Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Sep 21, 2007 07:12 AM

Helmand Palace

OK, so what's the deal? Did Helmand move to Van Ness and rename itself Helmand Palace? Or is this an unrelated venture? Is it even open? It's in the old YaYa space and I am having a hard time determining if it is open...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's the same Helmand that we love. Is it open?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cynsa

      The hand-over was the start of the month, will check, but that would be pretty fast to open.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I am always riding by so I didn't get an up-close look but it looks pretty darn ready...

        OK, that was weird. I called information specifically for Helmand Palace. Operator gives me the number, I call, and I get the vm for the old Helmand stating it was closed due to the landslide. No mention at all of the new place.

    2. Yes, it's the same place, my husband has been "hounding" them for several months. It supposedly opened last night (Oct 1). We will try to go tonight, and will let you know how it is.

      1. I just phoned (same old number) and they did open yesterday!

        Dinner 7 days 5:30-10:00.

        Trying lunch, Tues.-Fri. 11:30-2:30, they'll see how it works out.

        2424 Van Ness Ave (bet. Union & Green)

        13 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Did they mention if they would have the lunch buffet again or if it would be menu only at lunch?

          1. re: Meredith

            whatever you do, if you visit, DON'T forget to try the pumpkin dish, if you haven't already. I forget the name, but I am sure the hosts would know

            1. re: hippopotamus

              Kaddo (also sometimes spelled "kadu")

            2. re: Meredith

              Didn't ask but I doubt they'll do a buffet unless it gets busy.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Hey, I just called to find out for sure... They do offer the buffet still! Its $10, and from Tue to Fri : 11:30 to 2:30pm. Sounds just like it used to be. Can't wait to get there...

            3. re: Robert Lauriston

              Great news! We tried to go a week or two ago and got the same v/m thing, so glad to hear they successfully re-located. I can't wait to get there for a kadu and aushak -- I don't think I'll be able to make it past these two items for at least a dozen visits.

              1. re: bernalgirl

                I totally agree! And that wonderful ice creamish dessert they used to have. Cardamom flavored?

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                Thanks for calling to find out. When I drove by yesterday morning, there was still some work in progress on the sidewalk and a dumpster outside, so I put it off.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Just came from lunch there. It indeed is a buffet and everything was superb! Freshly cooked and well-prepared dishes, including the pumpkin. For $10! Service was excellent and the place shines.....

                  1. re: alamosf

                    Would you happen to know what the parking situation is in that neighborhood? thanks!

                    1. re: elise h

                      Street parking is pretty bad at all times of the day, as there are many apartments and condos, plus businesses nearby along Van Ness, Polk Street, and Union Street. Some of the restaurants on Polk have a valet service, but don't know if Helmand will join with them. But you do have good Muni connections along the Van Ness corridor and cross-town along Union St.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Had lunch there on Friday 10/5/07. Excellent food in the buffet, just like the food at the old restaurant on Broadway. I had my fill of the pumpkin, of course - a must, but best saved for dessert. What I discovered was a spinach dish that I loved - and I don't usually like spinach. All your other favorites are there. All you can eat for $10.

                        I was there from 12:30 pm to almost 2pm and the place was nearly empty - no more than three or four tables occupied at any time. So if you want to experience Helmand, I would suggest going ASAP.

                        1. re: Bay Gelldawg

                          Weeellllllll, I have an informal call out to folks who want to go next Friday. Send an email by next Wednesday, and I'll make a reso: sfchaddict at gmail . com...

              3. Had dinner at the new Helmand Palace last night on Van Ness. I was happy to see that the restaurant was pretty busy. (Still... I was able to get a table with 1 hr notice on a Saturday night.) The space somehow feels less "old world" than the old place, but the food was as good as ever. I had wonderful Kaddo (w/beef), the Sabzy Challow (spinach & lamb), and probably the best baklava I've ever had for dessert (incredibly fresh and moist w/honey). The woman at the next table over had the eggplant (banjan borawni), and I heard her remark that it was the best eggplant she ever had. I saw the dish go by, and it certainly looked incredible.

                1. I went today for the buffet lunch. It's quite a bargain. There are a lot of items in the buffet: I tried about half of them. I highly recommend three items in particular:

                  - Candied pumkin
                  - Montwo (the buffet had this instead of aushak)
                  - Lamb korma, made with shredded lamb. Really intense flavor

                  The place was nearly empty.

                  FYI: I believe their phone number has changed. The new # is (415) 345-0072

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ssfire

                    (415) 362-0641, evidently same as the old.

                    1. re: chaddict

                      Don't use the old number. The manager, Daud, explained that they have to pay extra to have calls forwarded from the old number to the new number, and so the old number will eventually go away. The new number is the one printed on their take-out menu, but they have not yet updated their website with the new number.

                    2. re: ssfire

                      Friday - October 12th was the rainy afternoon we (8) met for the lunch buffet... good food is better than ever... the chicken was tasty, tender and succulent. Great value for under $10.

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        It was a terrific lunch..the food at Helmand was better than I remembered it...I can't wait to return!

                        1. re: ChowFun_derek

                          I have to say, it IS better. I remember the Kofta Kebab as not being very good at all last time I was at the old location. This time it was fantastic. And the eggplant, something I would normally avoid, was incredible as well.

                        2. re: Cynsa

                          They did not skimp on the buffet offerings, of which there were many, all of them from the regular menu and most of them flavorful, well-prepared with quality ingredients. A great way to sample this distinctive cuisine--flavors and spices of India, the Middle East, pomegranate, pumpkin, cooling yoghurt-garlic sauce, cardamom-flavored tea. Especially liked the Afghan ravioli (filled with leeks), the lamb preparation in a richly seasoned sauce, banjan (pan fried eggplant, beautifully seasoned). I found the kaddo (baby pumpkin, first fried, then baked) overwhelmingly sweet, pumpkin flavors didn't have a chance, but someone advised eating it with the ubiquitous yoghurt sauce, which improved it greatly (but still intensely sweet). Best $10 value around.

                          1. re: dordogne

                            The Chron published Helmand's recipe for kaddo a few years back, and it's not fried: the pieces are coated with oil and then basically buried in sugar and baked, so that they're, in effect, candied. I agree the yogurt really is necessary to balance the sweetness.