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Oct 8, 2007 09:14 AM

Peninsula-Persian/mid-east. recs for vegetarians

In-laws are visiting and they are vegetarian. Need some recommendations for lunch please because normally, I zero in on lamb when I go to mid-eastern restaurants. Also, suggestions other than the usual falafel, hummus are appreciated. BTW, good lamb is a bonus for me:-) Buffet or plates are fine & I'm willing to drive anywhere from Burlingame to South Bay.

Also, after reading the recent thread about the newly reopened Helmand, I am eager to try it. The Helmand is of my CH discoveries. How are the veg. options at their bufffet? Given parking issues, is it worth a trip (for vegetarians) to the City? Thanks!

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  1. I haven't been here, but it's been on my list to try.

    If Persian food is of interest, there's Shalizaar in San Mateo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rln

      Shalizaar was set to move into a new location in Belmont on El Camino. Anyone tried it in its new home yet?

    2. I've enjoyed the food at Kabul in San Carlos and at Tarboosh in Redwood City, accompanied by a very happy vegetarian. You might also see what's happening at the renamed Rihab's Bakery (tasty bites?) on El Camino at Harbor Blvd in Belmont.

      Parking shouldn't be that hard at the new Helmand Palace location. Probably not worth driving up just for that, at least not for the vegetarian options.

      Many good non-Persian options too including the dosas at Annapurna in San Mateo (all vegetarian). Please do report back.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Windy

        The chef at Tarboosh has moved to Fayrouz in Palo Alto. Any one try it?

        I'd also add New Kapodokia in Redwood City for Turkish.

        Kabul Afghan Cuisine
        135 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070

        300 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA 94002

        Fayrouz Dining
        260 N California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        837 Jefferson Ave, Redwood City, CA 94063

        New Kapadokia Restaurant
        2399 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA 94063

      2. Thank you all for your suggestions. I'll be going sometime in the next two weeks & will report back. Also, I just noticed one review on Yelp for the new Shalizaar as being low on veg. options. BTW, I have one Persian friend who swears by Shalizaar & another who prefers Chelokababi:-) As for Annapoorna, it is already on my list as it would be a taste of home for the in-laws!

        3 Replies
        1. re: ceekskat

          Note that at lunch time Annapoorna is buffet only. I was there a few weeks ago and not allowed to order off the menu. But I do believe a dosa is included with the lunch price.

          Another South Indian option is Tabla Flavours in Foster City. I've not been to that location, but I did like the branch in Dublin very much for both dosas and a good mutton pepper fry (semi-dry style).

          Tabla Flavours
          1088 Shell Blvd, Foster City, CA

          2299 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403

          Tabla Flavors
          6830 Village Pkwy, Dublin, CA 94568

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Last time I went by Tabla, a few weeks ago, they were smoked out from a kitchen fire. Are they up and running again?

            1. re: bbulkow

              Dublin or Foster City? Anyway, you would know better than I. The website doesn't mention either being closed, but we know how often (not!) sites get updated with this kind of stuff.
              Best to call ahead.

              New Tabla
              1088 Shell Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

        2. Kabul is an excellent choice. The skewers there, especially the lamb, are huge and flavorful. Veggie options are reasonable --- not very wide, but flavorful. You can get a veggie sampler and choose 4 of their veggie dishes ---- I went recently with two veggies and we were all very happy.

          The atmosphere is good enough for lingering.

          Arguably, Kabul is Afghani which ain't persian. Still, the lamb's good.

          New Kapadocia has unusual and tasty dishes (far from the usual), but is a little short on Big Hunks of Meat.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow

            I'd like to put in a good word for Restaurante Casablanca, on Broadway in RWC, right next to Sequoia Station. The food is excellent (my favorite is the kofta tagine with a heavenly tomato sauce), there are vegetarian options, and there is belly dancing Friday and Saturdays at 8pm.
            I like to support female chefs, and Amina is working hard to make the restaurant work. Unfortunately, not enough people have discovered the place, and I find myself the only diner there some evenings. It deserves better.

            1. re: cbepicure

              Just took a look at the menu, have you tried the Houssima calamari...Moroccan style marinated calamari served with tomato garlic sauce?


              1. re: Melanie Wong

                I haven't, simply because I'm not a big calamari fan. But I expect they would be as wonderful as everything else:-)

          2. New Kapadokia in Redwood City for Turkish food. My vegan friend has always been happy here, and I actually order veggie stuff for myself. They have a few vegetarian entrees, but I zero in on the huge plate of suggested appetizers brought tableside. I always get the red lentil soup (yum!) and the red lentil cakes. Sigare borek (filo cigars filled with feta), ezme, and basically all the apps are really good. Baklava is excellent. As meat goes the mini burgers are the best.

            I recently tried Sultana (another Turkish place) in Menlo Park. My vegan friend really liked it (more than New Kap I think). The meat and ezme weren't as good here, but the combo appetizer plate (which I ate as a meal) was very good (especially the hummus and dolmas).

            Kabul or any Afghan place usually have some veggie options like manti and (at Kabul) an eggplant dish.