Falls Church, VA 22046
One of our old time favorites is still going strong. No pretense, no higher ambition, just plain good Afghan food with great hosts and excellent service. For those who are interested in factoids, Panjshir catered a large party hosted for President Hamid Karzai in Washington when Karzai first became president. But more importantly, the restaurant is always filled with regular people having freshly grilled kebobs on flat skewers, succulent pumpkin with yogurt sauce, scallion dumplings with minced lamb and other delicacies from Afghanistan. It is a small restaurant with a cozy setting, clean and welcoming atmosphere. Panjshir has been open at this location since 1985, no small feat. When the Bankgok Blues surprisingly closed down next-door last year, Panjshir continued to stay strong, and that’s a testament to its goodness.
We ordered 2 appetizers – Bulanee Gundana (lightly fried dumplings stuffed with scallions and ground beef) and the Sambosa Goshti (deep fried dumplings with ground beef, chickpeas and parsley). The sauces served with the appetizers were fantastic – one yogurt sauce and one spicy green sauce, which was very flavorful and we asked for seconds on the sauces. Went great with rice and would go great on anything.
The wait staff was very knowledgeable about the food. Pleasantly, even the waiter that is not Afghan definitely knew the food and made excellent recommendations. This is not surprising for Panjshir because it is a family-run business that is truly run like a family with the warm atmosphere.
Our entrees included a Kabab E-Murgh, which is a tender and flavorful chicken kebob served with saffron rice; a Samarooq Palow, which is tender, flavorful chicken cubes and mushrooms served in a stewy saucy dish with yogurt sauce; and a Vegetarian platter with any choice of 3 dishes selected from the vegetarian menu with saffron rice. In our case it was eggplant (Banjan Chalow), spinach (Sabsi Chalow), and pumpkin (Kadu Chalow) – a perfect combination of salty and sweet. All entrees came with a sizeable section of Afghan bread that is topped with black sesame seeds. Entrees were also preceded by a nice garden salad with a homemade mustard-based dressing. We finished off the meal with a tasty cardamom tea. Portions were a “just right” amount and at about $20 per person (total bill) were reasonably-priced.
Panjshir is a place we have visited many times and will continue to visit and recommend to our friends.