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Best of Toronto

The Best Afghan Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Guest Contributor / April 30, 2012

Afghan Restaurants TorontoThe best Afghan restaurants in Toronto might be off the radar for many of us. Afghan cuisine, like its birthplace, is for the most part a mystery to Torontonians and while it shares many similarities with its Middle Eastern neighbours, Afghan cuisine is decidedly more complex. Lamb and chicken are predominant offerings on Afghan restaurant menus and they're often spiced with mint, saffron, coriander or cardamom. Well-balanced yet contrasting tastes are its hallmark as influences from the Middle East, Turkey and India blend together for unique (and delicious!) results.

Open a menu at an Afghan restaurant and you're unlikely to avoid a long list of kebab offerings, and unlike Persian kabobs, Afghan kabob is typically served with bread, not rice. But kabobs (surprise, surprise) are not Afghanistan's national dish. That honour would fall to quabili pulau--a dish that mixes steamed rice with lentils, raisins, carrots and lamb. Other standards include manti (dumplings filled with spiced meat), qormas (onion-based meat stews with various legumes and spices) and naan (bread). Unlike Indian naan, Afghan naan is typically a white/whole wheat blend and is topped with poppy, sesame or nigella seeds.

Toronto is lucky enough to have some great Afghan restaurants, even if they're not plentiful. Most tend to be located downtown or in Scarborough but there are Afghan restaurants in other areas of the city as well.

Here's my list of the best Afghan restaurants in Toronto.

See also:

The best Persian restaurants in Toronto
The best kebabs in Toronto

Writing by Janina Galeazza

Bamiyan Kabob

Bamiyan Kabob

With five locations in the GTA, Bamiyan Kabob is the undisputed king of Afghan food in Toronto, and for good reason! Their meat is marinated for 24 hours, and everything else on the menu is made fresh daily. Kabob is the main offering, and dinner portions always come with chalow (white rice), salad and naan. If you still have room after dinner, make sure to try their homemade firnee, which is a creamy pudding spiced with crushed cardamon seeds and topped with shredded pistachios. More »

Nowshak Restaurant

Nowshak Restaurant

It's worth the drive to Maple. Technically outside of the GTA, Nowshak neverthless deserves a spot on this list. Their menu is one of the most diverse and their mantu and quabali pulau are arguably the best in town. Although it's a little fancier than most Afghan restaurants, it's not a bad date spot if you're looking for something different. For those who have never tried Afghan food this isn't a bad place to start. More »

Pamier Kabob

Pamier Kabob

Unlike other Afghan restaurants, Pamier Kabob is known for its basmati rice dishes, mild curries and unique kabobs. Most of the dishes are medium spicy, and each dish comes with salad and naan. The vaziri lamb kabob and shahi chicken kabob are particularly excellent. They have three locations in the GTA including the latest one near Spadina and Adelaide. More »

Afghan Village Restaurant

Afghan Village Restaurant

Though Afghan Village's food is definitely good, the real standout on the menu is the dense and rich naan, made at it's sibling, Afghan Bakery, next door. The ambiance is also much improved as the restaurant has recently relocated in a plaza on Don Mills just south of the Science Centre. Those with an appetite (and looking for a deal) should go for the $9.99 dinner buffet. More »

Naan & Kabob

Naan & Kabob

This Scarborough restaurant is more like a fast food joint that specializes (as their name suggests) in kabob and naan. In the traditional manner, all orders come with only naan, but rice can be added for $2. Their chaplee kabob (a minced beef patty, and one of the most popular barbecue meals in Afghanistan) is a must-try. Bonus points for the exceedingly friendly staff. More »

Discussion

34 Comments

Aydin / April 30, 2012 at 10:25 am
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Bamiyan Kabob is AMAZING. If you've never had Afghan kabobs, this is THE place to try it. The fresh baked bread is really good. I get the Sultani Kabob, which is a combination of beef and lamb kabobs.

The location on Overlea is great - just a 10-minute bus ride from Pape subway station (take the 25 or the 81). It's REALLY easy to get there. Go during off-hours, as their lineups get really long during lunch and dinner rushes.
Iyaz A / April 30, 2012 at 10:28 am
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The pin for Nowshak Restaurant seems misplaced on the map as Maple is a little further north.
MrsPotato / April 30, 2012 at 10:33 am
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Pamier Kabob is all meat, but I wouldn't say it's that authentic.

They also run out of staples like rice by 5pm, so you can forget about it if you're looking to pick up dinner.
Tim replying to a comment from Iyaz A / April 30, 2012 at 10:40 am
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The map placement has now been fixed. Thanks!
Abhi / April 30, 2012 at 10:59 am
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+1 for Bamiyan!

Great food and IMO- Best value for money!
kearneycation replying to a comment from MrsPotato / April 30, 2012 at 11:00 am
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I live near Pamier Kabob and I've never had a problem when ordering late. They may not be authentic, but their food is fantastic.
Abdullah Salim / April 30, 2012 at 11:01 am
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It's not manti, it's mantoo.
N348 / April 30, 2012 at 01:20 pm
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YES! Good job on putting Bamiyan at #1. I have been eating their food since 2002 when the first location opened up in East York (I live in the area), and it is consistently delicious and affordable. I actually crave it at random. It's hands-down my favourite restaurant in the city.

I recommend the chicken breast kabob dinner - tender, juicy, and flavourful. A close second is the Tandoor chicken kabob. Don't be put off my people's reviews of the service. There is no service - you basically order, pick it up when they call your number, and enjoy.
I like food / April 30, 2012 at 05:58 pm
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There's another Afghan restaurant downtown near Dundas and Church called Kabul Express.

Great food! The meat and naan are always made to order. They have a tandoor oven for the naan and the meat is grilled over charcoal. The side dish of basic salad is not all that great... Limp iceberg lettuce, hard hot house tomatoes and tasteless cucumber. Are these vegetables even part of Afghani cuisine?? Or an attempt to "Canadianize" the food..? The yogurt dressing and hot sauce (reminiscent of a finely chopped pico de gallo in texture, but much more complex in taste) and fabulous though!

Definitely worth a visit!
unfortunate / May 1, 2012 at 08:34 am
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i was excited to try pamier kabob. ended up getting food poisoning.. first time in my life. :(
Rob / May 1, 2012 at 09:45 am
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Bamiyan is fantastic food, though every time I eat there, I feel as if a portion of my money is going towards funding the Taliban...many of whom are also eating at the restaurant
ClearEyed replying to a comment from Rob / May 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm
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That is uncalled for racism / fanaticism.
Anita H replying to a comment from Rob / May 10, 2012 at 01:04 pm
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I find this comment extremely offensive and prejudice. I wish a mod would remove this comment.
milad replying to a comment from Rob / May 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm
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Fuck u Rob u xenophobic son of a bitch
Jones / May 29, 2012 at 09:56 am
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It would be nice if you included the address of the restaurants. Just sayin'
Bryan / July 13, 2012 at 09:10 pm
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Just stopped at Watan Kabob in Mississauga. Hwy 10 & Matheson in Mississauga. Found it by accident. Great food!!! I had the Beef Tikka Kabob and dessert called Firnee, which is a pudding with cardoman. Staff was very friendly. Owner used to work at Bamiyan Kabob. Found this place to be better.Brought some home to my family and they raved about the food.Outside of t.O. I know but worth mentioning.
Cosplay / September 26, 2012 at 05:27 am
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The pin for Nowshak Restaurant seems misplaced on the map as Maple is a little further north.
TheRightAppetite / October 14, 2012 at 12:53 am
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If you like tasty food and a warm and clean place, then I would recommend Naan & Kabob. The kabobs are delicious especially their chaplee with a fresh hot oven baked bread. The staff are very friendly and hospitable...they tell me it's part of the Afghan culture. I really love their new modern restaurant renovation.
MStar / October 16, 2012 at 05:26 pm
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Where is Kabul express on the list?? Its amazing! Mad fresh every time. Go check it out...but be prepared to wait for your food...quality takes some time!
Pari / November 12, 2012 at 09:50 pm
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Naan & Kabob is newest hottest place for Afghan food. The place looks amazing as a result of the renovations, and the food is as taster and more appetizing as ever. I highly recommend it, I have been to these other Afghan restaurants and nothing compares to Naan & Kabob.
Food Critic / November 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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Kudos to Naan & Kabob. They are #1 on my list. Great food and customer service. Really like the modern look of the restaurant too.
bowtiepasta replying to a comment from Abdullah Salim / December 23, 2012 at 11:20 pm
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No, it's mantu. Manti is Turkish and typically much smaller than the Afghani mantu dumplings.
Sheroghah / April 11, 2013 at 03:42 pm
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There is also Kandahar Kabob in Mississauga!
Jalal / June 5, 2013 at 07:52 am
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Another Afghan restaurant that is not on this list is Radiance. It's near Dufferin/Finch. The food is amazing!!!
City / June 30, 2013 at 08:28 pm
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I'd like to suggest you head west and try Baghlan Kabob & Bakery in Etobicoke. My husband swears by their kofta kabob, served with rice, salad, nan and chutney. They bake a variety of Afghan breads on the premises, as well as some specialty sweets. Its a fast food place with some seating, so ambiance is not something you'll find here - we typically do takeout. As a vegetarian I used to never find anything, but they recently started having a huge bread stuffed with spinach and onions or potatoes that is absolutely delicious. I recommend you definitely check them out. Their contact info is 416-401-0120; www.baghlan.ca
travel / July 18, 2013 at 07:16 pm
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Hi to all, for the reason that I am actually eager of reading this web site's post to be updated regularly. It includes fastidious data.
brain / October 25, 2013 at 04:15 pm
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Web have forgotten a bout the afghan food called afghan cuisine thier first location opend at 66 overlea
Chris / November 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm
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Maple isn't outside the GTA at all, techinically or otherwise. It's just outside of Toronto.
Farhad / November 14, 2013 at 01:41 pm
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There is a new Afghan restaurant on Richmond & Spadina called Nora. This restaurant is just north of Pamier Kabob on Spadina Nora is than Pamier. They are open late on weekends (until 3am)
Afghan replying to a comment from I like food / November 18, 2013 at 03:37 am
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The SO-CALLED afghan restaurant in downtown called Kabul Express, near Dundas and CHurch that is being promoted up there by one of the fellows in the comment section is FRAUD!
THe Food IS NOTHING of afghan cuisine, RUN by some Pakistani, not a single soul in the restaurant speaks any of Afghan languages, neither anything on the menu is Afghan.

If you can avoid that place, and it's utter uneatable food, you will be doing yourself an big favour.
Fatima / December 24, 2013 at 10:24 am
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Bamiyan Kabob has amazing food. I recommend you all to go.
perkofashion / March 9, 2014 at 06:50 am
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nice post guysssssssssss
lowongan kerja 2014 / March 9, 2014 at 06:51 am
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good job brotherrrrrrrrrrrr

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