Philadelphia, PA - Ariana's, nestled right in the heart of the old city at 134 chestnut street is a little gem of a restaurant owned and operated by a wonderful young woman who has been serving her Afghani specialties here for well over 19 years.
Bihishta is her name and her artistry is unsurpassed and of Afghan cuisine, she is the Queen. Hosting us to a wonderful evening of fine food, wine and a belly dancer hovering around the Hookah bar and tables.Starting with some enticing appetizers like…Sambosa. Spicy cilantro with a kicking bite of zest on in this wonderful, savory pastry. Excellent. Aashak steamed dumpling was a wonderful start to what awaits us. It was tender and bright with its mint sprinkling. Bulanee kachalou, Hearty and satisfying. This is a dish you will need more of. I describe it as a high-end crisp pirogue with a spicy, potato and onion filling. Very tasty.
Then we were set up with some truly flavorful entrees. The Chicken Kabobs.! Oh Man..! So tender with the perfect amount of spice and flavorful touch that was accompanied by basmati rice that brought forth a charcoal note that was an experience, to say the least.
The Norange Palow. Saffron, almonds, pistachios surround this wonderful boneless chicken and rice dish with its orange strips soaked in rose water which kept your mouth doing exactly that. Watering.
I’d be remiss to not mention the sides... Buranee Kadu.This sautéed pumpkins dish was an absolute fall treat with its tender texture and oh so sweet pumpkin and tangy yogurt and meat sauce.Sabzi. Was an extraordinary spinach dish with its onion and spices complementing all the dishes you may venture to try. Along with wonderful company and Belly dancing that night we also treated to more desserts. The Firnee. A decadent Afghan pudding with ground pistachios, almonds and a rose water touch that lit up a smile with ever try. Baklava. A homemade taste of perfection that I’m letting your mind wander on until you come in and try it yourself.
Hosting weddings and parties at this walk-able location at 134 chestnut st. This quaint little, very affordable restaurant is awaiting your arrival. For something different and hearty, Ariana is here for you to enjoy. Walk in and try something you know like a kabob and then something you don’t like some sambosa. What’s that? You say ... come find out for a new taste experience. You will wonder why you waited so long to venture into this little oasis.