We needed a break from Iranian food on our last night in Esfahan, so had the Hasht Behesht Hotel order in Fried Chicken & Chips for us.
The highlight of the meal was indeed the packaging. I can't imagine what you'd do if you preferred breast!
The chicken and chips were quite acceptable.
A queue often extends down the stairs and out into the street for this restaurant, which is certainly one of the most popular in Esfahan. This sort of thing is usually a good sign -if folk are waiting to eat there, the food should be good. Extra points for the queuers being locals and not tourists. Of course, the truth is that many of the folk here are with local tour groups!
To avoid the queues, come early or come late.
The main dining room is attractively decorated, and the food quite good for Iran. I was warned off the biryan (supposedly too fatty), and chose something boring instead. They cook fish rather well here though, and the service is attentive and helpful. Complimentary sour barley soup is on offer.
After being talked out of trying the biryan at Shahrzad Restaurant, I was determined to give it a try - too fatty or otherwise.
The small shop a hundred metres or so along Hafez Street from Imam Square serves, according to Lonely Planet, the 'best biryan in Esfahan'. You will need to ask people which shop is the correct one, as all the signs are in arabic. Apparently there is another shop close by serving the same meals.
As you enter the shop, you will see a big tureen of biryan, bubbling away, alongside the oven for the bread. Laminex tables, with plastic chairs are in the rear. We ordered by pointing.
Biryan is a specialty of Isfahan with baked lung and mutton that is minced and then cooked in a special small pan over the fire. The food is eaten with a type of bread, "nan-e taftton".
We also had eggplant stew (bademjan) with the meal.
I can say that the biryan is not too fatty, but the strong taste of the mutton is not to my taste. Such is life! Total cost inc drinks - 6000IR
The Teahouse, or chaykhune, under Khaju Bridge is very traditional and may well have been in use since the bridge was built in the seventeenth century.
Inside, men sit on the floor, listening to Iranian music, drinking glasses of strong, black tea and smoking the hubbly-bubbly or nargile.
You won’t do better than this restaurant in Esfahan, It is located next to the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in the main Imam (Naqsh-e Jahan) Square. Their food is mnade from the finest ingrediantes and service is excellent. Like all restaurants in Iran, its still amazingly cheap. The interior is tasteful and traditional. The outside seating is reserved for families. If you have a good sized group a big PLEASE or a small tip may get you out there, At night the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is lit up and an amazing sight. They sometimes have live music in the restaurant as well. If you only eat in one restaurant in Esfahan, make it this one!
Please note: This place seems to have changed names a few times.
Favorite Dish: They make a good Abgousht stew, also known as a Dizzy. Just the making of the stew at the table is worth watching. They do a mixed meat grill that I would recommend.
A traditional tea that you "must not" miss out while in Esfahan. This gives you a perfect view of Imam Square, that good timing at late afternoon. See more pics and you know what I mean. A simple tea cost IR10,000 (May 2008). It is a bit expensive, but the splendid view worths every cent.
Ebtance is in the north side of the square.
I came to this restaurant as it was recommended by LP guidebook. But I found the food as not as good as those traditional restaurant around teh Imam square. The pricing is about the same. I had salad, and rice with barberry chicken (IR37,000 May 2008). The main dish waqs not that good. See more pics for the restaurant inisde, outside and the menu (May 2008). It is near Pars hotel. The cost of meal IR63,000.
If you want to experience the most noble, what a Persian hotel can offer, don't hesitate to spend a meal in Hotel Abbasi's restaurant. You may think it's not for your budget, but it's not as much as expensive as you would except it from a world class hotel. You also can come for a chay if on short budget. The main point is to see the interior, the perfect mixture European Grand Hotel architecture with noble and colorful Persian decoration situated in a former caravanseray. Don't miss the garden if the weather is endurable.
Favorite Dish: Even though you might get happy to see European dishes on the menu (which is quite rare in Iran), keep choosing Persian specialities. I've ordered an English steak, but it had nothing to do with the English roasting method....it wasn't bloody at all....yapp. Islamic country.... and stupid European :)
Despite being a quite touristy place, thanks to it's traditional tea-house atmosphere, the astonishing view over the dome of Sheykh Lotfollah's Mosque it was the best place to eat we've found during our entire stay.
Favorite Dish: Try tea (chay) with sweets (cookies - biskwit) after the meal...you'll get addicted
After having Iranian meals, we decided to go for something different for a change. While walking in Jolfa area, we found this pizza place. It was actually closed when we got there but the young cool looking guy let us in. There were a few customers wanting to get in too but he didn't let them :) The pizza tested really good and was quite cheap. I can't remember how much exactly but I remember it was cheaper than having an Iranian meal.
Two evenings in Esfahan I ate at a traditional Iranian restaurant. I don’t know the name of it, but it is situated east of Imam square and just north of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque (where I sat eating I had the illuminated mosque behind the back). It is up some stairs.
There was good service and good food. There was a salad buffet with a big variety of things and many Iranian dishes on the menu. I liked the dizi very much and had it two days in a row (had had a lot of kebabs the previous days). You pay at a counter as you leave.
Salad buffet, dizi and a big water was IR 35 000 (July 2006).
Off the southeastern corner of Imam Sq, this places is geared towards tourists but it makes up for it with its great atmosphere near the Imam Sq. The setting is spectacular and the food is amazing and cheap. It is one of the best places for atmosphere in Esfahan.
Esahan, like many other places in l.ran. has its own special delicacy: Beryani. This is !!round lamb tried in its own grease, topped with seasoning and spices. You may like other popular Iranian dishes, particularly Chela Kabab, delicious as anywhere. Another famous delicacy of Esfahan is Gaz (nougat) , a chewy white candy with pistachios and almonds. You can eat in one of the following places:
1. Abbasi Hotel.
2. Ali Qapu Hotel.
3. Azadi Hotel.
4. Kowsar Hotel.
5. Maharajah Restaurant.
6. Now Bahar Eating Hall.
7. Piruzi Hotel (Mehmansara).
Somewhere in New Julfa, near the Gevork Church and Hakim Nezami street, there is an Armenian restaurant that serves the best, and the biggest, chelou kabab in Esfahan. The mast (yoghurt), salads and torshis (pickles) without which no Iranian meal is complete, are delicious too. And the bread, as everywhere in Iran, is irresistible.
Favorite Dish: The chelou kabab the restaurant is famed for is a great mound of perfectly prepared chelou, fluffy white rice, topped with saffron rice and barberries and dressed with best butter to accompany the yard-long platter of luleh kabab (minced and rolled meat) and kabab barg (cubed and marinated meat). Grilled tomatoes and fresh herbs garnish the dish.
This restaurants interior looks like a royal palace. Nice wooden furniture's and ornaments. I guess this was a very expensive place, I was wrong...
Favorite Dish: Try their Chelo Fesenjan.
Fesenjan is chicken stew in pomegranate sauce and walnuts, served with rice (chelo).