so am just back from a month in Afghanistan and here are a few tips if any of you development types are heading out there:
great food, clean rooms, lots of DVDs and laundry service at the delightful Peter Juvenal guest house, possibly known as GLOBAL, but definitely at 5 Passport street (around the corner from the Interior Ministry). About $50 a night. Accept no substitutes. Grape arbor, badminton, watermelon patch.
I had the most fragrant, perfumed, sweet/tart/juicy apricot of my life from a tree in the garden at the Juvenal Guest house that completely redefined the apricot genre for me. Also had an UNBEARABLY delicious apricot cobbler with thick, clotted cream for lunch.
Have heard good things about Spinzar hotel as well.
for groceries, try the Chelsi Market or Hamdi market at intersection of Flower and Chicken streets. Pringles, Oreos etc. at your command.
Marco Polo -- standard Afghan fare, good food, things are often not on the menu so walk around the room and see what others are eating before you order. They have spinach dumplings in yogurt sauce, called Acha or something with an A, that are a relief after so much meat.
B.'s -- just opened in a guest house, I think owned by a Westerner, extensive menu. Ask the UN staff where it is.
Mustafa Hotel, on the roof -- "best" pizza in Kabul which isn't saying much but great views of mountains and sunsets.
The Indian PLace: lots of veggie dishes, no one seems to know the name, but it is around the corner from the IOM office. Again, find the UNAMA staff -- look for David, from Guyana/Jamaica/NY. He knows where it is.
Unica Guest House -- by inivitation only -- get someone from the UN to invite you. Single dish dinner each night, alcohol! pool! pool table!
Golden Lotus (or Lantern or something -- principal interest owned by Rabbani) -- Chinese. You can't miss it: "for the best in internal and external dishes" is the motto. Go with the shrimp dishes, as shrimp are canned and therefore safe.
The Intercon Hotel has a nice daily lunch buffet, with a great, comfort-food casserole of potatoes, black pepper and onions -- sort of a gratin. Wonderful to fill up on after weeks of street-meat sheep kabobs.
The Helmand Restaurant for the ice cream...or so I'm told by others there. Can't vouch for it.