Three great places - Tehran

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There is a wealth of flavours in the streets of Tehran, from bakeries to corner restaurants where the smell of saffron wafts through the air. But what will surprise many visitors is the city’s abundance of cosmopolitan restaurants. From mouth-watering Caspian food to authentic Asian and the finest French bakery in town, come with us on a culinary tour of Tehran…

 

Gilac

If you’re looking to veer away from the ubiquitous chelo kebab and more traditional Iranian cuisine, Gilac offers food from the northern Caspian Sea region of the country. Owned by Foad Samiei, this is a small, cosy eatery, and what it lacks in size it makes up for in cuisine. The friendly staff speak English, which makes Gilac a popular spot for expats and tourists. This doesn’t mean the cuisine is in any way diluted to be more foreigner-friendly. Smoked rice, a host of seafood dishes, and marinated olives are all integral to Gilac’s cuisine. Of particular note at Gilac are the kabab torsh – veal fillet marinated in pomegranate with crushed walnut and dried mint – and dokhtar-e luce ‘spoiled girl’ – grilled aubergine with sour grape juice, walnuts, and aromatic herbs – and the unique baghali ghatogh – broad beans stewed with dill and garlic. Be sure to wash it all down with the traditional doogh herb and yoghurt drink.



Monsoon

Pan-Asian is quickly taking over the world as the most popular cosmopolitan cuisine, and several Asian restaurants are emerging throughout Tehran. Established in 1999, Monsoon leads the pack as one of first and best Asian restaurants in the city. It is located just off Tehran’s lively Jordan Avenue (now officially known as Africa Boulevard), famed for its boutiques, art galleries, and, of course, restaurants. Tucked away in the trendy Gandhi Shopping Centre, this sought-after spot is a watering hole for young and trendy Tehranis, so reservations are a must. Monsoon is brimming with ambience, and the décor is impressive. The cuisine features dishes from around the Pacific Rim, and runs the gamut from Korean barbeque beef to Thai tamarind chicken, and an impressive array of Nigiri, Hosomaki, and Futomaki sushi.



Éclair

Located in the upmarket Fereshteh neighbourhood of Tehran, Éclair is a fine French pastry shop that offers everything you’d find at a pâtisserie in Paris. In fact, pastry chef Sahar Shahnazi hails from Paris, and personally guarantees the authenticity of the sweet treats on offer. Be sure to try the best-selling vanilla éclair (it is, after all, the namesake of the pâtisserie) and the decadent Saint Honoré. A personal favourite of founder Sassan Rahnema is the rainbow macaroon box; featuring flavours such as Earl Grey tea, and Tahitian vanilla and mint, it makes a perfect gift. But be sure to come early, as these sell out before noon every day. To avoid disappointment, you can even place your order online.

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