This Upper East Side eatery named after Persia’s ancient capital may be humble by New York standards—there is nary a Persia-tini or leather swathed banquette in sight—but it gets the important things right. Gratifying foods include homemade yogurt with diced cucumbers, smoky lamb kebab on a bed of cherry-dotted Persian rice, and baba, a rough potage of eggplant and garlic, all of which taste great on their own but even better slapped onto a pita. Fine hospitality sweetens the deal—waiters are gracious, and the owner can be found cracking jokes with customers or pulling out a chair for a lady (an appreciated gesture that nowadays takes place only in high-end restaurants or nursing homes). End your meal with Persian tea, deliciously scented with cardamom, a homemade dessert of fresh baklava or saffron ice cream, and contemplate the restaurant’s greatest design element—an oversized painting of the 1973 Persepolis soccer team.


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