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Afghan Cuisine restaurant to open in Champaign this September

A cropped photo of the catering by Afghan Cuisine restaurant in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Anticipated for mid-September, Afghan Cuisine restaurant will open in Champaign at 723 S Neil Street, where El Toro used be. Afghan Cuisine first opened this March as a counter service restaurant inside Strawberry Fields and closed a month later. The restaurant’s new location will include all the menu favorites plus new dishes and dine in service.

An overhead photo of the dessert rice pudding at Afghan Cuisine. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

This is the dessert shir berenj, a cardamom rice pudding garnished with ground pistachios, almonds, and walnuts. Read about other dishes like lamb rosh, chicken karahi, borani banjan, kabuli pulaw, mantu, chopped salad, and naan in our first look at the restaurant.

A plate of mantu, or Afghani dumplings, from the Afghan Cuisine restaurant. The dumplings have a white garlic yogurt sauce and an orange lentil sauce with lots of fresh cilantro on top. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

In its very short time open, I went back again and again for the restaurant’s mantu (Afghan steamed dumplings) because they were freaking amazing. The super soft, handmade dumpling had a filling of spiced (but not spicy) ground beef and onions with a drizzle of garlic sauce and saucy lentils. I confirmed that mantu will indeed be on the menu at the Champaign location, and that’s very good news for all dumpling lovers in C-U.

The restaurant plans to open for dine and takeout by mid-September. Delivery will be available on GrubHub and UberEats.

Afghan Cuisine
723 S Neil St

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