A Public Quest for Interesting Food Finds in Huntington

Join me on a journey for the best food finds in Huntington. Whether in restaurants, a deli-packed picnic
or a neighbor's back yard barbeque - we'll discover the best spots, secret recipes and where to find
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

REVIEW - Ariana Cafe

Since I've started writing on the foods about town, where to eat dinner has taken a new twist. My husband, always supportive and ready for anything, comes home and asks “Where do you want to write about next?”

It’s rare that he and I find ourselves out to dinner alone, usually with friends or with our teenage son. Last Friday night we begged and cajoled our son to join us and he was having none of it. “You two go out and have a date” he insisted.

Off we went to Ariana, to answer my husband’s question. I had been there before and enjoyed the unfamiliar flavors of Afghan cuisine. The spices are unlike anything else, subtle and dominant at the same time. Many of the dishes are served with basmati rice – the most delicate I’ve ever come across.

The irony of eating out without our son is that we spend much of the evening talking about him; his academics, sports achievements, friends and summer plans. I eye the menu as if he were there, deciding which dishes I’ll recommend when I bring him next time. His palette was more adventurous when he was nine – teenagers seem to collectively crave greasy fried anything smothered in cheese. It’s a phase, it will pass.

This time I ordered Mantoo – a plate full of steamed dumplings stuffed with ground lamb and veal, topped with a light tomato and meat sauce, topped again with homemade yogurt and mint. Is that cardamom I taste?

My appetizer was a simple chopped salad, an Afghan salad, made special with Ariana’s dressing. Our server/owner recommended we save half of the salad to eat with our entrĂ©e. She knew what she was talking about.

Nazifa and Ali Rahimi, always in the food business, have owned and operated Ariana for fifteen years. As we watch so many restaurants in our village try and fail, we can appreciate the accomplishment. All the items on the menu, Nazifa tells me, are hers and her husband’s. The kitchen staff is trained to follow their techniques and recipes.

When asked which dishes are the most popular, she said I was looking at them. The entire menu has been pared down to the favorites. If they were to offer the entire repertoire of Afghan meals, the menu would be pages longer – they’ve slimmed it down to suit our palettes with kabobs, soups, salads and an interesting array of Afghan meals, for instance Pumpkin Ravioli. The menu offers the best of it all.

Ariana also has much to offer to the strictest vegan. They have a section on the menu just for you. Having been a vegetarian myself for several years, finding a restaurant that’s both interesting and accommodating is hitting pay dirt.

Each month Ariana offers various specials to entice the new customer and reward the loyal. For May they touted 50% off the dinner cost for new customers, a FREE bottle of Chardonnay just for making your reservations online and a generous Early Bird temptation. I’m curious to see what they come up with for June – to commemorate the 15 year anniversary of Ariana.

Looking for something a little different? The atmosphere, the music and food whisk you away from Huntington when you step through the doors of Ariana – it’s a lovely dining experience.



  1. Hi Lila, I linked your blog to mine. It's nice to have another Huntington blogger for additional info about our town. Cheers Lori I also added myself as a follower.

  2. great article ... i love ariana too