Tehran is a lively metropolis with many historic streets which intertwines throughout this busy, massive capital. It’s no secret that the rich culture and history of Iran has lead to producing a rich, hearty, flavorful cuisine, both ideal for the savory and sweet palettes, that people from all over the world enjoys. Tehran is no exception. Here are 3 best restaurants in Tehran you must try plus some things to do and see while visiting:
Cafe Ghooli is truly a unique restaurant to experience in Tehran, opened just 3 years ago. Located in Central Iran, ran by an incredibly energetic Zoroastrian couple. You feel like you’ve stepped into a mini world within Tehran, which is often the case with many other restaurants and cafes. The restaurant is tiny, with the capacity to seat only 10-15 guests. The kitchen is just steps away from the dining tables, open to guests to observe as the husband and wife team chats up a storm while cooking and serving. Cafe Ghooli is a casual family and friends atmosphere. It feels as if you’re visiting that cool uncle’s house that you always get excited to see. Traditional and hip Iranian music plays while perfectly common for dancing and singing to break out as well.
The meaning of “Ghooli” translates in Farsi to a “kind giant”, which the owner will gladly tell you the animated story of while you enjoy your meal. He says that we don’t have demons, just giants. That people just have bad behavior or manners but can be fixed.
The menu is seasonal and there is no real way to explain the dishes. While influenced by Iranian and traditional Zoroastrian cuisine, the dishes (appetizers, main, desserts) are created from the figment of the owner’s imagination.
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Moslem is located in a cafeteria setting within the Grand Bazaar of Tehran. With it’s popularity among locals: the business workers near by, surrounding shop owners and those going about their daily shopping, Moslem is always happening and busy. Expect a 15-30 minute wait in line as you salivate over the casual menu. Serving up classic Iranian dishes such as Chicken Kebabs, Koobideh, Soups and Salads, one can’t go wrong with anything ordered off the menu. Besides the food, the experience of visiting this cafe/restaurant in Tehran is an experience in itself. With high, airy ceilings, fresh plants all around, the restaurant sits on 2 stories.
Order: “Joojeh Ba Ostekhoon” – Chicken with Bones
“Tah Chin Morgh” – Crispy Persian Saffron Rice stuffed with Chicken. Often topped with sliced Pistachios and Pomegranate. There are also many pre-packaged sides to add to your meal such as the eggplant dip.
Address: تهران منطقه ۱۲ No. 15، Khordad St, Iran (inside the Grand Bazaar of Tehran)
The words “Haft Khan” translates to “Seven Labors of Rostam”, which are a series of acts carried out by Shahnameh’s heroes. “Khan” also means table of food in ancient Persian texts. Compared to the 2 other best restaurants in Tehran mentioned above, Haft Khan is more of a classic, traditional Iranian restaurant. Haft Khan is great for a quieter dinner after a day of sight seeing.
Order: Sheep Koobideh – the most tender meat raised in Mashad, Iran’s holiest Muslim site in the northeast
Chicken Kebab and “Tahchin” – Crispy Rice with Saffron, Yogurt, Egg & Meat
Address: Tehran Province, Tehran, Somayyeh St, Iran
Tehran Travel Guide: Things to Do
- National Museum: Iran’s most significant museum showcases the country’s rich history. This is a great place to go at the start and/or the end of your trip. We visited towards the end of our trip which gave a bigger picture into everything we learned: the history, the UNESCO sites, culture, ethnicities, religion and landscape of Iran in a nutshell.
- Learn more on Iran Culture Facts: https://www.bohemianvagabond.com/iran-culture-facts
- Walk around and relax in Shahr Park: This was one of the highlights of my time in Tehran. Observing old men relaxing on park benches, all ages bicycling, kids and teens rollerblading around the park fountain and students picnic on the grass. These visuals of Tehran is one you’ll barely find in the western media. If you have time, I recommend packing a picnic and relaxing here.
Palaces in Tehran:
- Golestan Palace: Royal Complex of Qajar Dynasty (the only Iran UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tehran)
- Palace of Shah: The palace of Shah is like a small enclosed city in itself, located in the wealthier suberb of Tehran in the north. The drive here takes you away from the massive traffic of Tehran into more green neighborhoods and tranquility. Shah’s palace gives you insight into the former ruler of Iran prior to the revolution of 1979. It is quite a contrast to the rule of the Ayatalloh(s) in that you get a glimpse into the much more liberal, western lifestyle the Shah and his Wife lived. Photos, furniture, clothing reveals all of this.
- Stop in Cafe Karzin while there for a drink
- Saad Abad Palace: Royal Summer Residence of Pahlavi Dynasty
- Treasury of National Jewels: the finest collection of astonishing royal jewelry in Iran’s history
How to Get Around Tehran:
American, Canadian and UK citizens traveling to Iran will need to hire a licensed tour company which includes a guide and driver. For all other citizens, I would recommend renting a car to explore all of Iran. But while in Tehran (or in any busy cities), one can easily take inexpensive taxis as well as subways to get around. Ask your hotel accommodation what the going rate of taxi should be. Or ask them to call you a taxi to avoid being ripped off.
Traveling to Tehran as an American Tourist. Our 4th Iran Travel Video:
Watch more of our Travel Show in Iran here.
Everything you need to know about an American travelling in Iran.