100 Best Restaurants 2009: Faryab

No. 95: Faryab

Cuisine: The area’s best Afghan cooking—terrific renditions of steamed leek- and beef-filled dumplings, sweet and subtly spiced rice pallows, and stellar vegetarian stews.

Mood: The hushed dining room feels like the anti-Bethesda restaurant—no banquettes, no trendy light fixtures. Still, reservations are usually a must on weekends.

Best for: Groups; vegetarians; anyone in need of sustenance and sanctuary.

Best dishes: Steamed dumplings known as aushak (with leeks) and mantu (with beef), served with yogurt and mint; bulanee kachalu, lightly fried dumplings filled with ground beef and potatoes; qualibi pallow, raisin-studded rice with tender hunks of lamb; chalow kadu, stewed pumpkin smothered with yogurt; chalow bademjan, a flavorful eggplant stew.

Insider tips: It’s hard to think of an Afghan meal without kebabs, but you can skip them here. They tend to be dry and don’t match the excitement of the vegetarian stews.

Service: ••½

Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. Inexpensive.

>> See all 100 Best Restaurants

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.