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Comparing Persian Restaurants

We love Shamshiri and I've always been curious about Darya. But it occurs to me there must be dozens if not hundreds of Persian restaurants here in LA. Can anyone weigh in with some comparisons, and perhaps examples of special dishes at one place vs another? Thanks!

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  1. Try Raffi's Place in Glendale. They have the best Koobideh. Shiraz is okay too but might be weird ambience. I think raffi's is the best.

    3 Replies
    1. re: travelingchickie

      I second Raffi's!! Of course, I only eat the koobideh, and I've only only been to two Persian restaurants, but their beef koobideh is the best!

      1. re: ayme

        i HAVE to third raffi's they are proboly the best place in glendale and proboly one of the best persian places in LA

        1. re: ChefPapaloma

          Fourth. I've been to Shamshiri, Shiraz, Javan, Darya, Caspian, and Flame, some of those more than half a dozen times... Raffi's has the best chelokebab hands down.

    2. I've explored the menu pretty well at Shamshiri Grill, Javan, and Flame. I have some experience with Darya, but not as much as the others.

      I find I tend to go to Javan the most. I love Persian stews and rices and I think Javan does a wonderful job with those. They do acceptable kabobs and their lavash bread is fairly pathetic.

      Flame is THE place on the westside for Persian kabobs and their bread is fresh and warm and just perfect.

      Shamshiri Grill keeps losing it's luster for me. They do nice stuff, don't get me wrong. It's just that Javan has better stews, Flame has better kabobs. Shamshiri Grill has a more extensive vegetarian section than the others, including a fantastic gormeh sabzi, so if that's a factor then stick with them.

      Darya is my latest experiment. I ordered a few things awhile back but another poster, Servorg, recommended it in another thread and reminded me I gave it short shrift. I had a few dishes there, notably a beautiful fesenjan (which can be done vegetarian as well). I'd say it's comparable to Javan. The vote would probably be split down the middle between Javan and Darya if you asked people who frequent both is my guess. It comes down to preference.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Frommtron

        I tried ordering delivery from Darya recently. The lady on the phone was so rude and clueless that I hung up without completing my order. BTW, what's in the veggie fesenjan? Is it just the stew?

        1. re: a_and_w

          The way they do these hotposts now makes it impossible to keep up . . .

          I'm glad you hung up and went with another option. Not that I wouldn't give them another shot but they lose on that occasion. You know, I haven't tried Darya's vegetarian version of fesenjan but I know I've had a vegetarian version from someone on the westside and it was basically the stew with no meat in it. I suspect it wasn't 100% vegetarian but it came meatless.

          1. re: Frommtron

            Finally got around to trying Darya. Ordered fesenjan, kashke bademjan, and chicken kobideh -- dishes I usually get at Javan. By comparison, Darya's Fesenjan was less sweet and more chunky -- I enjoyed it but prefer Javan's version. Kashke bademjan at Darya was not at all to my liking. The yogurt was way too tart and the dish had a strange mayonnaise taste (I hate mayo). Chicken Kobideh was about the same at both places. Bill at Darya was about $5 more than Javan for the same food. I'm certainly no expert in Persian food, but I know what I like, and I definitely prefer Javan to Darya.

      2. Darya has better rice than Shamshiri Grill in Westwood, however Shamshiri and Shiraz in Glendale have better barg and koobideh. The in-house baked bread at Shamshiri Grill is very good though

        1. I agree with frommtron about Javan. After trying a few (sham, darya etc) it is my favortie. I always get the Burg kabob which is pounded chicken and quite good.
          http://www.javanrestaurant.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: jgomer

            I really like Javan's kashk o bademjan, fesenjan, and the chicken kobideh (much better than Shamshiri's).

          2. I've been to a bunch. Shamshiri and Javan became my favorites, though I haven't been to either in months. Javan was originally my favorite, but now I give the nod to Shamshiri. I like the rich dishes (especially the baghala polo), kabobs, bread, and kashk better there. The fish and chicken kabobs are so juicy and delicious. I love the succulent fish with baghala polo (rice with lima beans and dill). The kashk is pretty amazing if you're hungry and don't mind the richness.

            Regardless, we are lucky to have such good Persian in Los Angeles. This cuisine is not nearly as common anywhere else.

            1. I don't ever see any mention of Baran on Westwood just S of Santa Monica near Canary. It occupies the space that used to be Shamshiri before they moved few blocks N. The place is elegant - very date friendly - and the food is fairly decent.

              1 Reply
              1. re: fkingford

                Second to Baran - except if they have a private party booked and the you're out of luck. Stews at Javan are better than Darya.

              2. I like Javan on Santa Monica best, followed by Sheharezad on Westwood. Shamshiri does not do it for me.

                1. Raffi's Place in Glendale has the best rice (not flavoured, just the regular basmati rice) you will ever put in your mouth. Their dips are tasty too. I didn't find their kabobs to be particularly noteworthy but they were good -- just not "great".

                  I like Shamshiri in Glendale for their flavoured rices. Is Olive Branch in La Crescenta still open? They had THE BEST flavoured rices.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Olive Branch is still open, though I believe it's gone through a series of new owners in the past several years. Still a great place, and their new decor livens it up a bit.
                    How good is it? They are our caterer for our backyard wedding next month. I still like Raffi's better, as far as saffron rice and koobideh goes (which is all we really eat). But Olive Branch has a cheaper lunch menu, and I think it's pretty much the same amount of food.

                  2. Just posting to stick the mentioned places in the upper right listing...hope it works!

                    -----
                    Shamshiri Grill
                    1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                    Flame
                    1442 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                    Raffi's Place Restaurant
                    211 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205

                    Shiraz Restaurant
                    211 S Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91205

                    Javan
                    11500 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                    Darya
                    12130 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                    1. of what's been mentioned, i have to go with javan. But I wanted to add a few other options to the discussion too:

                      - attari sandwich shop. while they do have kabob, it's an afterthought. the main event here is sandwiches of things like kookoo sabzi (it's basically an herb fritatta) or schnitzel in french bread. great barley soup, pretty courtyard.

                      - if you're willing to go out to woodland hills, my favorite kabob place is Green Cottage on ventura blvd. delicious, very homey feel, yummy pickled garlic (along with all the standards)

                      - there's a place in van nuys called It's All Good House of Kabob. modest place, mostly takeout, but they have this thing on the menu called 'beryani', which i have never seen on any other persian menu (nor in any persian home kitchen). apparently it's a big old ground lamb patty. i've not tried it, but definitely something different than your average chelo kabob.

                      - vanak in van nuys. the kabob is just ok, but the point here is the fresh baked breads. really delicious barbari bread.

                      1. I just ate at Flame Monday. It was decent but didn't blow me away. The beef koobideh was the best dish we tried. And we were intrigued by one of the drinks:

                        http://grubtrotters.com/2008/05/08/he...

                        1. Haven't been to Raffi's and Shiraz, but of the other places,I like Darya the best because I love greens and salads as an integral part of my meal. Getting salad at the other places feels to me a lot like getting salad at a fast food restaurant - low quality, tasteless greens - they are on the menu, but no one really cares about them. But the greens are Darya are always wonderful. Had a little dinner party recently where we got the following from Darya to go and eat at home, all delicious:

                          Panir Sabzi - really delicious fresh herbs, good feta
                          Darya Salad - this is a great salad. The greens are always fresh and the dressing is delicious - virgin olive oil and lime juice and just the right balance between the two - this is one of my favorite salads in L.A., Persian or not
                          Kashkeh Bademjan - really tasty eggplant dish
                          Cornish hen - really good and not dried out and overcooked like at a lot of places

                          A few days later I went to Flame and didn't enjoy it at all, except for their iced tea (they make a very good ice tea). The salad wasn't great and the dressing wasn't good and the chicken was a bit dried out.

                          I don't like Shamshiri Grill at all - their greens are terrible.

                          Of course, if you don't care about salads and greens (I'm guessing most people could care less and only go to Persian restaurants for meat and rice), then feel free to disregard all.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: omotosando

                            I was working late the other night and ordered delivery from Aram in Beverly Hills. The experience reinforced how good Darya is. The greens in the panir sabzi from Aram were all old and wilted. Yeech.

                          2. If you are going to go to Darya, I highly suggest the one in Orange County across the street from South Coast Plaza. I don't care for the one in Santa Monica. I also think Raffi's place is probably the best place for Kabob in L.A.

                            Also Shekarchi in downtown LA is really good and their catering is excellent as well.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: hungryhyena

                              I also love Darya across from SCP, but I have heard that the one in Tustin is better? Have yet to try, but am willing to be a guinea pig. Anyone else have an opinion in regards to OC.

                              1. re: justagthing

                                I haven't as of yet had a good experience at the one in Tustin. I also am not quite sure if ownership is the same. The last few times we have been to Darya this year (across from SCP) their quality has just continued to improve.

                              2. re: hungryhyena

                                Yes, I've only been to the Darya near South Coast Plaza and agree is very good. Good rice and stews and I like their mixed drinks too

                                1. re: hungryhyena

                                  Love Shekarchi! Just had it for lunch today. Yum.

                                  1. re: S DAG

                                    Hasn't Shekarchi been closed for like 2 years? Where is it now?

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      I think it's on 9th Street. I always have it delivered.

                                2. Off the beaten path, but by far the best Persian food I've found in LA: Gypsy Way in San Pedro. Stupid name, terrible location on a side street, but their Aash soup is fantastic, and the kebabs are simply the best. It's a very pretty little restaurant in a converted house, just off Gaffey. Worth the trip!
                                  http://www.gypsywaybbq.com/

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: FoodObsessive

                                    Wow; that's a hot tip! When I find myself in San Pedro I'm always at a loss as to where to go. I will try to remember that. Thanks.

                                  2. I like Shamshiri Grill in Westwood the best. The food is good, and I also like the setup and decor of the restaurant.

                                    I also enjoyed Shahrzad, which is closeby.

                                    I recently tried Flame in Beverly Hills, located at Camden House (on Camden between Wilshire and Santa Monica) , which I also enjoyed.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: katkoupai

                                      Here are the links:

                                      -----
                                      Shamshiri Grill
                                      1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                      Shahrzad
                                      1422 Westwood Boulevard, Westwood, CA

                                      Camden House
                                      430 N Camden Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                    2. Plus, 'Hounders, let's not forget to mention that Javan has a full bar. Does anyone know which of the restaurants mentioned serve any alcohol?

                                      3 Replies
                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                          It should be noted that they decidedly DO NOT serve spirits though. The first time I cared to ask I was told that they did only to discover they were serving some 'saketini' soju nightmare. Not really their fault since they seemed confused by my questioning but it's worth mentioning here since their answer might mislead you a bit.

                                        2. re: EliAnnKat

                                          Darya near South Coast Plaza serves alcohol. In fact on my last visit had a pomegranate cocktail that was delicious

                                        3. i have always loved raffi"s. I do however love the Lebanese kitchen in Pasadena. Check it out. Also Carrousel in Silverlake cooks up some mean Armenian! DELICIOUS!!