The next time you’ve finished your prayers at ISNA, or if you just happen to be in the area, you owe it to yourself to indulge in some of the delicacies offered by Chopan Grill, located at Erin Mills and the QEW.
Almost immediately upon entering, you can’t help but be drawn to the alluring smell of freshly baked bread and the welcoming atmosphere. The interior is very well maintained, and though it might not be in-line with the newest interior-design trends, the restaurant manages to keep up a guest-friendly ambience.
A unique feature to the restaurant is the traditional Afghan style seating where you are seated on the floor with beautiful ornate pillows and carpets draping the table. In fact, Chopan Grill is occasionally rented out for private parties such as weddings.
After you’ve taken a seat, get ready to be delighted by a wonderful and traditional Afghani meal. Amongst the unique appetizers, I’d highly recommend Mantoo, an Afghani-style dumpling freshly prepared and perfect to whet your appetite for what’s to come.
Being not-too-familiar with Afghani cuisine myself, I opted for a relatively traditional dining experience: soup, appetizer, salad, and meat accompanied by rice. The mixed grill platter had well-cooked beef, lamb, and chicken. All the items were very tender, the kebabs were not overcooked and the rice, though seemingly plain, was incredibly flavorful and aromatic. I should point out that the grilled chicken was definitely my favorite for its delicious taste and careful preparation.
In addition to the standard rice portion included with the grill platter, I also tried their Qabili Palow, one of their many rustic pilafs. Each rich dish is a completely different blend of rice, meat, spices, and various kinds of vegetables.
Even before having finished my meal, I felt that Chopan Grill’s expertise lies in their traditional recipes and the sense that you are receiving a quality home-cooked meal. For those who are unfamiliar with Afghani cuisine, Chopan Grill provides an excellent experience to start with.
Interestingly enough, the restaurant is actually one of the only few I’ve seen where all the chefs, three in this case, are female and by the grace of Allah, they manage to put a lot of motherly care and affection into all of their dishes. Also, for those families interested, the restaurant offers a truly traditional dining experience via their beautifully ornate floor-tables decorated in exotic Afghani fabrics.
All in all, Chopan Grill is perfect for those looking for the kind of experience one has when they visit a close friend for lunch or dinner. Everyone you meet is very welcoming, the atmosphere is casual and warm, while the quality and taste of the food reminds you of being cozy at home.