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“Exceeds expectations on all counts!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Helmand

The Helmand
Ranked #25 of 623 Restaurants in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Afghani, Middle Eastern
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings, Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
54 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Exceeds expectations on all counts!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2012

My earlier review was "you'll come back again" and so I did. Busy as always, but prompt service. Food is as good as it gets..the taste lingers even after you've finished your meal. Tried the Sabzi Challow and Feereney this time and wasn't disappointed at all. This restaurant deserves 5 stars!

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank arindammukho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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369 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    189
    132
    34
    7
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Columbus IN
Level Contributor
60 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Owned by sister of Afghanistans President Karzai...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 6, 2012

Authentic food, for the 1st two years they had a 4 month wait list...thats cooled off and now you can get a reservation a week or two ahead of time....worth it,too...

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank Oldwarrior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
128 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Outstanding Restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2012

While Afghani cuisine was a first for me and I came expect a good meal, I left completely blown away. This type of cuisine isn't something that one comes across often but when one of my best friends told me that he wanted to go, I gladly volunteered and made the reservation. Having never had food from Afghanistan and having heard good things, I knew that I'd have to try it.

The great thing about Afghan food is that it's a great hybrid of Indian food and Middle Eastern food, mostly because of the numerous spice routes from back in the day. Whether your dish has cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon or nutmeg, or maybe all of the above, each dish is tasty and tastes exotic, and from the very moment I walked in and smelled them, emanating from the kitchen, I knew that this meal would be terrific.

I sipped on a Glenlivet from their full bar as I arrived much earlier than my dining companion but once he finally arrived, we were able to glance at the menu while noshing on some flatbread and three dipping sauces (one hot, one mild one and one yogurt one, each delicious). We decided to start our meal with an order of their kaddo appetizer ($7.50) which they are famous for. It features a pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce, topped with ground beef sauce. While I'm not usually a fan of pumpkin this had to be one of the best dishes that I've ever had... ever, let alone Boston. Absolutely incredible and it took a lot of restraint for us to not order a second one. It's sweet, it's tasty, the textures are toothsome and the honey flavors come through; just incredible stuff. It almost felt like having a dessert as an appetizer but honestly it was well worth it, especially since the dish had many layers of flavor.

After devouring and cleaning out that dish in mere instants, I decided to follow my waiter's advice and get their other signature dish, the chowpan ($27) which features a half a rack of lamb which has been marined and grilled, served on a bed of Afghan bread with some sautéed eggplant and some pallow rice. Pallow rice is rice that's been boiled then drained of water, seasoned with canola oil,cardomum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin seed and black pepper and then baked. It's amazingly tasty and not wet at all, and almost fluffy. The spices aren't overwhelming and pair well with the type of long grain rice that they use. The highlight of the dish though was the rack of lamb which... might... be... the best lamb I've had. Juicy, lean, tender, well seasoned and charred to a perfection as well. The spices created a symphony of flavors for my palate unlike any other lamb I've had. It just worked well and despite the hefty price of the dish, which is a lot more expensive than the other entres, it was all worth it. The eggplant was pretty good as well but it was sautéed with some bell peppers which I can't eat so I had to stop eating it after a couple of bites unfortunately. The bread under the lamb soaked up some of the juices and was wonderful as well.

All in all this restaurant is an absolute gem. I must confess that despite having lived in Kendall Square for over five years, I had never dared venture into this establishment to much of my dismay. I was missing out significantly but no longer as I'll be returning... soon. The service was great and the decor charming. I'm a huge fan of what they do here and look forward to returning.

My only complaint is that they have a full bar but no menu. They don't have cocktails which is fine but how about a beer and spirits list?

PS: good thing their kaddo isn't readily available to go or I'd be swinging by there every single day to get my fix. Honestly it's that good.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JeremyKrantz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
272 reviews
162 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 196 helpful votes
“Definitely worth a visit!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2012

Delicious food, and in particular the bread made right in the oven is a must. The restaurant's decor is very traditional and tables are pretty closely spaced. Although we had a reservation we still had to wait 10 minutes for our table, because this is a very popular spot! We went with someone who was very familiar with Afghani food and she thought it was great and very authentic.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank sfbarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“a little bit of heaven at helmand”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2012

authentic as it gets. had never had afghani food before now we have been twice in the past month bringing new friends each time

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank rabbitsk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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