Best of Boston

2011 Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Helmand Restaurant

Judge the Helmand not by its cover—an unassuming facade steps from the CambridgeSide Galleria. Judge it instead by the cheerful yellow interior, accented with exotic curios, and, most important, by the food: Afghani fare that’s as authentic as it gets. That means kaddo, or silky pumpkin in a rich meat sauce with creamy yogurt; and perfectly charred lamb enhanced with onion, sun-dried baby grapes, and garlic. This is no mere meal; it’s a culinary journey.

143 1st St., Cambridge, 617-492-4646,