It was my good friend T Mc's belated birthday dinner and I was delighted when she chose Afghan Horseman as the venue for a belated "girls night" birthday dinner. T Mc definitely knows what food she likes and what she doesn't and tends to stick with safer choices. I was blown away and super impressed at her adventurous choice!!! This restaurant is located on the upper level of a small cluster of businesses just before you go over the little bridge to Granville Island (on the west side). As you can tell, we were pretty hungry when we arrived and excited!
Make sure you ask to sit in their Afghan dining room- it's awesome with really low lighting, comfortable cushion seating on the floors and low tables. Some of the decor and the music playing was a bit dated and cheesy, you can tell this place has been running the same way for a while. In my opinion, some small updates could really take the place up another notch.....for example, we ordered a pitcher of sangria and it was served in a plastic beer pitcher- which our server tried to struggle to pour while not splashing ice and fruit everywhere. It was pretty dead when we arrived around 6pm but started to pick up around 7pm.
Their menu is quite extensive and jam-packed with tasty sounding options. Based on some online research, it sounded like sharing some platters might be the best option since we were a group of 5 and wanting to try a bit of everything. Our server was very patient and did a great job of helping us determine the best ordering options to accomodate everyone and was willing to work with us and make substitutions.
We ordered two platters to share between our group of 5.
Each platter came with a separate "starter platter" of Humus and Sabzi Mast (herbs and spinach with yogurt) and Salata with Feta Cheese, and Whole Wheat Pita Bread. The hummus was a bit bland for me, but the Sabzi Mast had a stronger flavour and was good. The salad was pretty much your standard greek salad but kicked up a notch because of the delicious, salty, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth feta. That is some good feta. The whole wheat pita bread was lovely, warm, fresh, and fluffy.
When we finished our appy platters, our server brought out the large platters.
The Kebab Platter Delight ($51.95) had chicken shish kebab, lamb shish kebab, beef shish kebab, lamb shoulder, side dishes of sauteed onions in vinegar, miced salata, pakawra (batter fried potatoes), chaka (sour cream and yogurt dip), whole wheat pita bread, and baked rice with kabuli (sauteed carrots, raisins, and almonds). I tried and enjoyed everything on this platter. For me, the stand-out in this platter was the lamb shoulder. It was SOOOO good- tender, juicy, falling apart, and succulent.
The Vegetarian's Platter Delight ($38.95) had baked rice with kabuli topping, Aushak (Afghan Ravioli), Baked Eggplant, Dahl (yellow lentil stew), Pakawra and Chaka. Again, everything was pretty tasty but the stand-out was the Baked Eggplant which was cooked to soft perfection and full of rich, herby tomato flavour.
Some notes: the first pawawkra I had was delicious, but the second one I ate much later in the meal...not so good. Eat these first while they are hot, as they cool they get chewy, soft, and a bit greasy (like cold thick potato wedge french fries). Also the rice had a really nice flavour but was a bit dry.
Since we had a birthday girl in our group, our server brought her a complimentary dessert. We were all stuffed, but she persevered and agreed to a vanilla ice cream dessert on the house. I'm glad she did. It was a really simple dish of vanilla ice cream topped with crushed pistachios and it was really, really good with the combination or sweet and salty flavours.
We all really enjoyed this dining experience and everything was good and a few things were stand out great (the pita bread, the lamb shoulder, and the eggplant.) This is a good place for a reliable meal and a fun venue for a group dinner.