Open the menu at this latticed Adams Morgan bistro and you’ll find a note: “Veggie dishes are Afghanistan’s best-kept secret because most people think we are meat-eating mountain people with large turbans.” Kabul-born chef Shamim Popal and her family are all about breaking stereotypes—and in some cases, tradition—at their modern-Afghan restaurant. This means not only abundant salads and superb cooked vegetables but also vegan offerings, spice-infused cocktails, and saffron-sauced mantu dumplings stuffed with shrimp or beef. Still, meat-eating mountain people aren’t left hungry. Options such as long-marinated kebabs and qabili palow—Afghanistan’s national dish of rice and lamb—will make expats proud. Moderate.
Also great: Spinach sambusas; baked eggplant with tomatoes; pumpkin with yogurt and mint; lamb tikka kebab; aushak (leek dumplings topped with beef and yogurt); Kabul shandy.