Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jan 17, 2009 09:54 PM


Just back from an extremely disappointing dinner at Shamshiri.

We hadn't been to Shamshiri in many years, but wanted to take an out-of-town friend out for Persian food.

Granted, it was a Saturday night and they were rather busy (no wait to be seated though). Our server was friendly, but it took a quite a while for her to get our wine and appetizers to the table. We did notice she was handling a lot of tables.

Good thing we ordered two appetizers because it took almost ONE HOUR for our entrees to arrive. Several tables that had been seated after us had received their food. During that hour, no one returned to the table to bus the appetizers, refill the water glasses, the bread basket or check in on us. Not once. The hummus sat for so long it developed a skin. When we finally got our server's attention, she offered no explanation except to say that she was very busy and had indeed put the order in.

Another patron (who had received his food) commiserated with us about the bad service.

We called the manager over. He offered no apologies, but then proceeded to yell at the waitress in front of us. When the food finally arrived, we had to call someone back and ask for silverware. Still, no offer of refills on the bread, water, etc. The food was OK (not great), and the evening had already soured.

When the check arrived it was for the full amount. I put my credit card down, but no one returned to run the charge. Furious, my partner walked it over to the manager and demanded that he give us a break in light of the outrageously lousy service. In the end, they did comp our drinks and gave us a "family discount," which amounted to about $30 off the bill. It was still $90 for three people.

On the way out, the manager asked us to come back again so that he could make it up to us. We said no thanks. He then asked us if we thought he should fire our server!

I'm astonished. I understand that from time to time things go wrong in restaurants (as they do in all other businesses). OWN IT, apologize and then make an effort to make it right. Nobody did that.

Moreover, we weren't the only ones receiving bad service, and they are clearly under-staffed. My recommendation is to STAY AWAY. Far away.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That's too bad. I have found that far too many Persian restaurants suffer from horrible service. I'm Persian and I still can't get good service in most of the places.
    Baran, also on Westwood is where I had the worst service ever. Just one waitress in the whole place who had no idea how to prioritize anything and had no sense of urgency. Despite the food being good, I never returned. I like Shahrezad, but I can't say I have been there during a rush, so I can't comment on the service. Better luck next time!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Azizeh

      I thought the service at Baran was appalling and the food not much better, the one time we went. They ran out of rice too. Thought it was because we were not Persian that we got lousy treatment but I see from your experience Azizeh, that you suffered the same way.

      1. re: ZoeZ

        My favorite Persian is at Orchid in Costa Mesa. Much too far from my home in Santa Monica. Their service wasn't wonderful. It was never rude, just slow, but their fresh made lavash and reasonable prices made up for it. I'm having trouble finding a good Persian place in LA. I used to have great service at Darya in Orange County until I had such a god awful experience I refuse to go to the LA Darya. To be honest, if I'm not making it myself, I just go to Charlie Kabob in the Westside Pavilion food court. It's pretty good, cheap, fast, the owner is friendly, and my expectations are low so I am always pleasantly surprised.

      2. re: Azizeh

        I agree with Azizeh. Shamshiri, as well as most of the Persian restos in Westwood that I can think of, have pretty bad to average service. Shamshiri used to have much worse service, too. In my opinion, it's actually improved in the past few years.

        The best service I've had there has been during lunch. Also, if you order take out, you can bypass the whole wait staff and the kitchen is usually very fast about getting your order out.

      3. i'm so sorry about such an awful experience!

        fwiw, shamshiri is on my regular rotation, and i have never experienced anything like what you experienced tonight. i can't imagine what went wrong, but i can say that this isn't the norm at shamshiri. they never have 'great' service, but never terrible service either.

        1 Reply
        1. re: westsidegal

          I agree, I go there fairly regularly (I've been there on Saturday nights) and have never had anything like this. The manager's reaction sounded strange and extreme, maybe he/she was trying to make it right to you by blaming things on the server? It just sounds like the restaurant was having an off night to me.

        2. wow that sucks. really sorry to hear about the bad experience. i went there with a group of 9 on wednesday night and we had a very nice meal. the service was decent, but that might have been a result of the fact that it was a pretty slow night. i guess shamshiri is better when there isn't a crowd?

          also, what dishes did you order? i had the lamb on the bone (not kebab and not the looked like 6 little t-bone medallions) and i thought it was great. very flavorful and juicy. a little mild (i really like in-your-face lamb flavor) but especially good with a bit of lime squeezed on top.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ceviche

            Beef and lamb kebabs and also the lamb chops, which were the best of the three.

            Frankly, I think Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks (not Persian of course) has better kebabs. We should have gone there instead!

          2. Were you there last night? They were clearly overwhelmed -- more mobbed than I've ever seen the place. Food and service both suffered accordingly.

            3 Replies
            1. re: a_and_w

              Yes, busy but no one was waiting for a table. There's really no excuse.

              1. re: italianstallion

                I had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. I also saw a line of people waiting for tables when we left.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  i was also there with my parents that night... how strange! my service was not great, but it was fine. the weirdest thing was how the waitress and the busboy kept slamming down the dishes and drinks. everytime they put something down on the table, it made a huge noise.

                  that being said, i did enjoy the food. i will be back, but if my service is bad, ive been warned!

            2. Sorry to hear...

              we realized the quality has gone downhill since probably 18months ago.