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Dining Winners

Best First-Date Restaurant

The Helmand

806 N. Charles St., (410) 752-0311,

Posted 9/16/2009

Yes, it's a Mount Vernon fixture that's consistently provided very good (and pretty much the only) Afghan cuisine in Baltimore. It's also an ideal first-date spot. The menu scans fairly exotic, but the fare, though flavorful and interesting, is actually quite straightforward as far as tastes and textures. The lighting is just low enough, and at least in the smaller dining room, the sound level is, too. Service is friendly and helpful, but generally silent and unobtrusive. There are plenty of options for vegetarians. Drink pours are heavy. And best of all, the prices are still incredibly reasonable, which, trust us, greatly softens the blow in case your date is an utter crash and burn.

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