Persian food in 'Terhangeles'
With over half million Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles, I need to turn to you chowhounders to find out where they all go to eat. Where does one fine execeptional Persian food in LA? What dishes are good at the restaurants you suggest?
I've now had a disappointing 3rd meal at Darya - oily Tadig which was not burnt at all with a sad excuse for fessenjon ladled on top. Over minted and bitter Borani (probably found the cheapest eggplant they could use). Chicken barg that was so dry you almost choked. Unfluffed rice with coloring to pass it off as saffron...... In a nutshell - completely a rip-off. Not to mention the glass of wine I ordered that never came to my table and the staff that was more interested in gossiping than in their clientele.
As for Sheherazad, their homemade fresh bread is a treat. But try to weigh that against being bullied into an order you did not place - that is another story. After our waiter brought over a chicken dish (we ordered lamb) and we told him it was not what we ordered, he vehemently insisted that it was what we had ordered. The worst of all was when the manager came over and sided with the waiter...... As you can expect, I've never been back.
Baran - good lunch but not spectacular. I had a special polo with yogurt and milk that was different from what dishes are usually on the Persian menus.
re: double S
Darya is way overpriced for what you get and we haven't been back due to mediocre quality. My husband ate at caspian yesterday and he said the quality was poor and he doesn't want to go back. It is too bad, with all the persians living in the area you can't find a good restaurant in orange county or LA. I really liked the kabobs at maykadeh in SF.
re: double S
This is very interesting, and it makes me think everyone prefers what they are used to. : )
When I lived in SF, I was dying for the good Persian food in LA. It's one of the reasons I moved back to LA, actually-- more Persian restaurants, more Persian grocers, more Persian film and media, a much larger Persian community, and generally more options all across the board.
There was one small Persian market in SF at that time (2001-2002), a few Mediterranean markets of other origins, and only one or two Persian restaurants in SF proper. San Jose seemed to be to only place closeby that had more options.
As of right now, my family eats most at the following locations in LA County:
Raffi's in Glendale
It's All Good in Reseda -- Isfahany owned kabob take-out place-- very cheap, Persian, semi-fast food (it takes the owner time to prep the order because he grills fresh). It's basically a hole-in-the-wall that serves to a multiethnic clientele.
Westwood Blvd. and Ventura Blvd offer a multitude of other options. There are just too many to choose from, but within that wealth, there are many good options where I would be happy to eat at any time, and many of them have already been mentioned below.
At Shamshiri in Westwood recently had a great crunchy tahdig topped with a daily special of roasted eggplant and peas, and their chicken barg is pretty reliable. They make good fresh bread too. Also Shiraz in Glendale is very good.
I'll throw in my two cents. Note, I am not Iranian, have never been to Iran, and should probably not be posting since I can in no way speak to authenticity - and many posters on this board can. Deliciousness however, I'm into.
I really, really like the lunch only Attari sandwich shop (enter on Wilkins, just around the corner off of Westwood Blvd). Along with the lovely little courtyard and Persian ladies who lunch scene, the sandwiches are excellent. I've tried the kuku (a spinach omelet kind of thing) and the olivieh, which I liked best (a potato/chicken salad). Enclosing these these tasty fillings is a perfect baguette and there are these really good pickles (along with tomato and lettuce) inside. Definitely one of the best sandwiches on the westside.
I also see people there eating soup - don't know what kind, but lots of folks are getting it. Maybe once it cools down more, I'll give it a try. But I'm pretty hooked on the olivieh sandwich.
Also for lunch I enjoy the Canary Sandwich Shop. The sandwiches aren't as good as Attari's, but they have a wider range of things to order. I've gotten different stews and liked them all. Atmosphere is less charming as well, but it's not as crowded and you can spend hours here chatting away with no pressure to free up a table.
1388 WESTWOOD BLVD 103
LOS ANGELES, CA 90024
CANARY CHICKEN HOUSE
1942 WESTWOOD BLVD
LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
There are folks who swear by Javan in west la.
Sorry about shahrzad. I've never had a problem there but I see how your experience could have soured you on the place. My fave place closed years ago - dizi cozy on westwood blvd - with the lamb soup served with a pestle to grind it all up.
Attari serves dizi on Fridays only - it is by far the best thing they do.
Canary also serves the dish, but their version is blander than one
might wish it to be.
I am also a fan of Javan, whose stews, the soul of the cuisine,
tend to be quite good, and of Sharezad, also of that halal Persian
place across from Pasadena City College.
Our rundown of Westwood/west LA:
Javan: Best rice pilafs (especially albolo polo, shirin polo, & baghali polo), best grilled meats, best fesenjan. Surprisingly, the steamed vegetables (offered as an alternative to the rice) are excellent. Their appetizers are mostly so-so.
Darya: Best kashk o'bademjan I've had anywhere. Otherwise mostly run-of-the-mill, albeit stylish.
Shahrezad: Best bread. I have a soft spot for Shahrezad because this is where I first discovered Persian food years and years ago, but (other than the bread) the food overall is not up to Javan's standards.
Attari Patough: I agree with ks in la, this place is a winner, especially the soup and the kuku sandwich.
Canary: I want to like it more than I do; they do have a variety of fresh juices which is nice.
Shamshiri: Haven't been recently, and can't comment on their recent move to fresh bread. Overall the food was OK but not as good as Javan and Shahrezad.
Baran: Haven't been yet, the reviews from other Chowhounds haven't been especially positive.
Caspian: Tried it once, thought it was just OK.
Haven't tried Tajrish in Marina del Rey, which has gotten some positive reports here.
I'm psuedo-Persian (born there, raised here since I was 3). I can't cook Persian food, and even though I have taken a number of French Cooking Classes (50+), I can't cook much other than French in an authentic way. So while I can't compare Perisian restaurants to my own cooking, I can compare it to my mom's and to grandma's (grandma can kick anyone's butt).
Having said that, I had my birthday party at Pistachio Grill (Wilshire & Le Doux in BH) and was very impressed by the food and service. Stews in particular were very tasty. Ghormeh sabzi was similar to grandma's.
I also like Aram, on Beverly Dr. in BH. Koobideh and Barg are both good there. For truly outstanding koobideh, head to La Crescenta (of all places) to Olive Branch. The koobideh juice running off of the tender koobideh combined with the rice is unparalleled.
I lived in Newport Beach for many years and can vouch for the crappiness of Caspian. I'd rather eat my shoe than go there. Darya near South Coast Plaza is very good. I would skip Ferdussi, although it is okay.
As for West LA (closer to where I live in Brentwood), I would pick Shamshiri for kabob any day of the week.
I keep hoping my grandma will open a restaurant. That place would be the best Persian restaurant EVER!
I know virtually nothing about persian food, but I did have a very tasty lunch at Pistachio Grill two months ago; service was very efficient and friendly, and the little outdoor patio is quite pleasant and quiet for being so close to Wilshire. Another big plus: prices are very reasonable, especially for the (huge) portion sizes and the neighborhood (Beverly Hills).
i cook persian food and have traveled around the world eating it, including people's homes. thusfar i haven't had a great persian meal in a restaurant in LA. that includes orange county.
Attari can be tolerable, as the person above mentions. + the Kabob Barg at shehrzade is authentic.
look for a woman in the kitchen and great attention to detail and you have the beginnings of a persian kitchen. sorry to say that none of these qualify, i think.
As a lot of people here have kind-of stated, you will never get Persian food in a restaurant that compares to homemade. having said that, i do think Javan is the best of the West LA bunch. The service can be a little absent-minded, but the food is solid.
The bread at Shahrzad is a treat, but I always end up with over-charred dry chicken kabob there.
I agree about Attari, it's a great change from the same old kabob menus, the courtyard is adorable. Also -- there is a soup I believe they have every day: ash-e-joe, it's a thick barley soup, which is delicious and really wholeseme.
And finally, it's a bit out of the city, but Green Cottage in Woodland Hills is really the best Persian food I've had in an LA restaurant. The service is very attentive, the place is like a homey living room (albeit a kind of kitchy one), the portions are very large, and they don't seem to skimp on quality ingredients (saffron, etc.). they also have pickled garlic, which is a favorite of mine.
20022 Ventura Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
oh forgot about darband! i've been there a couple times, and it was pretty good. the first time, they had opened recently, and were still working out the service kinks, but it has improved since then. better atmosphere than most persian restaurants -- the decor is a step above the 'fake fancy' you generally get. they do often have a belly dancer or live music, which to me tend to be deterrents, but there are a couple separate rooms, so you can still hear the conversation at your table despite the music.
I love Darband when I'm in the valley.
I always order from Shaherzad on the westside and I find it to be the best here. I always get the soltani, one skewer of the filet and one skewer of the ground beef. yummy!
I really like their salad olivieh as well from the appetizer menu...mix of chicken, eggs, potatoes, pickles..and I always ask for extra salad dressing on the side.
The best persian restaurant is in OC called Darya by South Coast Plaza. There are many Daryas everywhere that have no relation to another, so watch out. The quality at the SCP location is top notch. Meat and rice are both succulent and aromatic. I've eaten Persian in LA, OC and SF. Not impressed with SF. LA was very impressive. But I found Darya by SCP the best.
Other chowhounds have taken issue with me on this in the past, but I think the best chelokebab (i.e. barbecued seasoned meat with white rice and barbecued tomatoes) is at Raffi's in Glendale.
You will have to go elsewhere for khoresh and different polows-- my dad loves Caspian when we can get out there (and he's the Iranian in my fam), but when he wants Persian food, we go to Raffi's because it's close and fab. Anyways, khoresh is family-home food, we go out for kebab.
TRY IT and tell me what you think. Eat around 6-ish, I've found that later at night it gets busy and the kabob is not as tasty (less marination time?) I love the place.
Bonus: a block down from Raffi's is an outpost of Mashti Malone's, the Persian ice cream & faloodeh empire based in West L.A. Ohhhh yummy....
we're still taking issue with you on this one, amandine. just kidding. but really, i think Raffi's
is not what it was. I don't understand the hype anymore.
Yr dad may like the Barg at shahrzade on westwood, which i think is the best in the city.
but still have an eye out for something great
Don't forget the excellent Persian restaurant BAHAR upstairs at the Persian Makret of the same name. It is at the intersection of Marguerite and Crown Valley, in the Center below the road where the Home Depot is located. They have great service, the best Persian rice I've ever tasted, wine, and an interesting view. You can shop downstairs for Persian specialties and some of the better produce around. They make a full menu of Persian foods and appetizers and salads. I hope too many of you don't patronize it because if you do I won't be able to get a table quickly.
We like Shamshiri in Glendale and Olive Branch in La Crescenta -- I haven't tried Darband and I may need to drag Mrs Ubergeek there when I get over this ridiculous 'flu.
Several people have mentioned Darya near South Coast Plaza, but to my mind Darya on North Tustin Ave in Orange is better; It is certainly the best of the Daryas I have tried (S.C.Plaza, WLA, and Orange) and is perhaps the best Persian food I have had in the LA area.
My favorites are the kababs. The chicken is so moist it is almost a miracle: The whitefish is just a bit charred on the corners and perfectly cooked on the inside... delicious. The boneless lamb and barg are tender and moist.
The prices are a bit higher than some places, but the meats they use are first quality. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
You can't talk Persian in Westwood and not include the venerable OHAM GRILL located on Santa Monica next to Hamasaku. They recently spent a penny on sprucing up the place and now have a cheery little place in this unfortuanate strip mall. Now for the food...as good as Shamshiri if not betterIMHO. If you eat there, you get a complementary hommous to eat with pita. Koobedeh kabob is tasty,though they do tend to overcook the steak, so order it more rare. The standout is the Cornish Game Hen Kabob. All dishes served with rice/and or salad. Takeout is very speedy and the owners are very lovely people. My dog loves the Koobedeh which they have offered her on occassion!
critics sometimes don't know so much, as this proves. raffi's is a fair kabob at best. i wouldn't eat it again, for example. + i love a great kabob and would be pleased to shower places with compliments, if they deserved them.
critics in most professions tend to be failures at the art they're writing about.
Just wondering - which of the Westwood Persian places would be good places for a solo dinner? I commute home via Westwood and would love to stop in at some of these places, but I get the sense that (except for the sandwich places) the serving style is geared towards large groups. Am I wrong?
the servings are consistently *large*. which is to say, you get a sizable skewer of meat (or 2 if you order Soltani), and a huge mound of rice. regardless of whether you go alone or with a group though, you can always take home leftovers though -- enough for at least one other meal for me.
typically the portions are large, and the prices are very reasonable.
normally, one of the dinners from shamshiri will have me bringing home enough food to cover my lunch the next day.
if you want to forgo meat, you can order most of the other items as a side order, which would have smaller portion size.
As far as Raffi's...its amazing. Im more familiar with " chelo kabob" places ( persian restaraunts) in the Orange County area such as : Darya in Tustin ( completely rude and chased us out the door for 2 cents even though they butchered our order and never brought our drinks), Darband ( better than caspian...half the price tag less arrogance and its in the otherside of the same market place as caspian in what used to be an italian place.) Theres also Bahar in Mission Viejo. My personal new favorate however is Saffron Grill off of Katella in the city of Orange, discovered it by sheer accident go back weekly now.