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Ariana Afghan Restaurant: A Taste of the Middle East

Authentic Afghan cuisine, from goshtee and chatney sauce to kabobs with chai.

I was nearly alone eating lunch in the in Dale City, a fact which might speak more to the lack of demand for Afghan food than to the quality of the restaurant.

Ariana—the ancient name for the area including modern Afghanistan—is a restaurant with a large banquet hall used for meetings, parties and other events. The chandeliers hanging in the banquet hall area and the slightly faded draperies give a feeling of worn elegance.

The service was friendly, though it could have been a bit more attentive. I was quickly seated; not much of a problem given that the restaurant was nearly empty. My glass was usually refilled before it quite ran out, though there were times I was looking for a waiter and couldn't find one.

The sambosay goshtee, a fried pastry filled with ground beef, chickpeas and spices, was a delicious appetizer. The pastry was light and flaky, with ample filling and a good balance of flavor. The slight spiciness was enough to complement, but not overwhelm, the other flavors.

The chicken kabob I ordered was less flavorful and somewhat dry, but the spices and creamy texture of the chatney sauce helped somewhat. The rice had a very fluffy texture but the plate was heaped with more of it than I could eat in two meals. According to the menu, the kabob comes with your choice of a side dish, although I was simply brought what I believe was the chickpeas qurma. Despite the lack of choice, this added a nice texture and flavor to the meal. The naan—traditional Afghan leavened flatbread—was one of the best parts of the meal.

All in all, I got a good and filling lunch, including appetizer, main dish and chai for about $10. Ariana is located at 4182 Dale Blvd in Dale City.

Paul May 16, 2011 at 07:28 PM
My wife and I have been eating here for a few years. We have never been disappointed. I honestly feel this restaurant is a hidden gem. The BEST kabobs in town, the best brown rice I ever had from Cali to VA. We never walk out hungry or unsatisfied. The service is great regardless of what the above article said. We never have a hard time finding a server when in need of anything. We do lots of dining out and Ariana Afghan Restaurant is top of list with Taste of Tandoor as best sit down restaurant in Dalecity.

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