Khyber Halal - Afghani / Pakistani / Indian

2013 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
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misterk
Posts: 88
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

Khyber Halal - The Little Engine That Could

Khyber Halal and I have had a brief but great relationship. I had been gone from Phoenix for ages and had just returned from England. As I driving around the neighborhood to get reacquainted, I noticed that 2 Hippies Pizza had (thankfully) disappeared and a big "Opening Soon" sign for Khyber Halal had taken its place.

Given my heritage is from Pakistan, and have grown up for part of my life just a few miles away from Little Kabul in the Bay Area, this was a win no matter which cuisine Khyber (the mountain pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan) focused on. What I wasn't expecting when I walked in the first day it was open for business? It had both!
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Chicken biryani and Afghani kofta
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Now I can tell you Fremont has countless Afghan and Pakistani restaurants, but both cuisines rolled into one? Nowhere to be found. I was like a kid in a candy store. I soon got to know the owners and the rest of the family, with the sole Pakistani member of the family sometimes coming out of the kitchen to banter with me in Urdu and recommend some dishes for the day. Did I feel like Pakistani today? Did I feel like Afghan? How about one of each?
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Bolani and chicken handi
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Khyber was so close to where I lived, I found myself there for some quick comfort food fairly often - and I soon encouraged others to try as well. Soon a PFN thread started here alongside being profiled by Chow Bella, and the ball got rolling. More and more folks started coming in, and word about this little humble family business soon took a life of its own.

And the food? Some really great stuff, no matter which side of the border the cuisine is from. I can eat their bolani till the cows come home, their grilled stuff is well prepared, their Pakistani dishes like chicken karahi are legit (bones and all), and their Afghani dishes bring a whole new dimension to a lot of folks in Phoenix who haven't gotten to experience their cuisine before, from their take on kofta to Uzbek pulao to mantoo.
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Uzbeki pulao
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Khyber was my last official lunch as an official Phoenix resident, and one of my first meals on my most recent visit back. I dined here twice while back in town, in between some unexpected work sessions, and the food was great as always. I'm bummed to miss out on all the larger Foodnik get-togethers here, but am glad it's picked up a loyal following among the PFN crew as well as a pretty diverse local crowd, too. The uniqueness and flavor that this small family-run restaurant brings to the Phoenix metro definitely merits an FNA nomination, and I wish them the best for Years 2 and beyond.
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Chicken karahi
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Chicken boti and daal
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Khyber Halal Discussion Thread:
Khyber Halal Restaurant

Khyber Halal
www.khyberhalalfoods.com
4030 N. 24th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602-954-5290
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Dapuma
Posts: 567
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Location: Scottsdale

6 years ago

+1 so glad I can use my nomination on someplace else now -
This place is awesome, I have gotten quite a few co workers craving the place as well...just took a bit of free samples for them to come around on trying something new
cactuschowdah
Posts: 144
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6 years ago

I'm cactuschowdah, and I approve this message. Great nomination- a no-brainer for FNA as far as I'm concerned.
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chrislee
Posts: 169
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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6 years ago

Definitely back Khyber Halal as well. We need to get there more but everything we've had has been wonderful. I'm sad that they were robbed but glad they were able to get past it. Would have hated to see anything happen to them.

Khyber Halal will definitely be at the top of our list for places that we will regularly return to in 2013.
M_L
Posts: 979
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

I am not certain where to start here. I pretty much love everything about this place from the people who run it to the food they make. Up and down amazing. They are really patient and great when helping you order and seem to genuinely appreciate you wanting to come in and try what they are serving.

I had been trying for months to get my GF to here since it is 2 minutes from our house and finally convinced her. We got the Chicken Boti. We then proceeded to go back 6 times in three weeks. I have a really difficult time having her get anything else where I tend to jump all over the menu trying to find something else. I have had hits and misses but all of them were excellently prepared. I like chatting with the kids who man the counter in the evening as we often get takeout. Surprisingly this has become one of the places we drag people who we know like food but may not be the most adventurous. It has not failed to sell itself once.

I could not be happier about Khyber seeing the nod, thank you so much for nominating it.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

I can think of few places that have generated more excitement on this board that Khyber Halal, and with good reason. I think of this as 2012's big success story when it comes to downscale, family run "ethnic" eats (loaded though that term may be). To see the dining room of a relatively new Afghani/Pakistani place completely filled on a Friday at 1:00 warms my heart and only serves to solidify my opinion that Phoenix is ready to embrace these kinds of restaurants on a larger scale. My hope (and my hunch) is that Khyber Halal is on the leading edge of a local trend, for which I hope we can help to lead the charge over the coming years.

A total no-brainer in my opinion. FNA yes!
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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phxmacbear
Posts: 201
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6 years ago

have to chime in with a +1 here.
I feel a bit "out of the loop" with this Year's nominations. I've been to only 6 of the restaurants listed, half of which I have refrained from commenting on because I wouldn't be able to find anything good to say about them. However, they each fill a niche and meet the qualifications set forth for the FNA designation, so I'll just stay away from those threads and let them be.

but Khyber Halal?! OMG I wish this place was closer to my work or home...I don't get to eat there nearly as much as I'd like to.
I don't want to gush over them, everything is good...the owners and staff are SO friendly...without question, they are FNA-worthy. x10. x100. xInfinity.
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Lunchbox
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6 years ago

Such a great nomination and everything the FNA's stand for... I can't wait to explore more of this menu...
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PHXeater
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6 years ago

Only went here once but saw why everyone was raving about it very quickly. Despite 1 visit I can definitely get behind this for FNA.
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golbsalt
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6 years ago

+! for me too! when you can make such seemingly simple menu items like koftah & uzbeki taste so phenomenal well you deserve to be an FNA winner.
blog.golbsalt.com - "happiness IS just a lick away!"
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themis
Posts: 355
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

Like PHXeater, have only been once, with the menu pre-selected and the lunch arranged by Dom, but I feel it stands as worthy. For me with ethnic food, the devil is mostly in the details, and the details here are just fine. It's easy to write off kofta, things that simmer all day are going to be flavorful. It's easy to marinate and grill chicken and make it tasty. But theirs is not only tasty, it's moist. Flawless. I'm 20-25 min down the road, but really feel like this place should be in our regular rotation. And - it's going on my MIL-approved list, that's for sure.
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azhotdish
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6 years ago

Besides Ga Hyang and Zaidi's (R.I.P.), this is a perfect example of a place that most people will look over as a destination without the help of a dedicated group to unearth this gem. Chicken boti, bolani, afghani kofta, mantoo, all fantastic. Could not be behind this more.
---
Joel
@azhotdish
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Khyber Halal has been named to the 2013 Food Nerd Approved list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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