A good Persian restaurant should have you heading—no, rolling—home with your jeans unzipped and the smell of freshly baked taftoon etched in your brain. And while we haven’t tried absolutely every Persian restaurant in London, we have consumed an alarming amount of chelo kebab koobideh, and scooped enough smokey kashk e bademjan, to tell you what’s what. And these 11 spots are serving some excellent dips, grilled meats, and traditional stews.
For: The Best Mirza Qasemi In London
No matter if it’s your first or 27th visit to this little Persian spot just off Westbourne Grove, you’ll feel like you’ve been coming here forever. Cosy and inviting, this is a restaurant that you can imagine having an intimate third date in while also making a mental note of how many people it seats so you can book out the whole space for a lowkey celebratory meal. However you choose to use this restaurant, there’s a few things you should know. They’ve got some grilled classics, homely stews, and the best mirza qasemi we’ve tried in London, . Our go-to order consists of both aubergine dips, the mast-o-khair, and a mixed grill to share. The servers are friendly and useful, and when they gently nudge you to order two bread baskets instead of one, you should listen.
For: Joojeh and Pistachio Koobideh
A stalwart Persian restaurant in Hammersmith, this spot has been serving top Persian classics to hungry locals since 1999. But these days it’s not just locals they’re serving, you’ll often find a queue for a table here, and once you have a bite of the pistachio koobideh—you’ll understand why. It’s nutty, buttery, and delicious, and not the only thing that’s great here. The grilled meats are all delicious, and everything is served on an elevated plate for some extra pizzazz. Once you have a bite of the citrussy, charred boneless chicken, you’ll realise that that 15 minute wait was worth it.
For: Chicken Biryani
Contrary to what the name of this Kensington restaurant would have you believe, there is sadly no garden. But that doesn’t matter, because that’s not even what you’re here for—which is huge portions, aromatic biryani, and the loud, homely feel of the place. It’s our go-to spot when we’re in the mood for Persian, but not for a straight forward skewers situation. With hefty rice dishes and stew section on the menu, this is a spot where you’ll find something for everyone. And the best bit? You’ll almost always have some left over to take home.
For: Big Special Bread
With just a couple of tables out front and a dozen or so squeezed in inside, this Iranian cafe is an absolute spot for anyone looking for a long lunch or dinner alongside enormous flatbreads and juicy kebabs. Their freshly made breads—an intrinsic part of any meal—are superb. You spoon a dollop of shallot yoghurt, you wipe it up with bread. You eat a chunk of lamb, you wash it down with bread. You enter a conversation you’re not keen on, you muffle yourself with bread. It’s key, it’s essential, and Patogh’s big special bread, roughly the size of a small table, is some of the best around.
For: A Solo Meal & A Baklava Ice Cream For One
Berenjak serves Iranian mazeh and kebabs in a corridor-like space on Romilly Street. The main room is made up of booths, but it’s the counter that’s the heart of this restaurant. This ten-person bar—and the meat-drippingly-enchanting, rotating, shawarma behind it—is what makes Berenjak so good by your lonesome. This is a sometimes interactive counter, with consistently friendly servers behind it, and is much more fun to sit at than a booth. Especially alone. Or, if you must, with a friend. But when you get to the baklava ice cream, you won’t want to share anything.
For: All The Dips
This family-run restaurant on Hereford Road has been open since 1983, and has a spacious, quirky interior, with hanging cutlery, bookshelf benches, and layered photo frames, but that’s still not the most interesting thing about this Notting Hill spot. Our favourite part of Hafez is the starter section, from cold, refreshing mast o khair to a creamy, chunky salad-e olivieh that would make a great sandwich filling, and a warm smokey kashk-e bademjan that you’ll speedily scoop up with the freshly baked taftoon bread. Come here for some great Persian dips, tender grilled meats, and rich stews.
For: A Group Sharing Situation & Garlic Tanoor
Located slap bang in the middle of New Malden high street, Sofreh opened in 2022 and began serving some of the best Persian classics in the area—immediately becoming a buzzy neighbourhood spot. With the scent of freshly baked tanoor wafting throughout, plush green chairs, and excellent joojeh on the menu, it’s our favourite option in the area. Come here in a group so you can share the generous portion of mixed mezze, and not be judged when you ask for three extra garlic tanoor bread baskets.
For: Pretty Interiors & Tender Joojeh
This small but mighty spot on Westbourne Grove has been serving glorious joojeh since 1995. A quarter of a century later, you’ll still find a queue for a table here on a Saturday night. Expect incredibly addictive freshly clay-baked taftoon bread, delicious dips, and grilled meats, and do as we do—hit this place up in a small group, start with their kashke bademjan and more bread than necessary, and move onto a mixed kebab and boneless chicken skewer to share.
For: A Cute Terrace
A charming neighbourhood spot in south Hampstead, a meal at Hana has all the t’s: a terrace, taftoon bread, and the-kind-of-dips-that-make-you-wish-you-ordered-more-bread. It’s the perfect place to head after a walk around Hampstead Heath, and when the weather’s nice, the half-in-half-out layout makes for a nice experience even if you don’t manage to nab one of the terrace tables. Get some dips, grilled prawns, and a stew to share.
For: Zereshk Polow Ba Morgh
This restaurant on Kingston High Street is a favourite with locals. We love it for the kashk-e-bademjan, the momtaz (one skewer of boneless chicken and a skewer of minced lamb with saffron rice), and zereshk polow ba morgh—steamed rice mixed with barberries served with braised chicken—which are all excellent. As well as that, order a bunch of grilled meats from the menu, and know that it’s hard to go wrong with anything here.
For: An Affordable Mayfair Spot
Shepherd Market feels a little like an 18th-century maze because around every corner, down every passage, there’s another restaurant. One of which is Iran Restaurant, an old school Persian place making the kind of mezze we could easily eat everyday. Ideally you want to come here with a few friends as the menu is hefty, and the best way to spend twenty-odd quid here is by sharing some warm flatbread, a couple of mezze plates and something off the grill, like zereshk polo ba morgh—which is a big and tasty plate of saffron chicken and barberry rice.
For: A Cheap & Cheerful Vegetarian Meze Plate
On first glance Persepolis is a yellow-building that looks like a regular corner shop, but inside you’ll find a vegetarian Persian-inspired deli and café. You won’t get booze or a limited edition Kit Kat Chunky here. Instead, you’ll walk through to the back and get a delicious meze plate of falafel, tapenade, salad, and a load of dips (our favourite is the yoghurt and cucumber number). This plate, warm pitta included, is £4.50 for a single person portion. It’s as tasty as it is good value, which is the gist of everything here.