People have been killed, others have been tortured, others have been exiled, and so on. Old news. Here is the list of restaurants I’m going to visit in Tehran during Christmas, in no particular order:
- The Blue Duck.
With its magnificent view of Tajrish square which mysteriously eliminates the traffic, situated at the top on one of Tehran’s most elegant and fun shopping malls, this restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat buffet-style menu with both continental and persian fare. A white-hatted chef prepares the plat-du-jour as you watch, and there is a wonderful salad bar.
Best known for its steaks, chateau-briands and beouf stroganoffs, and… the memories. Memories, memories, memories. The last time I was there, just my luck, there was a memorial service for a dead father on the bottom floor, and I had to feast to the sound of wailing and the sing-song voice of the chief mourner. By the time the mourner began “and his son, overseas and alone, crying father, father…” I was hiccupping with sobs into my steak with mushroom sauce.
Dirty, crowded and noisy, Safa is in the heart of Tehran downtown, close to Tehran University and Enghelab square, and serves chelo-kabab straight from the pots of heaven.
A quiet old house off Hafez avenue, decorated with elegant dusty old chandeliars, heavy velvet curtains and a large old-fashioned garden with a stone pool. It is always almost empty, like a haunted house, and the old proprieter sits at the front, murmuring courtesies. The beef schnitzel, served with a fried egg, is the best.
- Small House
Off Fatemi avenue, if you arrive by eight in the evening you have sit on the pavement for an hour or so until your turn comes and you can get a seat. Never mind. The weird and wonderful stir-fries are worth the wait.
- Hafez Eatery
Filthy, yes. But the brain and tongue sandwiches are delectable, while the grilled trout, wrapped in foil, is to die for.
- Stewed sheep’s head somewhere close to Manouchehri
I actually can’t remember the name of the shop. It has a huge aquarium covering one wall with horrible monstrous huge fish swimming from side to side, fed on scraps from the pot. However, the stewed brain and eyes, spiced with cinnamon and fresh lemon juice (Seville oranges in season), are so delicious that even the sight of those hungry silent monsters do not dim our appetite.
- Liver kabab, anywhere south of Enghelab.
All are good. I love all of them.
So, if you come looking for the newcomer in Tehran during the Christmas season, you know where to look. There are people I suppose I should see, grandparents and old friends and such like. As far as I am concerned, they can babysit while I hit the pots.