West enders heading to the Cineplex Cinemas (3090 Carling Ave.) would do well to forego the overpriced popcorn and Twizzlers and instead build in some time ahead (or after) the movie for some finger-licking Afghan eats at Mezbaan, which opened a few months ago in the strip mall on the west side of the theatre parking lot.
Wholesome and hearty, the super-affordable menu offerings are also be easier on the pocketbook than cinema snacks (Mezbaan has already been discovered by locals and is generally bustling around dinnertime, with families and teens stopping by for quick eats).
Super hungry? Go for a Classic Kabob Plate ($12-$14), which includes a big portion of marinated meat, rice, salad, and a delicious round of Afghan naan bread, fresh and warm. Otherwise, a naan wrap ($7-$9) might fit the bill. Or try an appetizer-sized plate of mantu ($7): six delectable steamed dumplings filled with spicy ground beef and drizzled with yogurt and a split pea sauce.
It’s winter, so you can stash the leftovers in your car before you go to the movie. Good luck staying awake on a full stomach!
Mantu: Steamed dumplings filled with ground beef and vegetables and served with yoghurt and split peas
Qabuli Uzbeki: Lamb meat served over not-too-spicy rice, carrots, and raisins
Naan and Kabob: Chicken, beef tikka, or beef shami kabobs served with fresh salad and naan
Bolani: Flat bread stuffed with seasoned potatoes and green onion
Tandoori Chicken Breast Naan Wraps: Served alone or with fries and a drink
Hot Tip: The classic kabob plates are great, but do try one or two of the menu items listed under “Authentic Dishes.” City Bites can’t get enough of the mantu (everyone loves a dumpling!) or the Qabuli Uzbeki.
Hot Tip #2: Star Wars will be around for a few more weeks, but Knives Out might not, so get out to see the sleeper hit of the season before or after your Afghan feast. A word-of-mouth hit made for just $40 million, this fun murder-mystery has already raked in more than $250 million worldwide.
Mazbaan, 3098 Carling Ave., Unit 8
Open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.