Helai: Afghan restaurant | Rotterdam

An Afghan restaurant where you can eat delicious vegetarian food in Rotterdam? Yes, you can! The newly opened Helai, near the Kuip, offers vegetarians quite a bit of choice. You can also opt for a veg menu. And when you call in advance that you want to eat vegetarian, the chef can show even more of his veg creativity. So together with a friend, also a vegetarian, we set out to investigate.


Afghan spheres

Upon entering, the tall windows and abundant light stand out. The space is large, perhaps just a tad too large to immediately call it “cozy. You can choose between a table or a corner with benches at Helai. We chose a corner with benches. The interior is a mixture between Afghan and Western. The bar has beautiful mosaic tiles and the lamps are very atmospheric. There was also no lack of a Persian rug on the floor and a real water fountain. The large windows also provided a fantastic view. Everything in the restaurant looked neat and tidy.

Helai interior


Friendly and attentive service

The service is very friendly and attentive. This is unlike many other restaurants I have been to. Especially in restaurants in Utrecht, this is a scarce commodity. Also, the service knows what is being served. So compliments to the service.


Surprising taste sensations

About the food I can say 1 thing: the food was very good. Afghan cuisine is slightly different from Iranian cuisine, which I know from my trip to Iran. I did not like the Ash I tasted in Iran, but the Afghan variety at Helai did! I also gobbled down the leek dumplings (Ashaak) and stuffed pancake in no time.

Helai food helai appetizer


Helai surprised me by several flavors in the food that I could not immediately place. The quantities are good. They serve the food on a platter. From the bowl you grab what you like to eat, this makes sharing food easy. I was very fond of their cilantro with lime including all kinds of fresh herb sauce. What a caress for your tongue. The bread was also very tasty. On a couple of dishes, the cook was a little too enthusiastic with the oil. Hopefully they won’t do that next time. But all in all, the food was very good!

Helai restaurant-view

For dessert, there was ice cream and don’t forget typical Afghan tea. Just because of the teapot. Parking is available at the door and after 6 p.m. it is free.

Conclusion: I will definitely come back here!


Helai Restaurant

Piet Smitkade 160
3077 MJ Rotterdam
010-482 34 66

Helai view