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“Stumbled in and was satisfied as vegetarians”
Review of The Helmand

The Helmand
Ranked #23 of 650 Restaurants in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Middle Eastern
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed August 4, 2013

My daughter and I are vegetarians and found the outside menu appealing, so we waited for the 5 pm opening. By the time the we entered, there was a line 20 thick. We had 2 appetizers and shared an entree and took remainders of both home with us. Add to that coffee and Turkish coffee, and we left with a total bill of $43. It seemed reasonable for our needs, though I expect we would have eaten more heartily if it had been a planned evening out. Our service was EXCELLENT - water was continually filled (we weren't drinking alcohol) and both our server and bus staff was close by throughout. Loved the bread and sauces. But hands down the best taste of the evening was the dessert-like appetizer, Vegetarian Kaddo, "pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce." The sweet with yogurt and garlic was surprising yet amazing. I did notice with the remainders that there was a bit of oil gathered on the bottom of the container, so food preparation and flavor may rely more heavily on oil than I would have guessed when we ate it hot.

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Thank egwegw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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200 - 204 of 400 reviews

Reviewed July 30, 2013

The food was good, but we've had better; and the service was slow and inadequate. When the table next to us also mentioned the great reviews but disappointment in food quality and service, the manager simply thanked them and did not attempt to make the situation right. Very disappointed.

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1  Thank twanderson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

I agonized whether to award 3 or 4 "dots." Food is closer to a "4," but service is unacceptable. We have dined at Helmand 3-4 times per year since 2009; we make a reservation every time we come to Boston/Cambridge. Sad to report the restaurant appears to be in decline. While one can still find many solid items on the menu; the service is worse on each visit.

Most of the appetizers are excellent, including the mantwo, bowlani, banjan and kaddo. My personal favorit is the banjan (seasoned egglplant baked with tomatoes). Another excellent side dish is the bendi (okra, tomatoes and onions).

Favorite entrees include the Chapendaz, the Special Vegetarian dish, and both the Mourgh Kabab and Mourgh Challow. Neither seafood entree (sea bass or trout) were memorable.

The service is inattentive, abrupt, openly hostile to any special requests (We were greeted with an icy stare when requesting extra bread), and prone to make mistakes with orders, to include forgetting to place an order with the kitchen but placing the item on your tab.

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1  Thank TheNorsk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

As one who is a descendant of a many-generation-restaurant family culture, and who has worked in many fine restaurants during college year summers on Marthas Vineyard and in Burlington, Vermont, I regretfully have to say that the Helmand is over-rated as much as it is over-priced. The starch elements of the menu are re-treaded and overly ubiquitous throughout the menu. And when one finally comes by the protein element, (upon my lamb selection for example), three nicely done, but skimpy pieces of lamb, simply did not do enough to satisfy the $23.00 price tag.
From an environmental and acoustic perspective, the restaurant has hard ceilings, which bounces voices/conservations and noise very unduly. Before too long, people at the same table are screaming at one another to be heard.
Wine by the glass is also overpriced.
Sorry to say, I cannot recommend the Helmand to anyone with good sensibilities.

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1  Thank Christopher M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

Wife and I had never had Afghan cuisine, so were not sure what to expect. Our waiter suggested the pumpkin (kaddo) appetizer, and that was one of the nicest dishes I've ever had anywhere, and I've since prepared it several times at home with lamb (Helmand's recipe is online) and have impressed all who've had it. Don't exactly recall the other dishes we tried except that whatever sounded good on the menu was excellent on the plate! We'll certainly go back on a future trip to Boston. Decor is unremarkable (nice rugs, though), but the staff was very nice and made the place seem a lot cheerier than its appearance. Not a great place for Valentine's Day or anniversary, but an excellent place for a good meal. It did turn out rather more expensive than some other meals, but mainly because we had to try quite a few things, get dessert, appetizers, and so on that we might skip elsewhere. Since we were new to Afghan, we just COULDN'T skip any of the courses....

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Thank drken567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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