Every March, Persians around the world celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. Nowruz translates to mean “new day,” and it marks the beginning of spring. This year it falls on March 21, and what better way to honor it than by highlighting three Persian restaurants?

Divan’s doublecut lamb rib chops are by far the restaurant’s best item.

Rumi’s Kitchen

Iranian Ali Mesghali has been the chef at Rumi’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs since 2006. The sophisticated restaurant features dishes true to its Persian origins, such as taftoon, a hot, unleavened bread served with radishes, feta, walnuts and fresh herbs. Use the bread for scooping any of Rumi’s dips. Start with the kashk badenjoon, a creamy blend of fried eggplant, crispy onion and mint, or the trio of yogurts that includes Persian cucumber, sun-dried shallot and spinach. Next, try the lamb and beef kabobs that come with a heaping of saffron or cherry rice.

Rumi’s Kitchen
6112 Roswell Road
Atlanta 30328
404.477.2100
rumiskitchen.com

Divan Restaurant & Bar

The house on Piedmont Road in Buckhead is home to an exotic restaurant and hookah bar with some of the best Persian food we’ve had. Start with the duck leg confit mezza: It’s drizzled with black currant relish and sage oil. Get the yogurt soup, and don’t let the name turn you off. This soup is savory and creamy with a slight touch of mint. Don’t miss the double-cut lamb rib chops and order them medium rare for the best flavor. They’re meaty and tender, and slightly charred with Persian spices.

Divan Restaurant & Bar
3125 Piedmont Road
Atlanta 30305
404.467.4297
divanatlanta.com

Zafron Restaurant

Zafron is helmed by Peter Teimori who worked with his grandfather in Persia. He’s a trained pastry chef, so one of his specialties is sangkak, a Persian bread that’s rolled, shaped and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Try it with one of the starter dips such as the mirza ghasemi, a chunky blend of roasted eggplant, tomato, onion and garlic. If you want kabobs, go for the koobideh or saffron chicken. Koobideh, which means minced meat, includes prime sirloin that’s beaten until tender then skewered and cooked over the fire.

Zafron Restaurant
236 Johnson Ferry Road
Sandy Springs 30328
404.255.7402
persianrestaurantsandysprings.com

BY: Sarah Gleim
Photo: Heidi Geldhauser