11 Essential Persian Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of Kabob by Faraj
Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in California and it’s home to many immigrant cultures, including Iranians who have found refuge in LA and have cultivated tight-knit communities. Often called Tehrangeles, Los Angeles has the largest population of Persians living outside of Iran and most of them have set up shop in Westwood. The famed Westwood Boulevard strip dotted with Persian markets, specialty shops, and family-run restaurants, has evolved into what the city officially recognizes as Persian Square.
However, the Iranian population is pretty “fragmented” as the late Anthony Bourdain pointed out in an episode of Parts Unknown. Iranians span many ethnicities (Persians, Armenian, Azeri, Kurd, etc.) as well as religious beliefs (Judaism, Christianity, Muslim, Bahai, etc) but the one holiday that all Iranians still celebrate is Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year.
Nowruz, (which literally translates to new day) falls on the first day of spring (this year it’s March 20th) and celebrations last 13 days. In 1935, Nowruz was also around the time when the Shah of Iran declared that Iran would replace Persia as the official name of the country. Historically, Los Angeles has held some of the largest Nowruz festivities in the country but this year celebrations will be held virtually with musical performances from around the world.
Traditionally, a Haft-Sin is set out during Nowruz which literally translates to “7 S’s.” It’s an elaborate table arrangement of seven symbolic items that start with the letter “S” in Farsi which include: apples, garlic, vinegar, sumac, lentil sprouts, wheat germ sweet pudding, and oleaster, also referred to as Persian olives. You can find many of the Haft-Sin essentials, Middle Eastern spices, and other unique Persian ingredients at Sadaf’s popular specialty shop.
In honor of the Persian New Year, we’ve rounded up some of the best Persian restaurants in Los Angeles to try now and forever.
Darya, arguably one of the best Persian restaurants in LA, is known for their succulent kabobs and hearty stews. Order like the Persian royals did and try the beef soltani (soltani means emperor in Farsi) served with a charbroiled tomato and a mountain of fluffy Basmati rice topped with saffron. The juicy chicken, charbroiled salmon, and seasonal white fish are also excellent dishes here. But no Persian meal is complete without a side of tahdig (the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot). Make sure to select the two to three stew combinations to taste a variety of popular stews.
How to order: Call 310-442-9000 for takeout or order delivery through GrubHub and DoorDash.
Photo by Leila Najafi for Thrillist
Stick to the specialty sandwiches and order the famous cow tongue or the beef kotlet sando made with a fried ground beef patty. For vegetarians, kuku sabzi is similar to a frittata but made with fragrant herbs and it’s a common dish found on Nowruz tables. Attari’s sandwiches are served on a baguette and include tomato, lettuce, a Persian pickle for crunch, and a handful of sabzi (fresh herbs) for added flavor. The ash-e reshteh, an aromatic legume soup with noodles is a popular dish, as is the ab-goosht, also called dizi, a lamb and chickpea stew (only served on Fridays).
How to order: Call 310-441-5488 for takeout or order delivery on Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats
Wine and Cheeseburger
Wine and Cheeseburger: Harley and Lara Pair Falafel with Wine
Kabob by Faraj
This small, no-frills restaurant inside a kosher butcher is where you’ll find a lot of Persians on Sunday afternoons (they are closed on Saturday for Shabbat). Persians come here to pick up marinated meats to barbeque with friends and family at home or grab a quick afternoon bite. The menu here is a la carte, meaning the meat and rice are served separately so you can build your own combo plate. Menu highlights include the beef barg, beef koobideh, boneless chicken thigh, addas polo (lentil rice), and for stews the ghormeh sabzi and karafs are the best options.
How to order: Order delivery via Postmates or call 310-657-4447 for takeout.
Photo by Leila Najafi for Thrillist
Persians will travel just about anywhere for good food and that includes making the trek to Glendale because the kabob at Raffi’s Place is that good. You can’t go wrong here, but the beef soltani and beef koobideh never disappoint. Upgrade your rice and get the zereshk polo which is Basmati rice mixed with barberries for a sweet and tangy flavor.
How to order: Order online here or call 818-240-7411 for takeout
Flame in Westwood (not to be confused with the Flame in West LA which is Persian fine dining) has a hard-to-miss clay oven front and center that turns out freshly baked tanori bread. Order the kashk bademjan (fried eggplant dip) and do as the Iranians do. Rip a piece of flatbread and place a heaping tablespoon of dip onto the bread to form a loghmeh (bite-sized morsel) and savor the burst of rich flavors in your mouth. The best part? Two words: unlimited bread.
How to order: Call 310-470-3399 for takeout or order delivery through Uber Eats
Photo courtesy of Leila Najafi
Taste of Tehran
Taste of Tehran might be the newest kid on the block but this cozy, female-owned restaurant has gained a loyal following since 2013. The owner, Saghar Fanisalek, a former Le Cordon Bleu student, wanted to open a restaurant that served traditional Persian dishes with a modern twist. Taste of Tehran serves a sabzi polo and white fish special around Nowruz, but locals flock to this Persian eatery year-round for the koobideh, boneless chicken kabob, filet mignon shish kabobs, addas polo, and the tomato paste gheymeh stew.
How to order: Call 310-470-0022 for takeout or order delivery online
Photo by Leila Najafi for Thrillist
Westwood & Glendale
At Pink Orchid, you’ll find an assortment of classic Persian and French pastries like Napoleon, and roulette, a popular moist cake filled with whipped cream. The dried sweets called shirni khoshk are also worth trying and have hints of Persian flavors like pistachios and rose water. Our personal favorites are the deep-fried bamieh (Persian donuts) and zoolbia. For a Persian-style breakfast, order the sausage omelette which comes with two logs of feta cheese, fluffy barbari bread and Persian tea.
How to order: Call 310-441-4410 for takeout.
Encino & Thousand Oaks
The Valley is home to a large Persian community so you’ll find a number of restaurant gems along Ventura Boulevard including Sadaf. House specialties include the juicy chicken, albaloo polo made with sour cherries, the lubia polo made with a tomato base served alongside a beef koobideh skewer, the Sadaf salad, and the stew combination platter. Pair your meal with a plate of sabzi (mixed herbs) and a pitcher of the homemade doogh (a carbonated savory yogurt drink), also known as “The Persian Coke” for an authentic Persian meal.
How to order: Order takeout online here or delivery through Postmates
Westwood & DTLA
Shekarchi is an underrated restaurant in Westwood but it’s certainly one of the best. Choose your meat served on a plate or in a wrap (DTLA location only) and make sure to request the garlic sauce. Shekarchi Westwood focuses on a few dishes but does all of them really well. The beef koobideh is what you should order here but note that it only comes with one skewer so add an extra one if you’re really hungry.
How to order: Order takeout here or call 310-474-0372
Saffron & Rose
We would be remiss to write a round up of Persian restaurants without including Saffron & Rose. Sure, it’s an ice cream shop but it’s an iconic Persian dessert with flavors unlike anything you’ve had. The family-owned business serves scoops of Persian flavored ice-cream such as saffron and pistachio, rose water, pomegranate, and date with a wafer on the side. Faloodeh, also served here, is a traditional Nowruz dessert that’s made with rosewater and vermicelli noodles.
How to order: Call 310-477-5533 for takeout orders.
Owner Hamid Shamshiri comes from a long lineage of restaurateurs so he knows authentic Persian cuisine and hospitality. Persians love the crispy tahchin rice cake, which you can order with chicken or lamb on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and chicken shamshiri, as well as the freshly-baked bread that comes out of the open-flame kitchen.
How to order: Call 310-474-1410 for takeout or order delivery online
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Leila Najafi is an American-born Persian who finally learned how to cook her mom’s Persian recipes during the pandemic. Follow her food and travel adventures on Instagram at