It’s a first on this blog today: the review of a restaurant located in the suburbs! If you know me a little, you’d know that I am not a great fan of the burbs. I am a city girl through and through and I get very anxious every time I have to trek out to suburbia to visit family and friends. However, when I first read about Afghan restaurant Aryana in Sarah Musgrave’s review, I was intrigued. Not only because it sounded great but because Afghan restaurants are a rare thing in Montreal.

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Badunjan burani (fried eggplant seasoned with garlic and served with Afghani yogurt and bread)

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Mantoo (steamed dumplings filled with minced meat, onions & seasonings), very similar to Turkish manti

So a few weeks ago, on a freezing Sunday evening, I set out to try some exotic flavours to warm me up. Afghan restaurant Aryana is located in one of those unattractive outdoor suburban strip malls. It’s surrounded by ethnic restaurants and is easy to miss among all the other fluorescent signs. It’s the sort of place I wouldn’t have normally walked into had I not heard about it before – and it would have been a shame. The unpretentious decor is offset by the warm welcome from the owners’ son, who was our waiter on this quiet night. He was also very informative in helping us pick a few dishes to share.

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Kabuli palow (basmati rice, carrots, raisins and lamb) there are big chunks of lamb hidden under the rice

From where we were seated, we could watch the owners – our waiter’s mom and dad – preparing our food in the open kitchen. The exquisite smells emanating from the kitchen were only a preliminary to the array of delicious dishes that soon arrived at our table. Everything was so well spiced, so aromatic that even the “simplest” of basmati rices tasted absolutely incredible. I wish I knew how to use spices like that! Two of my favourite cuisines are Thai and Indian and they are both very aromatic but this was above and beyond what I was used to. Every single one of those dishes was an absolute joy to savour and while I was eating, I was already planning my next trip to this gem of a place. That’s when you know it’s really good!

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Kadu chalow (pumpkin served with yogurt), an absolute must-have!

If I was pressed to pick a favourite among the dishes we had, I would have to say don’t miss out on the kadu chalow, the sweet and melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin chunks with a tangy and garlicky yogurt topping and the kabuli palow, the rice and lamb dish that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. The only slight disappointment were the desserts, which in our case included some baklava and a Afghanai rice pudding and which were not at all at par with the food.

If you’re on the lookout for exotic flavours to escape the bitter cold, Aryana is you’ll find tem.. It may not be located on a hip street in town but it’ll take you on far away spice voyage that is absolutely worth the trek..

4886 des Sources Boulevard, Dollard des Ormeaux
+1 514 683 9595

Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Aryana on Urbanspoon

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