but the menu boasts Thai green curry and shrimps flown
There’s space here for 60 people downstairs and 40 people upstairs with three private rooms with tables, sofas, TVs and karaoke systems. There’s a free salad buffet and the usual Chinese food. A hot and sour soup will cost you US$1.50, sweet and sour chicken US$6 and beef in oyster sauce US$6. The restaurant has permission to serve alcohol but not to Muslims. Open 11.30–23.30.
The Delhi Darbar is an Indian restaurant and has just moved from Qali Fatullah to Shahre Naw near the Assa 2 guetshouse. There’s US$6 buffet at lunch and dinner with good popadums and great garlic naan bread. Delivery is available.
Gandamak Lodge Number 5 Passport Lane; tel: 00 93 (0)795 69904 Email: Fatema11pk@yahoo.com
Gandamak Lodge is open for breakfast (US$10) and dinner. Book before and for US$20 you can enjoy a three-course meal of mostly imported food, full English breakfasts and the cheese plate. Drinks will cost you extra. A menu for one night in March 2003: Appetizer: quiche Lorraine with tomato chutney; Main course: poached plaice with lemon-butter sauce, herbed risotto, stripped courgettes sautéed with balsamic vinegar; dessert: hot lemon-curd soufflé.
German Restaurant & Biergarten Deutscher Hof Kabul House 60, Street 3, Qali Fatullah; tel 070 28 8134; email: email@example.com.
This German-run restaurant serves classic
dishes in a light and comfortable setting on the first floor of this Qali Fatullah
More info: German restaurant in Kabul.
Golden Lotus Across from the German Embassy
The Golden Lotus serves Chinese, European and
Afghan food. It opened in the early 1970s and was the first Chinese
The chefs from
Kabul Restaurant Part of the Hotel Kabul with an attractive garden and terrace that once served a variety of food. The hotel is being renovated so we await developments there.
Karwansara Situated within the Karwansara Guesthouse compound, 117 Interior Ministry Road, Next to Malalai High School; tel: 070 29 1794.
The restaurant is being described by many of
its habitués as simply the best dining experience in
The Khyber is one of the many reminders of
the city’s heyday. Back in the 1960s this is where
Lai Thai Wazir Akbar Khan, Street 15, second road on the left, House 124; tel: 070 297557.
Within days of opening in April 2003, the Lai Thai established a reputation for excellent food and service in a pleasant, tastefully furnished setting. The waiters and waitresses are dressed in traditional Thai clothes, the furniture has been especially designed in Pakistan and the attention to detail is visible in the décor, right down to the beautiful cutlery. The spring rolls (US$4 for a plate of four) are possibly the best outside Bangkok (where the chef and restaurant owner come from). Lalita Thongngamkam is the dynamic owner and has extensive experience of running restaurants. She has run similar establishments in Kosovo, East Timor and Australia and personally supervises all the cooking in the kitchen. There is seating for 40 people downstairs and, once work is finished upstairs, there’ll be seating for another 30. A main course costs around US$7. The fried ginger chicken and coriander is superb, as are the deep-fried vegetables; the giant prawn soup at US$5 is simply mouth-watering. The Lai Thai is open for lunch and dinner 11.00--22.00.
The restaurant also runs a catering service for parties, office dos and any other special occasions. Lalita also runs a traditional massage service. This is a serious health and beauty massage done by a professional masseuse using traditional techniques.
May 10 2003 Wall Street Journal front page: The Spoils of War in Kabul Now Include Thai Restaurant.
Popo’Lano Part of the Insaf Hotel in Shahre Naw; tel: 070 28 8116.
Popo’Lano was one of the first restaurants to open in Kabul in the summer of 2002 and is probably the most popular restaurant among internationals. This Italian restaurant has a reasonably priced, good menu. Pizzas cost US$5, with take-away and delivery available. There’s also a carpet and Afghan souvenir shop here. The manager is Abdullah.
Shandiz Iranian restaurant on Wazir Akbar Khan Street 10; tel: 070 28 4026.
The Shandiz opened in March 2003 and is one of the newest buildings in Kabul, serving Iranian food. Shish kebab with rice will cost you US$9. The Shandiz opens at 09.00 as a coffee shop, is open for lunch from 11.00–15.00 and dinner from 18.30–23.00. Delivery is available.
Other restaurants you might like to try are the Marco Polo and Herat, two typical kebab and rice restaurants. The Marco Polo is near Chicken and Flower streets. The Herat in Shahre Naw is an attempt at a fast-food restaurant with the guys running around in baseball caps. Chief Burger opposite the Cinema Park does a variety of fast-food and burgers. The Sitara’s Afghan Food Restaurant, just of the park in Charahe Ansari, is promising to be a great place for Afghan food and currently has seating spaces for 500 people for conferences and seminars (Amnesty International held a press conference here in March 2003). To book a place, speak to Meraj on 070 28 0584. The Khalid Restaurant, just past the Emergency Hospital, is closed now but it used to be a typical kebab restaurant in 2002 and before that a cinema which was closed by the Taliban. There are numerous kebab and mantu stalls around the Cinema Park in Shahre Naw such as the New York Restaurant. Pizzeria Milano on Shahre Naw Park also comes highly recommended by the authors of this guide.
The Irish Club Opposite the NGO, FHI in Taimani, tucked away beneath Bibi Mahro Hill not far from Bs Place; tel: 070 29 6698.
Open 07.00 until late, the Irish Club opened on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2003 and instantly became a big hit in the city. Here you can find everything you would expect from a good Irish establishment, including a fully stocked bar, draught Guinness brought in from Dubai, and Stella Artois on tap. There’s an Irish farmhouse breakfast for US$5 every morning. Lunch is a buffet meal and the evening meal a la carte with an international chef cooking up dishes ranging from Irish stew to a traditional T-bone steak. The owner is Irish-Australian, Sean McQuade, who has been working in Afghanistan for the past 11 years. (Another bar, the Mighty Quinn, in Perth, Australia, is the sister bar to the Afghan set-up.) There’s a fabulous veranda here where you can get a cappuccino during the day and dance at night. Every so often there are Australian barbecue evenings where you buy a plateful of meat for US$6 and cook it yourself over the huge grill in the garden – with help if needed! This club does have a membership policy. A full year costs US$300, though shorter-term visitors can get monthly membership for US$10. If you are in town for a matter of days you can pay a one-off entrance fee at the gate. The club also boasts an internet café, a satellite TV room, and a private room for up to 12 people. There are also limited guesthouse facilities, which are likely to be expanded. The bar has no fixed closing time. As the owner himself says, ‘If there’s a good crowd in, we won’t throw them out!’ Currently a room is around US$50 a night.
Irish Club info and photo from this guide on website of Asian bars.
April 26 2003 BBC Threats close Kabul’s Irish bar (photos provided by this guide used).
April 26 2003 Canadian Press Irish Club, Afghanistan’s only bar closes after terrorist threat.
April 25 2003 Reuters Kabul’s Irish Bar closes doors after terror threats.
April 5 2003 The Irish Club features in The Times, courtesy of this guide.
July 31 2003 New Irish Bar opens in Kabul. More…
The Survival Guide to Kabul©