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South Salt Lake • If you're a fan of hole-in-the-wall restaurants, Afghan Kitchen, tucked in a nondescript building on Main Street, should be high on your list. You'd never know a new addition to South Salt Lake's dining scene hides inside.

For those unfamiliar with Afghan cuisine, have no fear. Many of the dishes are familiar —from kababs and naan to curry and lassi drinks. And while the flavors are distinctive, if you enjoy the foods of India you'll like Afghan fare.

The menu at Afghan Kitchen is organized by protein, including lamb, chicken, beef and vegetarian selections that can be shared family style or as individual portions.

We started our meal by sliding into a booth in the front of the restaurant and ordering a mango lassi ($2.50). The version here was thinner and more tart than others I've tried — perhaps due to the housemade yogurt — but a nice counter to the zesty food that was soon to arrive.

A dish of mantu ($3.50) started our lunch. The dumplinglike bites were filled with spiced ground beef and onions and topped with tomato sauce and a cool yogurt sauce. The dish is traditionally served lukewarm.

Similarly, a traditional Afghan soup called aush ($2.95) was served lukewarm. While filled with garbanzo beans, onions and tomatoes, its thin consistency and lackluster flavors were discouraging.

Fortunately, no other dish suffered from unexpected temperature swings. In fact, the chicken tikka kabab ($9.95) marinated in ginger, garlic and spices came out sizzling and tender paired with grilled onions and green peppers and a side of perfectly prepared basmati rice.

The Afghan shami kabab ($9.95) — two skewers of minced ground beef flavored with garlic, onion and ginger and served on rice —proved surprisingly filling.

A curry entrée spiced medium-hot was studded with chunks of lamb ($9.95) and came in a sharable portion, as did the mildly spiced chicken mushroom ($8.50), which swam in tomato-based sauce tinged with garlic and ginger.

The national dish of Afghanistan, kabuli palow ($9.95), combined steamed rice with raisins, carrots and lamb. I found it to be dry as an entrée, but as a side dish shared with the table, it had plenty of merit. The lamb palow ($9.95) or chicken palow ($8.50) served with yogurt sauce fared better as a main dish.

Don't skip the platter-sized naan hot from the tandoor oven. Offered in regular ($1.50) and garlic ($1.95) flavors, it was a favorite addition to our meals, allowing us to efficiently scoop curry and other sauces. It also was a good accompaniment to the barta ($3.50), a yogurt-based spread filled with roasted eggplant and fresh garlic.

For dessert, Afghan Kitchen serves rice pudding (sheer berenj, $2.50) spiced with cardamom.

With nothing on the menu more than $10 — plus kind and quick service from the owner — this quiet spot is worth seeking out for a taste of Afghanistan.

Heather L. King also writes for and can be found on social media @slclunches —


Afghan Kitchen

Food • HH

Mood • HH

Service • HH

Noise • b

At this South Salt Lake restaurant, try the kabuli palow— the national dish of Afghanistan— as well as naan, curries and kababs.

Location • 3142 Main, South Salt Lake; 385-229-4155

Online •

Hours • Open Tuesday-Friday, noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1 to 9 p.m.

Children's menu • No

Prices • $-$$

Liquor • No

Reservations • Yes

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • All major