The authentic taste of Persia traveled to and from many lands. Silk Road passed through Iran. This road was a transitional point where different nations were exchanging their culture and cuisines. While some of the most exotic flavors came into life from a thousand years old dishes of Iran itself, the unique tastes of other nations’ cuisines also influenced Iran’s cuisine.
Add some fire and spice to your food, and you have the wonderfully seductive world of Persian food. Rice is a staple, but the Iranian special spice, Saffron, is rice’s inseparable friend. Iranians use Saffron for its flavor and color flavor and color. Herbs are used in Persian foods a lot. So not only we’re meat lovers, but also, many dishes can be a vegetarian-friendly dish! Traditional Iranian restaurants cook these foods. Another type of Iranian restaurants in Iran is western-style restaurants. This type has different western foods. Restaurants in Tehran and many big cities have hundreds of various types. Here we want to list the different types of Iranian restaurants in Iran.
Best Iranian Foods
Be sure to see the article on the best Iranian food next to this article to find out what food is waiting for you in Iranian restaurants!
Imagine you’re a businessman who is traveling through the Silk Road. What is your first order once you’ve arrived at the caravansary? The food!
So, the history of Iranian restaurants starts here when the caravans were traveling through Iran. But it wasn’t like it is today. There was only a place which gave the passengers food without any menu. This kind of food serving didn’t change until the Safavid era. The cities were getting bigger, and people needed to gather in a place and talk about different things. So, tea houses were established. Tea houses were not only a place for eating but also, they were a place for discussing and exchanging the news.
After Iranians could travel to Europe, they got familiar with European cafes and restaurants. The chic and classy restaurants mesmerized Iranians. In Iran, no one knew about restaurant management, so the immigrants started to establish cafes and Iranian restaurants in Iran. A Russian immigrant established the first modern café in 1928, which served western foods. Naderi Café became a hangout for the poets and artists and the center of intellectual discussions. After that, the culture of dining out was spreading all over Iran, and more Iranian restaurants were opening.
Now, we have different restaurants in Iran in different styles. We’re changing our precious traditional houses to café and restaurants. Moreover, we’re learning restaurant management more professionally to have standard eating places.
During Ramadan, the fasting month of Muslims, the restaurants offer a simple meal called Iftar in addition to the dinner. All the restaurants are full of people until midnight in Ramadan.
Different Types of Restaurants
What is your diet? What kind of cuisine do you like? Are you a vegetarian?
Restaurants in Iran have a wide diversity. No matter what your diet is, there is a restaurant that fits with you. The restaurants in Tehran are more diverse, but in most of the other big cities, you can also find what you want.
Here we’re going to list the most popular restaurants in Iran.
If you want to know how is a traditional restaurant in Iran, imagine a place with many Iranian symbols. A blue pond, relaxing Iranian music, and the mouth-watering smell of Persian dishes.
Give a piece of meat to a traditional Iranian restaurant and then watch the magic of flavor and smell!
To many of us, Kebabs are roughly the same. But in a traditional Iranian restaurant, you can find many different distinctions. Kebab is one of the traditional Iranian foods that everybody loves.
Sometimes you can hear a clapping sound in the Iranian restaurants. This clapping sound informs us the dough is getting ready for sticking to Tanoor, a traditional Iranian oven for baking bread. Fresh warm bread is a must, and it’s a sign of an excellent Iranian restaurant. However, the result is golden and crusty; the bread has a slightly spongy texture. No Persian dish is completed without it. So, most of the excellent restaurants have their Tanoor oven and special bread baker.
Ameriha, A Distinguished Traditional Restaurant in Kashan
At the Ameriha hotel, you can have you’re your meal while you’re looking at the yard through the colorful windows. Dining in the Mirror Hall is an unforgettable experience that can’t be repeated in many cities. which is the biggest traditional house in Kashan was the host of many famous people like actors and ambassadors.
Abbasi Hotel, An Iranian Restaurant-Garden in Isfahan
This 300-year hotel, which called the Middle East’s most beautiful hotel has several restaurants. The most magnificent restaurant serves traditional Iranian foods in an Iranian garden. You can also have your meal on the roof with the view of Isfahan and the garden.
If you’re looking for a place for gathering, talking, and eating with Iranians, tea houses are a good choice. Tea Houses are the authentic version of Iranian restaurants. Sometimes it’s a simple place with few long tables and customers sit around it together. Iranian adore black tea and drink it after every meal with a lot of respect. They put a sugar cube in their mouth, and it melts while they’re seeping the tea gradually.
Dizi is a dish that is able to sustain workers though a long day, and it’s incredibly delicious. Its authentic Persian recipe includes beans, potato, meat with lots of fat! People pour the juice in a bowl and brake the bread in it. After that, the rest is smashed in Dizi to eat it with bread while they’re talking about different things.
Azari Tea House in Tehran
This Iranian restaurant is decorated very delicately and authentic. Azari Tea House is a popular restaurant in Tehran. In the morning, you can listen to Naghali, narrating epic stories of Shahnameh (the book of epic poems) and its fables and myths. Here is a real authentic tea house, with nomadic woolen carpets and old paintings about Iranian myths.
Chah Haj Mirza, An Antique Tea House in Isfahan
If you’re traveling to Isfahan with tours, you can ask the planner to include visiting Chah Haj Mirza Tea House in your itinerary. It’s a small but very famous restaurant in Isfahan for its history and unique interior.
Best Persian Drinks & Beverages
Tea is one of the favorite drinks of Iranians, but there are other attractive drinks in Iran that you can learn more about in this article!
Hamburger, sandwich, or French fries? Many people love fast foods due to its crunchy texture and nice flavor. Iranians also have the same idea about fast foods. So fast foods got popular very fast in different parts of Iran. That is to say; it’s impossible to visit a city which doesn’t have a fast-food restaurant.
Everything started by Russian immigrants about 200 years ago. They introduced a sandwich to Iranians, and it became prevalent between younger. So Iranians established their fast-food restaurants in Tehran and Mashhad. Not long after, they bought American fast-food franchises.
What about now? We don’t have any official McDonald or KFC in Iran, but we have our restaurants. Pizza, hams, sandwiches, and fries are common in different fast-food menus.
Perpersook Restaurants in Tehran
Perperook is a popular fast food in Tehran, which has different branches. If you are in Sa’adat Abad branch of Perperook, you can enjoy shopping in famous malls of Tehran or experience nightlife with Iranians.
Tabiat Bridge Restaurants in Tehran
Tabiat Bridge is a pedestrian overpass between two parks. Also, it is a modern and popular architecture made by a young Iranian architect. Different Iranian restaurants and fast foods besides two large parks help you to burn the calories after eating an extra cheese pizza!
If you missed Italian cuisine or Chinese food, you could find several Iranian restaurants that serve them. You can find different kinds of pasta, steak, or sushi. The most common international restaurant in Iran is an Italian restaurant, and other types are not very common.
If you like to have dinner in a luxury restaurant, the Italian restaurants are usually luxury and high level.
Chinese and Japanese Cuisine in Tehran
Few restaurants in Tehran offer Japanese and Chinese cuisine like Kenzo restaurant. The sushi of Kenzo restaurant is famous in Tehran. Besides, you can eat Chinese food in the oldest Chinese restaurant in Tehran, the Golden Dragon restaurant.
The Unique Flavor of Italian Foods in An Iranian Restaurant
An Iranian restaurant that makes Italian foods with unique recipes is Vitrin Kitchen. If you want to taste a hand-made pizza, lead to this famous restaurant in Tehran. Also, this restaurant serves different vegetarian foods.
Ice Cream And Juice Places
Ice cream and juice places are trendy in the summers. Even Iranians have their saffron ice cream that is usually served beside Falooda. Falooda is sweet iced noodles with rose water or lime juice. Shiraz is well known not only due to its historical sites but also with its Falooda and saffron ice cream.
In the winter, most of the ice cream shops have hot Ash (a kind of soup) and porridge beside ice cream and juice.
Ice cream and juice are not only favorite Iranian deserts. In the Persian community, sweets punctuate the day. From biscuits with nuts and dried fruit to lavish cream cakes. Many with the flavors of Saffron and pistachio, rose water.
Read More: Persian Desserts & Sweets You Must Try
Shekar Riz, The Oldest Falooda Shop in Shiraz
If you want to visit Arg of Karim Khan in Shiraz, don’t leave there unless tasting Falooda of the shops near Arg like Shekar Riz. Shekar Riz is one of the popular Falooda shops in Shiraz, which serves authentic Falooda.
Khalifeh Rahbar Shop, A Sweet Bite From Yazd
Buy the traditional sweets from the shops near Amir Chakhmaq Complex during your trip to Yazd. After you came back from Iran, eating the bite-size pastry from Yazd, Qottab, can remind you of the sweet time of your travel. Khalifeh Rahbar makes the Yazd famous sweets with the authentic Persian recipe. Sitting in Amir Chakhmaq Complex and enjoying tea and Qottab is a cool experience in Yazd.
It’s now about 100 years since Naderi Café was opened. Now we have many cafés in every city. These cafés are a hangout for the youngers to gather and drink a cup of coffee.
No matter you are in Kashan or Shiraz, you can find a café near your hotel and head to it for refreshment or when you don’t want to sleep soon at night. Here there is no night club or bar, so people hang out in the cafés.
As the country is getting modern, communication with the world is developing. Therefore, Iranian restaurants in Iran are covering more diverse tastes.
Vegetarian restaurants in Iran aren’t common in every city, but we have several vegetarian restaurants in Tehran and other big cities. Moreover, if you are a vegetarian and you’re in a small city, you can order Kashke Bademjan (Persian eggplant dip) in many traditional Iranian restaurants. Also, in almost any fast food menu, you can find veggie pizza or different salads.
A Vegetarian Restaurant in Iran With The View of Windcatchers of Yazd
Art House in Yazd isn’t only an Iranian restaurant that serves local vegetarian dishes, but also it has an amazing view of wind catchers from the rooftop. Here is a right place for escaping from the desert heat and enjoy the sunset view with a cold beverage and a light meal.
Reera Café in Tehran
If you like to wander around the downtown of Tehran, go to Reera café that is in the alley of the identical houses. The story behind this alley is lovely and is worth listening to it.
Street Foods and Cheap Eats in Iran
Street food has a long history in Iran. First, they were simple trucks, and they sold snacks like a baked potato or cold beverage. Despite the modern and big restaurants in Iran, the simple trucks have their fans yet and offer cheap eats in Iran.
In the winter, the steam that comes from the boiling red beetroot and broad bean, attract many passers-by. In summer, grilled corn on the cob has a magical smell.
Cheap Eats in Tehran
Nightlife in Tehran can be as yummy as a street with many food trucks. In 30th Tir St, about 20-30 trucks offer cheap eats in Tehran with different foods, music, and a live crowd. Different sandwiches, ice creams, and kebabs are a part of the vast menu.
Cheap Eats in Ahwaz
In addition, Lashkar Abad street in Ahwaz, a southern city in Iran, attracts many tourists each year due to its street food. The locals changed the yard of their houses to a place for selling Kibbeh, Falafel, and Samosa. If you want to drink a different black tea in Iran, buy Arabic tea with local sweets.
Local Foods in Different Cities
Do you think traditional Iranian foods are the same all over the country? There are different worlds of flavor and color in different parts of Iran.
Local restaurants in Rasht
If you travel to Rasht with a local, he/she suggest you have lunch in Shoore Kooli restaurant in Rasht. It’s a traditional northern house with a beautiful yard. The foods are served in blue pottery dishes on the wooden table with the view of the green plain. The most famous food in Rasht is Kate Kebab (rice and kebab) with the magical flavor of Iranian rice. If you’re a vegetarian, Mirza Ghasemi (smoked mashed eggplant with garlic and tomato) is a right choice.
Local Restaurants in Bushehr
The north of Iran is indeed the center of magic flavors and colors, but the southern restaurants in Iran are not less diverse. If you attend in Kooche festival in Bushehr, you can taste fresh-baked shrimp or fish. Don’t miss Ghalieh Mahi (sour fish stew) in southern restaurants in Iran. It’s the taste that you can’t find anywhere but south of Iran.
Local Restaurants in Isfahan
In Isfahan, Doogh and Gooshfil (a savory beverage based on yogurt with a sweet) is a famous snack. After visiting Imam square, head to Chah Haj Mirza Tea House to taste this salty and sour snack. Beryan (minced fatty meat) in Azam restaurant in Isfahan, is the food that every local will suggest to you.
Likewise, Shiraz, Kashan, Yazd and many other cities have their local foods. If you love tasting new flavors, ask the planner to suggest you the best restaurants in every city.