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Helmand Palace

4.2
140 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Afghan
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Good for Groups

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About

Helmand Palace in San Francisco offers Afghan cuisine that is both classic and modern using fresh ingredients for optimal flavor. Appetizers include such delicacies as banjan which is pan-fried eggplant and kaddo which is baby pumpkin. Follow with a soup such as the shorwa, which is lamb and fresh vegetables.

A popular salad option at Helmand Palace is the shornakhod which is potatoes and chickpeas on mixed greens. Lamb is a popular ingredient in Afghan cuisine and can be found in a number of recipes including dwopiaza with yellow split peas and lawand which is leg of lamb. With meat and vegetarian options Helmand Palace can please every appetite.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Afghan
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30PM - 10:00PM
Friday & Saturday: 5:30PM - 11:00PM.
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Phone number
(415) 345-0072
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Payment options
MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Union
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Parking details
We are located on Van Ness between Union and Green. There is ample street parking in the area.
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Wine
What 140 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.2based on all time ratings
4.3
food
4.0
service
3.7
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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3.0Dined on May 16, 2014

Lamb portions were small and food fair. I had enjoyed it years ago and didn't find the quality as in the past.

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4.0Dined on May 10, 2014

Good food and huge portions at reasonable prices. Only parking is a problem.

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3.0Dined on May 8, 2014

Really like the Helmund Place and my group of 6 was secretly happy that it wasn't crowded. The food is delicious for both vegetarians (eggplant, okra, pumpkin lovers would enjoy this place) and meat aficionados. It's a large space, so great for groups, and I plan to return soon.

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4.0Dined on April 19, 2014

of the several afghans i've tried in the US. I've tried Afghan in the afghan-prevalent Fremont city of Bay Area, the sister restaurant in DC (no longer connected), various afghans in Southern California--Helmand is a 10, the others are 7.

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5.0Dined on April 3, 2014

As always, the food, service and ambience at Helmand Palace are first-rate. Five stars.

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5.0Dined on March 21, 2014

Excellent neighborhood gem with a quiet ambience due to I am guessing acoustical tiles in the ceiling and an extremely friendly staff. So, if you are tired of the typical loud trendy Polk or Union Street restaurants, try this for a nice quite change. The spices are also quite exquisite!

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5.0Dined on March 8, 2014

We really liked this place and will be back!

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3.0Dined on March 1, 2014

Haven't eaten there in a while and Helmand hasn't aged well. The bar at the front is used for storage, not a great sight. There was also an off odor as we came in the door. The decor overall has seen better days. The food was ok, but nothing special.

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4.0Dined on February 15, 2014

This is the second time I ate here. This time we had a group of 6. The wait staff were attentive. The food was really good - especially the pumpkin with meat sauce. We ate here because one of our group loves lamb and with all the different ways that it is prepared here - no one was disappointed. The other thing that stood out was the cucumber yogurt salad - yum!

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2014

As visitors to San Francisco, we enjoyed a LONG and uphill walk from the Union Square area to Helmand. We experienced great neighborhood ambience ... and better yet, every step was worth it. We ordered vegetarian and this food was a treat! I'll be recommending this place.

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2014

The service was excellent, the food was great and the manager was very attentive making sure our experience was great.

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5.0Dined on February 12, 2014

Was a great place for a date. There wasn't anyone else in the restaurant but that's not a testament to the food which was good. At least we had the server all to ourselves. I'll be back!

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4.0Dined on February 9, 2014

The food was very good at this restaurant. It was my 2nd time there. Good vegetarian options as well.

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5.0Dined on January 28, 2014

It's such a treat to bring my friends, one by one, to Helmand Palace. Everyone loves the place, as I do, and Tuesday's dinner was no exception. The food is flavorful but neither over-salted nor greasy; the portions are generous; the price is fair; and the service is superb, attentive but not "hovering".

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5.0Dined on January 19, 2014

I was excited to try Afghan food and I was not disappointed - I think I can safely say that the food was out of this world and I wish I lived in San Fran so I could go back again and again :)

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2.0Dined on January 18, 2014

Food was lacking. Service not terrible but not that good. My friends don't want to go back.

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5.0Dined on January 10, 2014

Second time we have visited this restaurant. Exceptional every time. The kaddo!! best dish ever!

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5.0Dined on December 13, 2013

This was my first time having Afghan cuisine and this place surpassed my expectations. Not only was the food unique and delicious (I can't wait to have more of the pumpkin), but it was affordable, the service was great, and ambience was very relaxing. I can't wait to come back!

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4.0Dined on December 9, 2013

a delicious variety of truly unusual food you won't get anywhere else!

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5.0Dined on November 25, 2013

Very friendly staff, excellent service. The restaurant is not "stuffy", we felt comfortable and welcome there. The food was incredible! We weren't sure what to expect but loved everything we tried. The pumpkin appetizer (we had it with the beef, which was great. It comes without beef too) lived up to it's much talked about reputation. I split an order but next time I'll get one myself. So many wonderful choices on the menu - the meatballs were flavorful, the pumpkin was so delicious, the lamb was perfectly cooked. And the portion sizes were very generous. We shared 3 of the 4 desserts on the menu. Everything was delicious. Our server was friendly and very helpful, providing recommendations when we asked. We will definitely come back here!

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5.0Dined on November 23, 2013

We found this place because it was highly rated and it didn't fail to disappoint. We ordered 3 entrees plus an appetizer (I can't remember the names but one was lamb, one chicken, one eggplant) and all three were absolutely fantastic. We will be going back again and I would recommend to anyone.

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5.0Dined on November 22, 2013

Really well prepared and presented food, lovely ambience, superb authentic service - a restaurant that will become a favorite after the first visit.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2013

We had dinner at Helmand on a quiet Monday evening at the end of a Holiday Weekend. Everything was wonderful starting with the ambience and warm welcome we received on arrival and the very attentive service throughout. Ambience was lovely and dinner was delicious. Being vegetarians it was terrific to find such an array of vegetarian items on the menu. We ordered soup, appetizers, entrees and dessert and everything was well prepared and very visually pleasing. Can't wait to return.

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5.0Dined on November 9, 2013

Great Afghan food, nice and quiet. We've eaten at other Afghan restaurants (Kabul's in San Carlos and Sunnyvale), and even though some of the dishes had the same ingredients, Helmand's had much better flavors and textures.

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5.0Dined on October 20, 2013

Absolutely wonderful place. Dishes you will find nowhere else. The pumpkin kadoo is not too be missed, vegetarian and w/ meat are both fabulous. Our BD party of 8 could all converse together, and omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans were all happy. Highly recommend.

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3.0Dined on October 12, 2013

Appetizers were truly delicious; the pumpkin a standout among them. Had we stuck with those, I would've given this restaurant four stars rather than three. Prices were quite reasonable, including the wine list. Recommended if you're in the neighborhood and want a filling dinner at a fairly modest price.

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5.0Dined on September 7, 2013

The Kaddo and Aushak...wow! My friends and I all loved our dishes. We sometimes had to burn some calories to get the server's attention, but it wasn't horrible. I look forward to my next visit.

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4.0Dined on September 7, 2013

A wonderful introduction to Afghan cuisine. Similar to Pakistani and Indian food but with different preparations and seasoning. Lots of lamb dishes. Pallow rice was great. Restaurant reasonably comfortable and clean. One of our group noted a smell of disinfectant cleanser. No cocktails; beer and wind wine only. Baklawa was killer!

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4.0Dined on August 7, 2013

Another excellent meal at Helmand. This is a pretty restaurant with white tablecloths, delicious and interestingly spiced food. The portions are large and the prices small. Order appetizers and take half your entree home. I don't understand why it isn't busier, except that it's not new and trendy. I often bring out of town visitors there, because the food is unlike what they can find at home, and it's quiet enough that we can talk.

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3.0Dined on July 26, 2013

A mostly empty space, looking a bit tired - with quite good food. The prices are surprisingly low.

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5.0Dined on July 5, 2013

The food and service are superb. You have have a conversation with friends because the noise level is quiet. Although it is on Van Ness, don't think this is a tourist trap. It has the feel of a wonderful, neighborhood restaurant with caring staff. Love the place and bring friends frequently.

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2013

Helmand has delicious food, a romantic atmosphere, and is quiet enough so that you can hear your date without having to raise your voice!

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3.0Dined on June 23, 2013

Helmand Palace used to be excellent when it was on Broadway is SF.

Unfortunately the food was too spicy and the flavors used in the meat and rice was dreadful.

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4.0Dined on June 8, 2013

I am a fan of Afghani food. The food at Helamnd Palace was good, but not fabulous, if you have had Afghani food before. I recommend the Aushak. The vegetarian special plate was also very good. The Aush soup was disappointing, if you are having a craving.

For folks new to Afghani food, this restaurant gives a good introduction and you won't be disappointed.

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2013

Helmand Palace is just a great place to eat a great meal that is reasonably priced. The "chowpan" is just the best lamb rack I ate in a long time.

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5.0Dined on May 31, 2013

My wife and I loved the the old location on Broadway, but the new location of Hellmand's. offers the same consistently wonderful and unusual dishes along with understated, friendly, and efficient service.

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5.0Dined on May 24, 2013

I dine here several times a year & ALWAYS have great service & great food. And the best part is that they deliver:)

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3.0Dined on May 19, 2013

This is a family place where the worker's kids hang out while dad is on duty. There was a baby stroller in there and a fussy child, but that only brings your experience to a homey level.
The menu is long but the descriptions are well written. So for a cuisine that you may not be familiar with, you still feel confident ordering.
The rice was simply amazing. I never thought that my most vivid impression of a restaurant would be the rice, but it was. Soaked overnight, rinsed and baked. Simply spiced or very flavorful.
The Kaddo (baked pumpkin with garlic yogurt sauce and ground beef sauce) is not to be missed. A combination that sounds strange but works.
The wait staff was very kind and service was not rushed, but attentive.

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2013

I can't say enough positive comments about the food at this restaurant. Everything we ordered was amazing.

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5.0Dined on May 11, 2013

The food was great. It was some of the best lamb I had in the US.

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