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The Seven Best L.A. Persian Restaurants to Hit For Nowruz (Persian New Year)

11:40 AM PDT on March 20, 2023

    If you and your family celebrate Nowruz, hopefully, you have someone super talented cooking for you at home this weekend and don’t require a list like this. For the rest of us, who are seeking great flavors to accompany whatever Persian new year celebrations they’ve got cooking, we present to you seven, of the many, many, places where you can indulge in some of L.A.’s most appealing Iranian eats.

    Attari Sandwich Shop

    Let’s take it back to ’78, when this small daytime deli space steps with a resplendently sunny courtyard was opened, surviving today as one of Westwood’s oldest Persian businesses—many say the oldest. Despite the abundant kebabs, dips, salads, and desserts on offer, the large sandwiches on French bread are the big magnet come lunchtime, with intriguing fillings such as the spicy sausage known as sosees bandari, paper-thin mortadella, olivieh-style egg salad, and the most popular for a reason, the saffron-kissed hot beef tongue. Sadly, it’s been a few months since the deli served its infamous and delicious makhloot, due to current inaccessibility of its star ingredients, lamb brains, and lamb tongue.

    1388 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 20, 233, 720 or 761 - “Wilshire/Westwood.”

    Raffi's Place

    Raffi’s Place

    For nearly 30 years, this family-owned Glendale restaurant has been feeding the local Persian-Armenian community over great feasts of ghormehsabzi stew with tahdig, tart pomegranate-stewed fesenjoon, melt-in-the-mouth lamb shank, black cherry studded albaloo polo, and a small universe of kebabs, with various seafood options among them. Barg, made with charbroiled finely sliced filet mignon, is a particular indulgence worth seeking out. A few blocks east of Santa Monica, you’ll find similarly devoted crowds and thoughtfully constructed traditional dishes among the extravagant dining rooms of Darya, where synth-strapped crooner belts out forgotten soft-pop gems and standards from Iran, Europe, and the States on weekend evenings, and the decently-priced lunch specials make a nice midday deal.

    211 E Broadway Glendale, CA 91205. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 92, 94, 180 or 501 - “Brand/Broadway.”

    Tehran Market

    Persian grocery stores vastly enhance life on the Westside and Santa Monica’s recently renovated Tehran Market is one of the gems. Stop by for marinated halal meats, seemingly endless stores of labneh, tea, nuts, fruits, preserves, sangak, prepared dishes, and sweets to bring home. But make a point of doing this on weekends, when the charcoal-grilled aromas from two massive parking lots mangal will lure you into some of the city’s most satisfying lamb, chicken, salmon, and koobideh kebabs.

    1417 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90403. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 20 or 720 - “Wilshire/14th.”

    Naan Hut, photo: Vitali Belousov

    Naan Hut

    Neither the name or façade indicate the life-affirming glories going on inside, where the fresh dough is patted over a large wooden palate then spread across a revolving custom oven that replicates the texture of the bed of tiny stones from which the legendary Persian bread sangak gets its name. Two minutes later, you’ll be presented with a hot, fresh, spongy sangak the size of a small blanket that should last you many days at home, if it survives the drive there. While there, stay for a breakfast of mirza ghasemi or order a wrap for lunch to get your koobideh or grilled chicken encased in that same fresh-from-the-oven sangak.

    11551 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 4 - “Santa Monica/Barrington.”

    Mashti Malones

    Another reason to love L.A.? You have more than a few choices for Persian ice cream. On Westwood Boulevard, there’s popular Saffron & Rose, which sports scoops of saffron pistachio, jasmine, and date, as well as the rice noodle dessert faloodeh. And nearby, you’ll find Bloomfield Creamery, offering small-batch, honey-sweetened flavors like pink rose, chocolate honeycomb, and tart cherry and chocolate. But like many Angelenos, we have a big of a soft spot for Mashti Malone’s, which has been serving Hollywood for nearly 40 years with decadent specials like deep-fried, rosewater-soaked zulbia bamieh with a scoop on top, ice cream sandwiches bookended by crispy wafers, and cups of ice cream balancing a big baklava loghmeh where sprinkles usually go. The longstanding business now has its own Westwood Blvd. storefront, too.

    1525 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 2 or 212 - “La Brea/Sunset.”

    1898 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 4, 233 or 761 - “Westwood/Santa Monica.”

    1529 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 2 or 4 - “Sunset/Maltman.”

    Gypsy’s Persian Grill

    South Bay heads enjoy this kebab-heavy, Tehran-inspired restaurant that’s been feeding Long Beach for nearly 20 years. The selection is straightforward, focusing on kebabs made with care such as yogurt marinated chicken, traditional koobideh, coconut curry-marinated chicken, and tender lamb. There are also multiple variations on falafel, hummus topped with cranberries and barberries, and housemade baklava.

    21 39th Place Long Beach, CA 90803

    Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen

    Fullerton’s excellent, creative, Michelin Bib Award-winning halal restaurant is running a Holi menu this weekend to celebrate India’s Festival of Colors. Then, this Monday and Tuesday, it will turn its attention to Nowruz, offering these three specials: chapli kabob, of spice-rubbed, minced lamb with eggs and fried tomatoes; Indian aubergine (eggplant) seasoned with spiced tomato and hung yogurt; and a New Zealand lamb shank with cardamom pods, caramelized carrots, and raisins called “The Dance of Kabuli Pulao.” Considering the inventive takes chef Imran Ali Mookhi is known for, it’s worth seeing what he does with Persian cuisine.

    229 E. Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832

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