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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ruby Room

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8560 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 854-1020

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.

2. Super Sun Market

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1922 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

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.

3. Javan Restaurant

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11500 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 207-5555
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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.

4. Baran Restaurant

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1916 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 475-4500

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.

5. Darya

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12130 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
310-442-9000

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.

6. Caspian Persian Restaurant

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14100 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 651-8454
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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.

7. Kabob and More

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317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 624-2378
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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.

8. Darya Persian Cuisine

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3800 S Plaza Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92704
(714) 557-6600
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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.

9. Sadaf

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16240 Ventura Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 981-8100

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.

10. Raffi's Place

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211 E. Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
(818) 240-7411

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

11. Shiraz

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211 S Glendale Ave
Glendale, CA 91205
(818) 500-8661

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.

12. Shaherzad Restaurant

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1422 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 470-3242

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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1. Ruby Room

8560 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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.

8560 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

2. Super Sun Market

1922 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

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.

1922 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

3. Javan Restaurant

11500 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

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.

11500 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025

4. Baran Restaurant

1916 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025

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.

1916 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

5. Darya

12130 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

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.

12130 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

6. Caspian Persian Restaurant

14100 Culver Drive, Irvine, CA 92604

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.

14100 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604

7. Kabob and More

317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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.

317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013

8. Darya Persian Cuisine

3800 S Plaza Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92704

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.

3800 S Plaza Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92704

9. Sadaf

16240 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, CA 91436

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.

16240 Ventura Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436

10. Raffi's Place

211 E. Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205

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

211 E. Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205

11. Shiraz

211 S Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91205

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.

211 S Glendale Ave
Glendale, CA 91205

12. Shaherzad Restaurant

1422 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

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.

1422 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

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