100 Very Best Restaurants 2017: Afghan Bistro

Afghan Bistro's warm mezze platter. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Omar Masroor once paid the bills by working at a car dealership. So how did a guy with zero restaurant experience open one of the area’s best Afghan spots? Credit goes to the kind host—that’s Masroor helping elderly customers up from their chairs—and to his family. The Kabul native’s recipes, passed down through three generations, are recreated here by his wife and, at times, one of his daughters. Start with a sampler—the cold version includes a lush eggplant purée spiked with jalapeños, while the warm platter centers around mantu, excellent freeform ravioli stuffed with zesty beef or leeks. Marinated kebabs are a sure bet, as are many stews listed among the chalkboard specials. Don’t overlook the house-made chutneys—especially the avocado-and-cilantro version—which brighten everything beautifully. Inexpensive.

Also great: Bouranee (butternut-squash purée); lentil soup; chicken lawaan (a cilantro-and-yogurt stew); lamb-shank moghuli; lamb or chicken karahi; cardamom ice cream.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

Kristen Hinman
Articles Editor

Kristen Hinman has been editing Washingtonian’s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing politics & policy coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and working as a staff writer for Voice Media Group/Riverfront Times.