Khyber

khyber restaurant columbus

Cuisine: Pakistani

425 Industrial Mile Road,
Columbus, Ohio 43228
614.275.2022
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This is the kind of story we like to write.

A cook from a restaurant we adore – Adil from Tandoori Grill – strikes out on his own to open a new restaurant, Khyber, in a new part of town. The owner of Tandoori Grill, Said, wishes him well; we’ve spoken to both and there are clearly no hard feelings. The food at Tandoori Grill remains great, the food at Khyber makes for an impressive debut, and just like that the city has doubled in quality Pakistani dining options. As far as we’re concerned, everybody wins.

Khyber occupies the west side space that previously held Azteca de Oro. As with Azteca, environs are humble but comfortable. As with Tandoori Grill, a small Pakistani grocery with a meat counter adjoins.

Pakistani food columbus

Khyber’s speciality is tandoori dishes – grilled meats and nan bread cooked in the tandoor oven. The nan bread is cooked to order and, like at Apna Bazaar/Tandoori Grill, it is thinner, less doughy, and in our estimation far preferable to most other options in town.

pakistani restaurant columbus

Of the tandoori meat dishes we’ve tried, we particularly like the seekh (ground meat) kebabs – available in lamb, beef or chicken. They are nice and juicy, feature a good amount of spicing and heat, and are great paired with nan and a little of Khyber’s yogurt based chutney.

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Also tasty  are the chapli kebabs – burger-like ground beef patties with onions, tomatoes, chiles and spices.

pakistani food columbus

The menu offers some interesting meat stews and satisfying vegetarian options. Stews include nehari - a rich beef curry stew with extremely tender slow cooked beef; goat quorma - a mild curry with lots of gravy and a meat based curry with wheat called haleem, barley, and lentils. Not listed on the menu but also available (and one of our favorites) is aloo keema, a ground meat and potato curry.

potato and ground meat curry

A little drier (in terms of the saucing) but still entirely enjoyable are the karahi dishes – curried meat, either goat or chicken, with tomato, green chili and onion.

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For vegetarians, or as a great side dish for the tandoor grilled meats, there are lahori chana (whole chickpeas in sauce), mash dal (white lentil dal) or bhendi (curried okra). We particularly liked the okra and the mash dal. Adil said that there would be at least one dal available daily.

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The menu is expanding and there are often specials. In addition to the listed items we’ve also tried samosas, goat biryani, cow’s foot curry and house made desserts including kheer (fragrant rice pudding) and semiya halwa (sweet, spiced vermicelli noodles).

One interesting, and somewhat incongruous, item is the New York style gyro. Served as more of a deconstructed dish, it’s comprised of rice topped with lettuce, gyro meat, pita slices, and a generous saucing. Unconventional though it may be, we’d take it over the vast majority of the gyros we’ve tried locally.

new york style gyro

With the most expensive dish priced at $8, and many served for far less, Khyber is very good value for the quality of food and a great addition to the West Side.

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6 responses to “Khyber

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  3. These guys are on to something. My husband found this place. We passed by it a couple of times but completely missed it. The food is authentically delicious! The kabobs are awesome, the chicken tikka has the right tandoor flavor and spices, the naans are light but delicious. We ordered chicken biryani and the rice was plump, long (basmati) and perfectly cooked! There was no compromise on the ingredients and quality of the food as many Indian restaurants will cut corners to save money. The atmosphere is very average, a hole in the wall but there is a constantly flow of customers which speaks volumes. If these guys stick to good food and reasonable prices as they have now, their business will flourish! An unlikely gem on the west side of Columbus and we are glad to have found it!

  4. One of the best Paki/Indian restaurants in Columbus. Very flavorful dishes like the ones at Apna Bazaar. Kyhber reflects Afghani influences in their food. If going for take out, be prepared to wait; I think they start cooking your meal when you arrive. Good portions and great prices.

  5. I will be visiting Columbus soon, I will have to try the food. Looks great

  6. I liked the food, but the Goat Qorma is definitely not equal to the version at Tandoori/Apna. The sauce wasn’t as pungent and was more oily. Naan was just like Tandoori. Aloo Palak was good, just not quite on the level of Tandoori/Apna in terms of flavor; the higher spice(heat) level of the Bethel Rd restaurant is also more my speed. Decent portions and prices.

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