A plate with shrimp skewers, rice and salad.

When people think of Baltimore food, crabs are often the first thing that come to mind. But over the past couple years, Baltimore’s restaurant scene has expanded rapidly and today, the city is home to excellent restaurants representing cuisines from every corner of the world.

One of the newest additions to the local restaurant scene, The Kabul Fresh Grill, is a prime example of this. The restaurant, which opened in early August at 55 Market Place in downtown Baltimore, is a casual spot, but don’t let that fool you: it’s also serving some of the best Afghan food around.

The menu is stacked with kabobs, bowls and curries, plus some more familiar Mediterranean dishes, like gyros, and the kitchen offers a special every day. On Saturdays, it’s Achar Chicken, in which the familiar white meat is cooked in a sauce of pickle spices and yogurt. Thursdays, it’s DoPyaza, or lamb with onions, tomatoes and vinegar.

The menu is the brainchild of owners and Columbia, Maryland residents Ishaq Rafiq and Waleed Mohib. Rafiq is also a partner in Maiwand Grill, another Afghan restaurant with locations in Burtonsville and on Baltimore Street, also in downtown Baltimore.

Rafiq opened his first restaurant in 1999. Over the nearly 20 years

he’s been in the business, he’s learned a lot about what restaurant guests want – and that knowledge is on display in his newest spot.

The restaurant is open and airy, with high ceilings and wood-lined walls. Guests order and pick up their food at the counter, often stopping to chat with Rafiq and Mohib, or with one of the other employees.

Though the menu is diverse, Rafiq says the most popular dishes are the kabobs – both the chicken and lamb varieties. “Our main specialty is open-flame, marinated kabobs,” he says.

They’re popular for good reason. The meat is tender and savory, and thanks to the open-flame cooking style, each bite is a bit smoky. The marinade is also a touch spicy; the heat is tempered by a cool, creamy dipping sauce that comes with the meat (the kabobs are also accompanied by a bright, fresh salad).

The Market Place location is “the main hub” of Baltimore, says Rafiq, making the restaurant a convenient stop for both locals and tourists. The menu includes tons of meaty options, but also many vegetarian choices and several kid-friendly dishes, from hummus to chicken fingers. It’s a spot that will please all kinds of palates, from picky eaters to those who are highly adventurous.

If you’re heading to The Kabul Fresh Grill – or to any of the eateries or nightlife spots in or near Power Plant LIVE – Harbor Park Garage is the place to park. Located at 55 Market Place (just like The Kabul Fresh Grill), the garage is convenient to restaurants and bars. Plus, it’s reasonably priced and if you have any questions about where to go or how to get there, the friendly, knowledgeable staff is happy to help.



The Kabul Fresh Grill: http://maiwand-grill.com/

Harbor Park Garage: https://harborparkgarage.com/