Where are the good Afghan food in the Bay Area?

+1 on Kamdesh. Didn’t expect it to be better than middling and was pleasantly surprised.

I went to Salang Pass a year or so ago. Thought it was decent but uneven.

Even though it was about 6 years ago, I had the mantu at Aria Afghan at 308 14th Street in downtown Oakland, just a few doors east of Kamdesh. The mantu is a steamed dumpling, filled with beef, slit open at the top, dusted with herbs and drizzled with a yogurt sauce. It was quite good.

At that time, the server said that their chef had previously worked at Salang Pass in Fremont. Aria is much smaller than Kamdesh and a notch or two below in atmosphere. The more recent reviews at ‘Y’ are generally favorable.

Luke Tsai in his review in 2014 wrote that he liked the crunchy charred edges of the chapli kebab and the lamb chops.

Aria Afghan
308 14th St
Oakland, CA
Phone (510) 893-2742

Better than even the Fremont Afghan places, like De Afghanan?

Speaking of De Afghanan I need to make a trip there. Is the one in SF related to the Fremont one?

Sorry, we hardly ever get down as far as Fremont. We live up near Mills College, and the traffic on 880 is a nightmare we seldom feel like navigating, LOL. Easier for us to go out Albany/El Cerrito/Berkeley way (where most of my family lives, so we are out there 2x/week anyway), or east on 580 to the Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore area.

During the Afghan crawl I did in Fremont last year, I liked De Afghanan (both the sit-down location and the original kebab stall next door) best overall, for atmosphere and food—especially as far as the kebab (and chapli kebab) goes. That said, Salang Pass, across the street, is better for certain dishes, and their firni is the best I’ve had. If you’ve made the trek all the way down there anyway, make sure pick up a few sheaves of bread from Maiwand while you’re there.


Thanks! We will definitely keep De Afghanan in mind. On our 2x/yr trips down to Monterey, we usually try to eat lunch on the way down, so this would be perfect for our next trip. DH adores lamb kebabs but I prefer the chapli, so this rings the bell for both of us!

A while ago we ate at Kabul Afghan in San Carlos. (I think they have a branch in Fremont.) The food was adequate. The meat were tough and dry in both dishes, however. The space was comfortable though. Big crowd. Don’t think they compare as well with the other Fremont Afghan choices.

also posted in the “Oakland News and Notes 2018” board:

Yummy Grill Afghan Kabob House
4300 International Blvd., Oakland
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Cash, all major credit cards

Sample Menu
Quabili pallow … $14.99
Chapli kabob … $12.99
Mantu … $7.99
Bolani … $6.99
Eggplant … $8.99
Ferni …$2.00

Decade-old Marwa Market and Grill is moving about 5 blocks south to larger quarters at 2517 Telegraph Ave. at 25th Street in the Uptown Oakland Arts District. According to a man at the site, it should open in about 2 weeks and will have some new items. A sign on the awning advertises that Afghani bread will be baked daily. I have had a very solid lunch buffet with lamb, rice, bolani (stuffed flatbreads) at the previous location.

Afghan Market and Grill (may open in April 2019)
2517 Telegraph Ave.


Marwa opened yesterday, April 1, and today I saw them continually turn out 20" wide ovals of flatbread ($2) from the oven. There are a few 2-tops in the store but all the trade this afternoon was takeout. Plates with rice and salad range from $10.99 for the steam table) to $14.99. The lamb shank is $13.99 but it will be another day or so for the kitchen to be fully operational so the buffet from the steam table was the only meal available at the time.

Mantu (steamed open dumplings filled with meat and drizzled with yogurt and herbs on top) are expected to make it onto the menu the near future. Very friendly service, and I’ll wait a few weeks for them to settle in to come back and try the lamb shank or one of the other plates.

Here are some photos in a slideshow, about 3 minutes long.

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Yesterday (03Apr2019) tried lunch at Kabul Kabob & Grill in Dublin. Modest place, nice folks. Family run (EB Times did a 2015 review: Interview with Kabul Kabob owner/chef

Sadly, the lamb kebabs have been dropped off the menu. The menus on the web (there are several sites) are not really accurate, based on what we were handed. It’s possible the catering menu is more inclusive, as Kabul is apparently a popular choice for catering events with the Afghani community.

We had the mantu, the ashak (usually spelled aushak), beef tri-tip kabobs and the chapli kabob.

Mantu and Ashak look exactly alike: closed dough raviolis, nice thin dough. Not drained quite well enough which made both dishes a little watery. Mantu were okay, Ashak had spicy meat sauce. Yogurt drizzle on both tasted a little strong to DH (personal issue: he doesn’t like strong fermented dairy of any type, whether creme fraiche, cream cheese, yogurt, or crema - it has to be very mild).

Tomato-based sauces on both dishes were tasty but somehow neither impressed us beyond “good” rating. The two fillings seemed a bit lacking in amount and the flavors not as well-rounded. I think Annar/Hayward and Khyber Pass/Dublin make these a little better (altho we do need to return to Khyber; it’s been a while since our last visit).

Beef kabob average; tri-tip is chewy. One skewer; you can order addt’l for extra.

Chapli crispy but strong green onion taste (this was also true of the mantu filling). Texture seemed soft to me; reminded me of meatloaf - the way you add filler like oatmeal or breadcrumbs to the meat? Not saying there was anything added, we didn’t ask; but just didn’t ring my bell as a rabid burger lover.

Accompaniments were brown rice pillau (average) and yogurt dressed green salad with thin-sliced white onion. I also got some ripe tomato slices and a wedge of lemon for my Chapli.

We didn’t order our usual mast e khiar (spiced yogurt); I regretted it as I felt my dish needed it.

Chose hot black tea; Kabul also offers green tea unlike many places.

Did not order the firni as we were just too full. Kabul is good, but we’d prefer Kamdesh/Oakland, Pamir/Dublin, Khyber Pass/Dublin, or Annar/Hayward over them.

Kabul Kabob and Grill
8939 San Ramon Road, Dublin CA
Info: 925-997-5626

Note they are in a very small mixed-use strip mall, where most of the property is townhouses/apts. Parking for retail shops is 1-hr only, clearly marked. Do NOT park in the residents’ parking spaces which are towards the back half of the parking lot.


I had an early lunch at Marwa Afghan Market to see how they were doing in their new digs after 10 days in the Oakland Uptown Art Gallery District.

I ordered 2 ground lamb koobideh skewers, some greens and a samosa at the counter and sat at one of the 2 four-tops next to 3 two-tops. Cost was about $10 plus tax and was served after a few minutes by a man who I think is an owner and very friendly.

The 2 skewers tasted freshly ground and cooked, were made of moist tender lean meat without gristle and not heavily salted or charred. Small flecks of red may have been ground chile or red bell pepper blended into the meat. The top of the skewers were laced with strings of grilled sweet pickled onions, slightly charred.

Quite good.

The side of greens were described as spinach and had kidney beans and sliced green beans in the mix. The ample serving tasted more like collard greens to me and was mildly spiced but subtly flavorful.

The samosa was filled with green peas, potato and tasted of turmeric. It had more of a baked rather than fried taste and the inside had more of a cake-like interior instead of an oily crunch, a positive for me.

The red and green condiments on the table are homemade and the green chutney was lemony/vinegary with cilantro, garlic and with hints of mint that encouraged me to ladle about 5 tiny spoonfuls on the lamb and my slice of Afghan flatbread.

I thought it was an impressive casual lunch with care taken in the small details considering they are less than two weeks into their tenure in their new spot.


Here is a new working link for the short slideshow of photos for Marwa Market taken in April, 2019 since the server for the link above is no longer operational:


Here’s a new working link to the slideshow of the April 2019 lunch at Marwa which is abut 2 minutes long since the above link no longer is opertional:


Funny, I’ve always liked Ghazni, which is our go-to because it’s so close to us (the branch on A Street, that is). We did takeout from them a few weeks ago. That being said, the last restaurant meal we had before the shutdown was at Roya Afghan Cuisine in Livermore, on First Street a few blocks from Vine Cinema. I would definitely recommend them if they’re doing takeout.

Ghazni was good. Spouse and I simply felt that it was average in comparison to Kamdesh/Oakland, Khyber Pass/Dublin, and Oasis/Pleasanton.

For inexpensive places that do very well on specific dishes we like:
Annar/Hayward does a superb job on the aush soup and the aushak dumplings, as well as a fine pilaf and lamb curry.

Yummy Grill/Oakland has amazing mantoo that were a bargain.

As I mentioned in my previous post above, Pamir/Dublin makes a very fine aush and good kabobs, but their servings are smaller and a bit more expensive than average.

We’ve also gone to Kabul Kabob/Dublin, which is okay. I’d rate it below Ghazni.

I recently tried Afghan Awasana Kabob in Fremont which opened in February 2020. Ordered Leek Bolani, Potato Bolani, Beef kabob, Banjan Borani, Qabuli Pulao, Chapli kabob. Everything was wonderful. Thought I’d seen it all with Afghan options in Fremont but this is a great new addition to the Afghan scene here.

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Abas Hamidi Afghan Cuisine (4115 Concord Blvd #54 Concord, CA 94519) is a surprise discovery for us. Chapli Kabob is very tasty. We also liked Mantoo and Badnjan Buranee (eggplant.) Very friendly people. Will add to rotation when in that neighborhood.

excerpt from Hoodline

West Oakland

Twins Halal House & Bakery (2608 Market St.)

San Francisco

Oakland Eats: West Oakland gets new Afghan bakery; longtime Chinatown dim sum spot closes; more

A look through Sun Sing Pastry Dim Sum’s windows. | Photo: Molly L./Yelp

by Teresa Hammerl@colazionearomawebsite

July 27, 2020

In this edition: West Oakland has gotten a new Afghan eatery, Chinatown has lost a long-running dim sum joint and a recently closed Downtown spot has been reborn as a Temescal pop-up.


West Oakland

Twins Halal House & Bakery (2608 Market St.)


Twins Halal House & Bakery recently opened in the space most recently occupied by Daniel’s Caribbean Kitchen and Tamales La Oaxaqueña, Hoodline’s veteran tipster Al M. tells us.

The new eatery specializes in Afghan food, with dishes like bolani (stuffed flatbread), pallow (rice cooked with lamb, onions, raisins and seasonings) and mantou (meat-filled dumplings in a yogurt sauce).

Pacha’s Afghan Kabab House opened about a month ago in Old Oakland/Oakland Downtown. I haven’t tried it yet but early reviews noted the salmon kababs, mantoo dumplings and Afghan pizza. Lunch specials are about $14. On their menu I see squash and eggplant bolani turnovers and sabzi challow with lamb.

1015 Clay St
Oakland, CA 94607
open 11am-9pm everyday

(510) 817-4951

from Oaklandside -

PACHA’S AFGHAN KABAB HOUSE* Family-run Afghani fusion restaurant Pacha’s opened in February in Old Oakland in the former El Gusano location. The restaurant’s halal fried chicken, kebabs, curries, pizzas, bolani and combination plates are already gathering fans who note generous portions as well as good quality and flavor.

Pacha’s Afghan Kabab House *, 1015 Clay St. (at 11th Street), Oakland

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