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Party Like a Persian at LA's Best Iranian Restaurants

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2008_10_hasmaps.jpgPersian New Year, Nowruz or Norooz or however you want to spell it, which coincides with the Spring Equinox, is fast approaching. Because LA has the largest population of Iranians outside of Iran, it also has the best Persian restaurants in the country. We've picked our favorite 12, below, so that Shahs of Sunset fan or not, you can celebrate with a bowl of soup-e adas (lentil soup), ghormeh sabzi (a deep green, meaty stew) or everyone's favorite pomegranate-walnut stew, fesenjan. Even though the best place to have Iranian food is in someone's home, preferably made by that someone's mother, the second best place is in a restaurant in Tehrangeles.

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Ruby Room

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Owners are serving family recipes at this hidden garden restaurant. Find it on Wilshire, just east of La Cienega. The stews and kabobs are especially flavorful.

Super Sun Market

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West LA's Super Sun Market is one of the best Iranian owned grocery stores in the city. Tucked away in the back is a deli counter that serves fresh kabobs, grilled-to-order and an enormous array of take-out.

Javan Restaurant

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Javan's dining room is well-lit and especially pleasant during dinner on the weekends. There's a debate over whether their kababs are better than their stews that's best settled by a side by side taste test.

Baran Restaurant

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This five-year old restaurant's name comes from the Persian word for 'rain,' which is charming, since LA could use a bit more of it. Persian mothers argue over how much dried lime to add to their ghormeh sabzi; Baran gets it just right. They also serve some of the city's best tadig, that crispy rice scooped up from the bottom of the pot in large shards.

Though the dining room can only be described as gaudy, Darya in West LA serves some of the city's freshest kabobs. Their stews are not among the best, but the sweets, especially if they have the Zoolbia (a funnel-cake like fritter) are a great way to end the meal.

Caspian Persian Restaurant

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The belly dancers during dinner provoke smirks among Iranian clientele because none of them are actually of Iranian descent. Nevertheless, Caspian serves an honorable Persian buffet during weekend lunch that draws businessmen, students and ladies who lunch.

Kabob and More

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Inside the Grand Central Market, past the rows of dried Mexican chilis and beyond the meat stalls lies this small counter serving Persian specials daily for lunch and early dinner. The roasted meats and fish are fresh and flavorful.

Darya Persian Cuisine

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Tucked inside the South Coast Plaza shopping complex is this elegant Persian dining room, not to be confused with the Darya in West LA. The kashka bademjan, an eggplant dip with a topping of crispy, caramelized onions, is a must-taste.

The tadig is great here, made with plenty of butter and sometimes made with potatoes too, but the cherry rice and chicken kabob combination is a favorite among regulars.

Raffi's Place

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Though Armenian restaurants outnumber Iranian ones in Glendale, Raffi's Place offers a good blend of Iranian cuisine with some Armenian influence.

Shiraz operates restaurants in both Glendale and Sherman Oaks, but the Glendale location tends to be the favorite. Don't let the fancy dining room put you off; there's a more casual patio area that's especially pleasant in the springtime. The mahi-mahi kabob is very good with dill rice.

Shaherzad Restaurant

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There are perhaps a dozen Persian restaurants along this stretch of Westwood Boulevard, but most of them are serving sub-par food. Shaherzad stands out for serving juicy koobideh kabobs, the kind made from ground meat, onions and fresh herbs.

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Ruby Room

Owners are serving family recipes at this hidden garden restaurant. Find it on Wilshire, just east of La Cienega. The stews and kabobs are especially flavorful.

Super Sun Market

West LA's Super Sun Market is one of the best Iranian owned grocery stores in the city. Tucked away in the back is a deli counter that serves fresh kabobs, grilled-to-order and an enormous array of take-out.

Javan Restaurant

Javan's dining room is well-lit and especially pleasant during dinner on the weekends. There's a debate over whether their kababs are better than their stews that's best settled by a side by side taste test.

Baran Restaurant

This five-year old restaurant's name comes from the Persian word for 'rain,' which is charming, since LA could use a bit more of it. Persian mothers argue over how much dried lime to add to their ghormeh sabzi; Baran gets it just right. They also serve some of the city's best tadig, that crispy rice scooped up from the bottom of the pot in large shards.

Darya

Though the dining room can only be described as gaudy, Darya in West LA serves some of the city's freshest kabobs. Their stews are not among the best, but the sweets, especially if they have the Zoolbia (a funnel-cake like fritter) are a great way to end the meal.

Caspian Persian Restaurant

The belly dancers during dinner provoke smirks among Iranian clientele because none of them are actually of Iranian descent. Nevertheless, Caspian serves an honorable Persian buffet during weekend lunch that draws businessmen, students and ladies who lunch.

Kabob and More

Inside the Grand Central Market, past the rows of dried Mexican chilis and beyond the meat stalls lies this small counter serving Persian specials daily for lunch and early dinner. The roasted meats and fish are fresh and flavorful.

Darya Persian Cuisine

Tucked inside the South Coast Plaza shopping complex is this elegant Persian dining room, not to be confused with the Darya in West LA. The kashka bademjan, an eggplant dip with a topping of crispy, caramelized onions, is a must-taste.

Sadaf

The tadig is great here, made with plenty of butter and sometimes made with potatoes too, but the cherry rice and chicken kabob combination is a favorite among regulars.

Raffi's Place

Though Armenian restaurants outnumber Iranian ones in Glendale, Raffi's Place offers a good blend of Iranian cuisine with some Armenian influence.

Shiraz

Shiraz operates restaurants in both Glendale and Sherman Oaks, but the Glendale location tends to be the favorite. Don't let the fancy dining room put you off; there's a more casual patio area that's especially pleasant in the springtime. The mahi-mahi kabob is very good with dill rice.

Shaherzad Restaurant

There are perhaps a dozen Persian restaurants along this stretch of Westwood Boulevard, but most of them are serving sub-par food. Shaherzad stands out for serving juicy koobideh kabobs, the kind made from ground meat, onions and fresh herbs.

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