Finding a delicious gem of a restaurant in Los Angeles can be difficult amongst the city’s hundreds of dining options. Each week, Daily Bruin A&E will help students narrow down their search by reviewing restaurants located along main boulevards near UCLA.
It’s easy to get lost amidst the seemingly endless Persian signs lining Westwood Boulevard south of Wilshire Boulevard.
However, hidden in the rows of Persian film and book stores is the delectable Taste of Tehran.
The restaurant’s sleek space combined with its quaint and rustic surroundings give Taste of Tehran a charming, modern aesthetic. Likewise, Taste of Tehran’s homestyle cooking and devotion to quality is microcosmic of its polished – but not overtly polished – appearance.
Taste of Tehran is tiny; with its few tables for dining in, the primary focus definitely appears to be on takeout dining. Upon entering, diners can watch the chef finish off their dishes with vibrant yellow and red sauces and seasonings, thanks to a large glass panel in front of part of the kitchen.
Black and white images of city life line the walls, along with two maps of Iran and Tehran. The interior has a chic feel, with bright white lighting and a sense of hustle and bustle as the workers prepare and serve the food.
Many of the menu items’ names are written in Persian, though each item has an English description written below its Persian name.
The sampler trio allows indecisive diners to explore multiple options off the menu. Customers can choose from a wide range of “small plates,” including ash reshteh, a Persian herb and bean stew, and lubia, a dish of pinto beans stewed in a rich tomato sauce. The trio is also a strong option for vegetarians, as none of the small plate options contain meat.
The most impressive among the small plates is the tomato and bean stew, lubia. An especially hearty dish during the winter months, the lubia’s tomato sauce has that tanginess characteristic of freshly ripened tomatoes and balances out the creaminess of the pinto beans.
Taste of Tehran’s biggest and most expensive dishes are the kabob plates. Tender and juicy chunks of grilled marinated meat, including chicken, beef and lamb, accompany a mountain of white rice, a sizable green salad and a grilled tomato garnish. Customers can order one or two skewers of meat, but be warned – the plates come with an extraordinary amount of food. Customers get their money’s worth, and leftovers can last for the next two meals.
Each dish also comes with a large bowl of Persian flatbread which pairs well with some of the small plates, such as the ash reshteh. The rich and filling herb stew compliments the carb-packed side dish. The flatbread is perfect for dipping into the mast o mousir, a zesty and bright yogurt and shallot dip.
The restaurant is fairly pricey – $11 for one beef kabob. However, the price tag is well worth it. If anything, be conservative when deciding what to order so as not to end up with piles upon piles of leftovers.
Taste of Tehran is both a great starting point for those interested in trying Persian cuisine and a pleasant place for Persian food aficionados looking for a quick and satisfying meal.