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Dec 7, 2007 11:15 PM

De Afghanan from Fremont - now in San Francisco and Berkeley

In one of the best pieces of food news I have heard in recent years, I recently learnt that the De Afghanan true-hole-in-the-wall place in Fremont has opened a new location in San Francisco (13xx Polk street). I happened to discover it as I was driving by.
I stepped in and spoke to the gentleman managing the place and he's told me that he expects yet another location to open in Berkeley next week. (Super! Super! Super!)
The Berkeley location would be near the intersection of San Pablo and University (near the Pakistani-Indian restaurant Kabana)
Moreover, the restaurant has a menu that's almost twice as long as the original Fremont location.
Anybody up for a chowhound lunch at the Berkeley location? (assuming it does open next week, as it was suggested)?

For those who are not familiar with De Afghanan ----
As the name suggests its an Afghan food place. It happens to be, IMO, the best lamb and chicken kabobs I have ever come across. Its more famous however, for its beef kabobs called Chapli Kabobs. They also carry a turnover filled with potato and spices and served with curd, called Bhulani. (resemble the Indian Aloo Paratha).
If you like kabobs, I believe this place is a must-try.

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    1. I'd love to try the Berkeley one! Propose a day.

      Just was at Helmand in SF and the food was as good as ever in the new location on Van Ness - but the place was very empty - I hope they can stay in business.

      8 Replies
      1. re: fruti

        Yup. I hope they stay in business too!
        I expect to drive by San Pablo and University some time next week and see if the Berkeley branch is open as I have been told. Once I confirm, I'll propose a day for a chow lunch. Cheers!

        1. re: hippopotamus

          Any more information on the Berkeley location, opening, hours, etc.? I walked around the SP&U intersection yesterday afternoon and did not see any signs of the place.

          1. re: sydthekyd

            Unfortunately --- no... I need to get hold of the SF location phone no. Then may be I could call and ask about the Berkeley location

            1. re: sydthekyd

              Eureka! I was walking on University Ave in Berkeley this afternoon and found a sign for De Afghanan at 1160 University Ave, formerly the site of Kabab N Curry, Mughal and a French cafe. It's on the south side of the street, about 1/2 block east of San Pablo Ave.

              It's not open yet but met someone in front of the shop who works for the owners of De Afghanan and he said that it should open very soon, pending some final inspections. There is no menu printed yet but there might be a few items that are different than the Polk Street branch.

              1. re: zippo

                Zippo: Nice! I was beginning to wonder if the Berkeley location was more an idea in the mind of the person who told me about it, than a legal reality.

              2. re: sydthekyd

                Not-yet-open De Afghanan Kabob House at 1160 University does have a menu up on a window. Hours will be 11 am - 10 pm on Sunday through Thursday and 11 am - 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. The telephone listed is 510-549-3781. I called but there was no answer or voice mail.

                The menu has appetizers and kabobs on it but no mantu (dumplings). Maybe they will be a special.

                1. re: zippo

                  I called them on Saturday and the nice man said they would be opening today, Monday, December 31!

                  1. re: sydthekyd

                    Can this be better than the kabob e murgh and kadu at Kabul in San Carlos. Those are hard to beat

          2. The SF restaurant is the "Bargain Bite" featured in today's Chronicle 96 Hours section. The reviewer didn't exactly rave about it but still can't wait to try the Berkeley location. Was hoping to take my son there for his birthday this Sunday but that may be too soon for them to be open

            1 Reply
            1. My husband and I were driving on University Avenue in Berkeley early on the afternoon of New Year's Day when we saw an "Open" sign on DeAfghanan. Understanding that you can't escape destiny, we stopped immediately. Astonishingly, we were the very first customers - or at least they told us we were...

              "Open" might have been a bit of an exaggeration. There was no heat and only paper plates and plastic knives and forks. (The owner said they would have the permanent ones soon.) The food, however, was terrific. We had a squash bolani and the chopped beef kebab - more than enough food for two hungry people. The rice and vegetables which came with the kebab were excellent, as was the kebab itself. The bolani came with a lovely yogurt sauce.

              We had driven to Fremont several times for a meal at Salang Pass, so we are delighted to find this place close to home. The people could not be nicer or more welcoming, though their English is a bit on the weak side. Unfortunately, the menu is really tiny, at least at this stage. No manti. And the place is really, really small. It probably makes sense to go as soon as you can, because it will be packed as soon as people find it.

              9 Replies
              1. re: mcchowhound

                alrighty -- finally!
                So (if people are still reading this thread) who's up for a chow-group lunch/dinner?

                1. re: hippopotamus

                  I stopped by on Friday afternoon at 1 PM. They were not open although I did see someone inside.

                  I didn't see any hours posted.

                  This was in the middle of the rain storm and the traffic lights at the intersection of San Pablo and Univ. were out, so maybe they were having power problems.

                  1. re: 10foot5

                    They were open today at 2 p.m. I got a to go order of mantu, which were quick (ready in the time it took me to walk over 1 block from Van Ness).

                    Edited to add: Oops, thought I was replying about the SF location on Polk @ Bush.

                    1. re: 10foot5

                      I did a drive by on University on Tuesday and hopped out, and didn't see any movement - will try lunch time today - anxious for a new place, new foods, all your comments are making me darn hungry! will report back.

                      1. re: bunky

                        I was thinking about trying for lunch today too. Race ya!

                        1. re: 10foot5

                          10foot, I didn't make it in. Time: 11:30am. Squinted across the street from Foster's Freeze and saw no open curtains, and one person in an unstained kitchen apron wandering up Uni., relieving a guy of what looked like some big plastic container of food... Not a good sign, thinks I... he's still setting up! needed grub faster so went to Turkish Kitchen - yum! but that's another post. I did talk to a guy cooking in the kitchen around 2:30pm (I'm like, stalking the joint), but I had kindergarteners in the car who don't cotton to Mom's foodie research stops. He said they open around 11:30am for lunch. You get lucky?

                    2. re: hippopotamus

                      Did the chow-chow already happen? Or are people still interested?

                      1. re: hippopotamus

                        You might post your email address so that folks can contact you off-line.

                    3. Adding Places records turned up a location in Walnut Creek ... same owner?

                      De Afghanan Kabob House
                      37405 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536

                      De Afghanan
                      1160 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                      San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: rworange

                        I was told the Fremont, SF and Berkeley locations are under the same owner. I didn't know there was another location in Walnut Creek....hmmm

                        1. re: rworange

                          Unfortunately the Walnut Creek location closed some time ago. We had a great Afghan meal at Amoo in downtown Concord though.

                          1. re: DiveFan

                            Not hip to Amoo, could you please tell us more about your meal?

                            1909 Salvio St, Concord, CA 94520

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              ROFL what a quick response!

                              For appetizers we had a pumpkin dish and (forgot the name) leek filled pancakes. Main courses tried were the ashak, mantoo and chicken and beef kabobs. I thought everything was tasty, excitingly different (for me) and agreed with the below reviewer that the kabobs were a little dry.
                              Afghan dumplings remind me of the eternal controversy about where certain items like pasta and ravioli come from; I think that the Turks and Afghans have originated or propogated more dishes than they get credit for.

                              FYI here's the CCT review:
                              IMO Mr. Boer is overly critical of middle eastern and south asian restaurants so I usually try out his suggestions of these cuisines.

                              1. re: DiveFan

                                Haha, quick on the draw yourself! Looks like it's taken over Swagat's spot.

                                Thanks, for the link to Boer's review. We had a chowdown at Chopan in Concord some years ago,
                       , right after the ownership change. Not sure if this was during Amoo's owner's watch.