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The Helmand Restaurant

4.7
307 Reviews
$31 to $50
Middle Eastern
Helmand Restaurant offers Afghani dishes with a wood-burning oven where the famous flatbread is cooked on one side of the room and an intimate fireplace is on the other side.

Helmand Restaurant entrées include tasty choices like qabelee, which is pallow rice baked with chunks of lamb tenderloin, raisins and glazed carrots or mantwo, a homemade pasta shell filled with beef and onions. If you like spicy dishes, try the koufta challow, consisting of beef meatballs with Afghan seasoning sautéed with sun-dried tomato, hot peppers and green peas in a fresh tomato sauce. Several vegetarian entrées are also available such as the kaddo and banjan challow, which is pan fried and baked pumpkin and eggplant served with challow rice and yogurt garlic sauce.

*Due to limited patio seating, we do not take reservations for our patio . Please note the patio or any other special requests in your reservation, or ask upon arrival, and we will do our best to accommodate.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
What 307 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
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MB
MattB
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Aromatic, savory, inviting, this is food lovingly made and proudly served.

LH
LeoraH
New England
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous! Fun! Delicious!

Report
B
vipBlazor
New England
45 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A wonderful place with great service, food, atmosphere, and very reasonably priced.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice food and good drink

l
localbuzz
New England
63 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and selections- the lamb dishes are a favorite and all the appetizers are good. If you like okra the Bendi is yummy!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Montreal
2 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Reservation was not honored. No one at the front desk. I waved at one of the waitresses, who said they would come back but that then ignored us when we tried to make eye contact. Another manager was chatting with a staff member and was completely ignoring the line. We were very frustrated by the situation and ended up leaving.

MM
MatthewM
New England
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall4food5service2ambience4

Food was delicious, service was a bit of a mess. Ordered 2 appetizers, neither arrived before the main dishes. When we asked about them they brought one appetizer over after a few minutes, and still didn't have the second one - which took another 5-10 minutes and another reminder to the waiter. I also ordered a glass of wine that wasn't delivered for ~10 minutes where I had to flag the waiter a second time to remind him. The staff was very apologetic, which was appreciated, but we would've liked our food and drinks delivered at the right time. It was busy, but not slammed

I was also waffling between two entrees and when I asked the waiter which tasted better between the two he recommended one because "it has spinach which has lots of iron and is healthy for you." Which isn't really what I was asking...

S
vipStella52
Philadelphia
59 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Everything was beautifully served with so many fresh flavors!

D
Done
New England
32 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience3

The food was fine, we went to explore the food and culture, we were underwhelmed by service or lack there of. It was interesting space not sure if I would return or recommend.

RS
vipRSfoodies
New England
13 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very nice evening. Unusual tastes. Good service.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New England
9 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was our first time eating Afghan food and it was a great experience. We loved the food, the server was the owner himself and he was very helpful and interesting. We will definitely go back!

LS
LelandS
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The word "Hidden Gem" doesn't quite say how wonderful this place is. Easy to see why The Helmand has been around for decades. So many delicious choices (including vegetarian) with service which is professional, quick, and very friendly. Street parking is free after 6pm and usually available within a block or two. Cannot recommend more highly!

RV
RexVinearum
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Some of our party was late, but they still seated us and gave us time to order. Once our full party was there, service was quick and the manager regularly checked in with us. The atmosphere was perfect - noise levels weren't too loud and there was a good sense of energy. Out of a party of 7, everyone found their food delicious. The food is not too pricey considering it is a Cambridge restaurant. Would definitely recommend and visit again!

LT
LikesToEat
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great Afghani food in a nice setting!

CV
ClarkV
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The restaurant was full the entire time but did not feel either too loud or too busy, nor did the service suffer. The food and menu were outstanding and I can't wait to go back.

a
aem19
New England
10 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

food and service is always impeccable!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, great service!

FT
FaithT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were at Helmand celebrating my son’s 27th birthday, just like a previous reviewer. We had a wonderful night and the food was excellent. We all got different dishes and tried 3 different appetizers. The appetizers were a hit. We got the Ashak, the Kaddo and the Banjan for appetizers and split it up for the six of us for a taste. It’s hard to say which one we liked best, the we’re so amazing and unique. But I was particularly impressed with the Ashak, the Afghan ravioli. Loved, loved the Aush soup! We all got different entrees and enjoyed all of them. For dessert was Bucklawa and Sheeberaing (rice pudding) and highly recommend those too. The two people who ordered cocktails and wine were
happy with their orders. We all agreed it was one of our best dinners. So glad we went!

KH
KomalH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

love this restaurant. I feel its really authentic. I go to this restaurant every month.

F
Foodie
New England
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Delicious food and great service it did take a little longer than expected for the Waiter

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful time celebrating our sons 27th birthday, he loves your place and chose it for his family dinner and I can see why he loves it, great food and love the family owned and operated feeling. We will definitely be back many more times!

MP
MimiPHM
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Interesting, tasty food and decor. Pleasant atmosphere.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and fun outdoor seating which was warm under the heaters

D
Doro
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Excellent food, ambiance and service. One of my all time favorite restaurants

M
Martha
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is a wonderful restaurant in a part of Cambridge where there’s plenty of parking; it’s a quality experience from A to Z…from the deliciously seasoned food to the rich decor to the friendly staff.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
13 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is my favorite restaurant. I’ve been going here for my birthday every year since 1999.

GM
vipGlennM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Long wait times for service, but when the waiter did arrive he was excellent. Busboys were not as friendly...food was pretty good, but not as good as I remember it to be from a few years ago.

The Helmand Restaurant
Responded on October 24, 2021

Hi there, I am so sorry to hear that. We have been very busy and unfortunately understaffed because of the pandemic, so we are trying our best to provide fast service with the circumstances. We apologize for the busboy's behavior as some of them do not understand much English and do not intentionally mean to come across as rude. We hope that you will visit the Helmand again and we can provide a more satisfactory experience next time. Thank you, Ali (General Manager of The Helmand)

Report
LT
LaurenT
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2021
Overall5food5service1ambience5

The food was amazing, the pumpkin appetizer I could not get enough of. However, the service was awful, we kept having to wave someone over. Food more than made up for it though

MK
McKeanT
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was fabulous. The server gave us great recommendations. The appetizers are so flavorful and amazing.

JS
JohnS
New England
5 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

With bread coming from the large, traditional oven in the corner, the ambience is great. The food is very good as is the wine list. A very nice place for a romantic evening or a business dinner.

W
vipWilliam
New England
33 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Quiet, Afghani restaurant with great food located in East Cambridge.

SM
SamiM
New England
12 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went back here for a second time in 2 months. Very nice food, service, and ambiance. Parking easy to find for Sunday dinner.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience1

Overcrowded during pandemic, Very little space between tables , back section horrible, table not even on a level floor
Food order took an hr and my dinner order was mixed up with some one else order . Waiter was horrible the way he took order and kept questioning why we were not ordering appetizers. Absolutely poor service and poor environment to eat especially during pandemic.
I shared other peoples food and cancelled my dinner order because was not going to wait again to eat my dinner.

p
pamc
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The vegetarian offerings are wonderful in presentation, ingredients, and flavors. My only concern ia that they do not include enough protein.

RM
RickyM
New England
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Nice place-we went with a rather large group of 11 friends and get good food and service. Will go again. Good choice of wine but would like to see more choices in single malts and bourbons. Nice family owned restaurant.

W
Wally
New England
4 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and service were excellent. Colorful and interesting decor. Loved it!

MJ
MatthiasJ
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Awesome experience, as always. Meals are prepared at class with fantastic ingredients. Only a minor thing happened this time, the waiter forgot about a drink order - no big deal. I really like Helmand and come back soon.

JT
vipJimT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went in knowing absolutely nothing about Afghani cuisine and I can’t imagine a better introduction.

Every single bite of every single dish was absolutely delicious!

You may have preconceived notions and if so, allow me to say;

It’s not like Indian food (which I also love)

It’s not spicy

It’s not complicated

It is however, uniquely its own thing and it’s fantastic.

We were waited on by the owner and he was perfect. Proud of his food and made us feel like we were guests in his home.

Atmosphere, cuisine, value and service were all on point and we can’t wait to go back.

MD
MaryD
New England
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The way they flavor/spice the food is amazing. We have had several meals—always cooked perfectly. Great service. Highly recommend it.

DC
DChaudhuri
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very good food and friendly service. Surprisingly quite a spacious dining area.

FAQs

The Helmand Restaurant does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates and Uber Eats. The Helmand Restaurant also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (617) 492-4646.

The Helmand Restaurant is rated 4.7 stars by 307 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.