Adventures In Eating Out- Afghan Food in The Netherlands

by farrah on March 10, 2013 · 10 comments

Sometimes I just sit back and thank the universe for the experience we are having here in The Netherlands. Before we came I was filled with doubt, questions and worries. Of course I hoped for the best and wondered what it would be like- and by all accounts the lot we have been given has surpassed my expectations.

Last night was a perfect example. To give some background- when we moved to Oisterwijk, one of the first things we did was to join the local expat club in the nearby city of Tilburg. A dinner was organized by a couple of the club members to have a night out at an Afghan restaurant named Sarban. Neither my husband nor I had ever had Afghan food before- but being up for an evening out with some adult conversation is always welcome. We made plans with our lovely sitter and were out the door by 7:30pm.

Our evening consisted of an incredible menu, delicious wine and engaging conversation. Even my husband pointed out as we drove home that that dinner did not seem three hours long. There were many things I love about this restaurant- the wait staff was funny and attentive, decor inviting and cozy- and the food was spectacular.

A brilliant idea of the (very successful) restaurant is to offer a ‘get to know you’ prix fixe menu. Here you are able to sample almost every single item and it is served tapas- style. How perfect is this for a person like me, completely unfamiliar with Afghan food! I was able to try a bite of each appetizer, main course and even dessert. I tried things I had never tasted before- and am now in love with a completely new cuisine. I am pretty sure my favorite was the ‘mantoe’. This was a light pastry stuffed with a spiced meat topped with seasonings, a slightly spicy tomato sauce drizzled with cream cheese. As the Dutch say ‘lekker!’.

My husband encouraged me to take a photo of our completely filled table- but for whatever reason I didn’t. I should have. The dishes were as delicious as they were pretty. The photo below is taken from the Sarban Facebook page and looks exactly like what our group of five also experienced:


I am so glad that we had the opportunity to go and experience Sarban. Good to know that life still holds surprises for us in the little things like foods never tried. If you’re not far from Tilburg I can’t say enough how much we enjoyed this place. You don’t have to be familiar with Afghan food to have a great time!

Reservations are required (this place is always hoppin’- even on a Tuesday night) so be sure to plan ahead. Not recommended for small kids due to size of restaurant.

Have you ever had Afghan food? What did you think?


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali Berlinski March 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

I’ve never had Afghan food but would love to try it. It looks similar to Persian food which I am well acquainted with and love. One of the things I miss most about nyc, now that I live in Spain, is eating ethnic food whenever I want. Spanish food is great, but sometimes a girl needs to switch it up. Honestly, I’d plan a trip to Amsterdam, just to try some Afghan food 🙂


2 farrah March 11, 2013 at 7:47 am

You should 🙂 And I have this problem wherever I go- I miss food or a restaurant specific to that area. And then I’m screwed! What will you miss in Spain?


3 Danielle March 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

What a fun night and great experience! We usually eat the same stuff at the same places. We need to start to experience food from different cultures and expand our menu a bit.


4 farrah March 11, 2013 at 7:48 am

It does liven things up a bit 🙂 And going to a place with stellar reviews doesn’t hurt.


5 Christie Tate March 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Looks delicious!!!!


6 farrah March 11, 2013 at 7:49 am

It was. And I didn’t even mind loving the ‘mantoe’ which reminded me all to much of the word ‘camel toe’. 🙂


7 Robbie March 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Never tried it but it looks delicious! I love trying new cuisines!


8 farrah March 11, 2013 at 7:49 am

Highly, highly recommended!


9 Julie March 11, 2013 at 1:02 am

I’m always a little scared to try new cuisine, because someone once recommended an Indian restaurant to me and it was the worst food experience of my life. (Except for that salmonella quiche last year.)

That food looks colorful though! Maybe if it passed the smell test…


10 farrah March 11, 2013 at 7:50 am

Yeesh. That does not sound fun at all. I admit I checked out their Facebook page as well as Trip Advisor reviews first- so I was braced with what to expect. Everyone said the same thing- you won’t be prepared for how good it is… so I took that as a good sign and got lucky.


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