Welcome to Tehrangeles: Where to Get the Best Persian Food in Los Angeles
Photo: Lesya Dolyk
There’s a whole lot of Persia going on in Los Angeles. LA has the highest population of Iranians outside of Iran, and though Iranian students starting coming to Southern California in the 1960s to seek higher education, the exodus truly began with the revolution in 1979. They didn’t expect to stay too long, but the California sunshine made them settlers. Now, there’s a wealth of Persian restaurants in LA serving up juicy kebobs, hearty stews, and fresh-baked bread. Though most Iranian businesses are concentrated on Westwood Boulevard, the Persian culture palpitates throughout the entire LA county, from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica. We rounded up the best sit-down restaurants, lunch counters, grocery stores, and dessert spots to bring you a list of the best Persian food in Los Angeles. For more places to eat and drink right now in LA, check out the BlackBook city guides.
What: Come to this Westwood mainstay for the kebob: chicken, beef or lamb, served with a side of rice: baghali polo (with dill and fava bean), sabzi polo (with cilantro, parsley, green onion and dill); albaloo polo (with dried cherry); zereshk polo (with barberry).
Good for: Dinner, especially when crowded on the weekends
Where: 11500 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles
What: Another contender in our best restaurant lineup, Shaherzad Restaurant stands out for its simple space and juicy kebobs. Though the stews deliver just fine, your best bet is to get a beef kebob: either the juicy, ground beef koobideh or the tender filet mignon barg.
Good for: Casual dinner
Where: 1422 Westwood Blvd., Westwood
Photo: Shaherzad Restaurant
What: The outdoor façade might not be the most up-to-date, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Shamshiri Grill in the heart of Westwood has the warmest, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. Try not to fill up on it (and appetizers like mashed eggplant kashk-e-bademjan or mast 0’khiar) before your meal arrives — we suggest a kebob wrap for lunch or a ghormeh sabzi for dinner.
Good for: Casual lunch or dinner
Where: 1712 Westwood Blvd., Westwood
Saffron and Rose Ice Cream
What: One of the best things about Persian culture is its ice cream, which deserves far more attention in the frozen dessert market given the popularity of artisanal ice cream. The speciality is saffron and rose water ice cream, served with bits of pistachio. Appropriately, Saffron and Rose Ice Cream is the place to get it, by the scoop or as a wafer sandwich.
Good for: Ice cream
Where: 1387 Westwood Blvd., Westwood
Photo: LW Yang
What: Since the best Persian cooking can be found in someone’s home, the quality of a city’s Iranian-ness can be judged by how well-stocked its Middle Eastern grocery store is. Super Sun, an Iranian-owned grocer in — where else — Westwood has a heaping selection of nuts, tea and dried fruit. Stop by Laziz Grill, the deli counter inside the store, for kebob, stews, and sandwiches.
Good for: Persian specialty groceries, take-out lunch
Where: 1922 Westwood Blvd., Westwood
What: If you’ve seen the episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown where Tony takes on Tehran, then you know that the capital city has its own spin on pizza. The Persian pizza advertised in the storefront of Cafe Glace in Westwood is for the true personal pizza enthusiast. A thick, spongey crust is topped with melted cheese, bell peppers, and accouterments from sesame seeds to hot dog bites. For the authentic tasting experience, add ranch dressing and ketchup.
Good for: Persian pizza
Where: 1441 Westwood Blvd., Westwood