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Persian Restaurants in the South Bay?

My recent visits to Bijan, surrounded by Iranian ex-pats, and Noruz around the corner is tilting me toward Persian food again. The last time I asked about what's good in the South Bay was April 2002, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/19524 . Many changes in the landscape since then, and I'm wondering about the newcomers. Any feedback on these?

Reyhan Restaurant and Catering
1625 Almaden Road in San Jose
(408) 293-3600

Deezi Cafe
1740 South Winchester Blvd.
Campbell, CA 95008
Between Hamilton Ave. and Latimer Ave.
(408) 379-1126
Deezi's particularly interesting because it steps outside the standard kababs and rice dishes to offer:
Halim $8.95 Cream of wheat Persian style with shredded beef
Sirabi $8.95 (tripe?
)Kaleh pacheh $10.95 Lamb tongue, cheek, brain, tendon
Heart, liver, kidney of Lamb $7.95

Negeen Restaurant
801 W. Hamilton Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008
(408)866-6400 .

Saffron Restaurant
1392 S Bascom Ave
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 998-0122

Sahand Restaurant
4628 Meridian Ave
San Jose, CA 95124
(408) 267-1288

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  1. The Clay Oven
    491 Lytton Ave
    Palo Alto, CA 94301

    I'm not an expert on Persian cuisine so I can tell if it's authentic or not. My Assyrian friend loves it.

    1. Oddly enough I asked this exact question of an Iranian coworker of mine since we were headed off to a concert being given by a Persian singer on Saturday. He suggested Chelokababi (Sunnyvale, El Camino and Wolfe Rd) referenced back in 2002 and also recommended Shalizaar up in San Mateo (25th Avenue) which has been mentioned on this board before. We ended up going to Sumiya for yakitori though and so didnt actually eat at either.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tomritza

        Ha! Here's a link to The Digest for katya's smackdown report comparing Chelokababi and Shalizaar.
        Those two have been the standards for comparison. At Bijan yesterday, I asked the Persian man in line ahead of me for a rec, and he offered up Chelokababi as the most consistently excellent over the years.

      2. Having moved from seeking out Polish, Portuguese, Peruvian, Puerto Rican and into Persian food, I don't have a answer for you restuarant-wise, but one place that keeps getting repeated in a lot of Persian food web pages is ...

        Norooz Bazaar
        1390 S. Bascom Ave.
        San Jose, Ca
        (408) 295-2323

        But then again I was googlin on the word 'norooz'.

        And maybe on your way down South, you might consider a route that would take you past
        Damavand Market
        37013 Towers Way, Fremont
        (510) 793-2606

        They make Persian bread to order. Pay for the bread, wait or shop, and they call out your name when it is ready.

        1. I haven't been to any of the restaurants mentioned above, except for Chelokababi several years ago. I have fond memories of the kashk bademjan appetizer at Paradise in Mtn. View (now closed, afaik). It was a variation of the garlicky eggplant caviar dip, topped with yogurt (or curd?), tahini, dried mint and sumac berry powder. Do any of these places make an excellent version of that dish? It was my "gateway" eggplant dish! (Having never liked that vegetable before Paradise.)

          2 Replies
          1. re: sairuh

            Paradise has reopened in Sunnyvale on the corner of Mary and El Camino behind the El Pollo Loco.

            1. re: SoftTarget

              Thanks for the news! I'll check it out. They are now called Kabob Afgan & Persian Cuisine.

              http://pakabob.com/ - 604 S. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale

          2. Which of these or other Persian restaurants offer a buffet? I am new to the cuisine & like a buffet to try out & separate the dishes I like from the ones I dont. I rememeber a Persian retaurant in San mateo (3rd Street) had a lunch buffet, but cant remember the name though! Any others?

            2 Replies
            1. re: rdabke

              I think the Persian place on 3rd might be Caravan, but I think I heard on this board that it closed.

              1. re: katya

                Caravans (formerly Yaas), the Persian place on 3rd Ave., San Mateo, closed at least a year ago. And, yes, they used to have a lunch buffet.

                They were good, but Shalizaar is definitely better.

            2. I've really enjoyed Yas over the past few years. The kashke bademjan (eggplant appetizer) is wonderful. If I'm in the mood for kababs, I usually go for the royal joojeh or koobideh joojeh.

              Yas Restaurant
              (408) 241-5115
              1138 Saratoga Ave
              San Jose, CA 95129

              At one time, Chatanooga was very popular. I haven't been there in years.

              Chatanoga Restaurant
              (408) 241-1200
              2725 El Camino Real Ste 106
              Santa Clara, CA 95051


              1. I second Chelokababi though I too have not gone in 4 to 5 years. I normally don't eat Persian or know much about it, but the kebab/kebob lunch plates were great portions, tasty and well grilled meats, clean and pretty interior.

                5 Replies
                1. re: K K

                  I will be going to Chelokababi again this year for Norouz - seems like the best alternative in the South Bay. About 20 years ago, used to frequent Chatanoga but don't know anything about it any longer.

                  1. re: poulet_roti

                    Follow up report on Chelokababi: Went last Saturday evening for a family gathering and Norouz celebration. While we did not have the traditional Norouz meal and instead ordered off the menu, the meal as a whole was pretty disappointing. The intial reception upon entering the place was not a great starter - table was not ready although we did have a reservation for 12 people. This does not surprise me nor does it altogether bother me as I don't expect perfect service at a Persian restaurant. If there was a high point to the meal, it was the appetizer of kashke bademjan - well cooked eggplant, plenty of oil, fried shallots or onions and mint. After that, the food quickly went downhill. I had the joujeh/koubideh combination. The koubideh was clearly off - meat was mushy if not pasty and had a something sweet to the finish. As I am a finicky eater, I was not the only one to be disappointed with the koubideh. My wife did not care for it nor did anybody else for that matter. The joujeh kabob was much better although still not up the past visits. Interesting that which I do like about the joujeh is that they use boneless skinless thigh meat which lends itself very well to this preparation. The chelo (rice) was not the best. One of the characteristics of Persian rice is that the grains of rice do not stick together. However they prepared the rice, this was not the case. Rice had many clumps stuck together with a gummy character. The doogh (yogurt drink) was rather tasteless as if it did not have much if any mint in it. Service: the overall service by our server was pretty good. As we were a large party, it can be hectic and difficult to get it right. As I said earlier, I don't expect top flight service at a restaurant like this and certainly don't hold it to the same standard that I would expect of a restaurant in the city, nevertheless, this visit was disappointing after so many years.

                    1. re: poulet_roti

                      Gosh, sorry to hear this, but thanks for the warning. Overwhelmed kitchen?

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Well, like I said, I tend to be fairly forgiving of a place like this and might even go again if I found myself in the area. That said, the place was not busy when we arrived at Saturday for a 6pm reservation. However, at one time, we asked that they heat the pita bread over the grill and our server indicated that there was no room on the grill due to a large take out or catering order - so perhaps the kitchen was overwhelmed.

                  2. re: K K

                    I went to Chelokababi today for the first time for lunch. It was a bit pricier than Chatanoga, which I find a little depressing inside, but the portions at Chelokababi are generous. The Jojeh (sp?) was good, if a tiny bit dry. Otherwise, I found Chelokababi's atmosphere more inviting than Chatnoga's. Chelokababi also provides a basket with pita, which is not freshly made - it looked and tasted like pita that you'd buy at Trader Joe's. There was also a special green sauce served at Chelokababi that I haven't seen at Chatanoga.

                  3. Here's a link to Alice Patis' post last summer on Sahand (formerly Garne). Shamshiri is now Saffron.

                    1. Melanie, thanks for finding my post on Sahand and setting me straight that the current name is Sahand, the former name is Garne. I never corrected myself fully last time.

                      I've been wanting to try Saffron but haven't had the chance. It sounds like the same food (also halal meat), just a new name.

                      1. Nageen is the spot of choice for my Persian acquiantances. Best quality meat by their high sandards. My experience there has been uniformly very good. One night, the place was closed for a private party but they still worked up a large take out order for me and they do not skimp. Succulent chicken and beef with saffron rice and roasted tomato..yummy!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ken Hoffman

                          I went to Negeen one time last year as was turned off by the smell of stale cigarette smoke in the restaurant. I suspect they have live entertainment late some evenings and permit smoking indoors. The smell of cigarette smoke in the carpet reminded me of staying on a smoking room at a hotel. I think I might have to stick to Alborz here in the city or try some of the places over in the east bay.