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November 2001

Ahs of Iran

Exclamation points for two of Munich’s best Persian eateries

Dachauerstrasse 19 Tel. (089) 54 82 88 27 Open Mon.- Fri. 11:30 pm–11 pm, Kitchen open until 10 pm
The facade of Pars, a Persian restaurant, gives no indication that you will enjoy a delightful Middle Eastern meal here. Once through the front door, though, diners enter another world. A winding staircase leads down to a well-lit dining room adorned with Oriental lanterns and bronze samovars. Booths, which seat up to eight people, feature embroidered seats and glazed ceramic tilework on the tabletops. Persian qulim rugs cover the floor, various Middle Eastern instruments dot the stucco walls—all this, set against a background of traditional music, calls to mind an Isfahani tea room. Pars offers a variety of meals, all served in generous portions. Appetizers (DM 6–10.90) include Halimbademdjan (DM 8.90), a delicious paste of fried eggplant and white beans in a thick and pungent saffron and sour cream sauce and Masto-Khiar (DM 6.90), a cucumber and yogurt herb dip. All appetizers are served with oven-fresh Barbari, chewy Iranian yeast bread. Be sure to ask for the house-pickled garlic, aged nine years, which is not on the menu and must be ordered separately. Diners less familiar with Persian cuisine may choose to stick with kababs—Chelo Kubideh (DM 16.90), Chelo Barg (DM 21.90) or Djudje Kabab (DM 23.90)—all served on heaping mounds of basmati-saffron rice. Yet Pars’ menu also offers a generous array of typical, home-cooked meals, most of which are stew-like dishes of lamb and vegetables. The Gheyme-Bademdjan (DM 24.90) is a lively dish made from leg of lamb and sauteed eggplant in a tomato-based sauce of yellow split-peas and dried limes. Khoreschte Fessendjun (DM 27.90) is a savory, slow-roasted duck in a tart walnut and pomegranate sauce. For those watching their wallets, Pars offers daily take-out specials for just DM 13. These include such house specialities as Baghalipolo ba Mahitsche, a leg of lamb served au jus over basmati-dill-saffron rice and fava beans, and Sereschkpolo ba Morgh, a lighter meal of chicken, saffron rice and sour barberries. In the unlikely event that you still have room for dessert, try the Baghlava (DM 6.90) —moister and sweeter than its Greek counterpart. These flaky puff pastry squares are filled with pistachios and honey syrup, and topped with a dollop of fresh cream. But, dessert or no, do order tea. It is an essential finish to any Persian meal and, at Pars, is served in customary fashion, dark and bitter, in cups perched on antique Iranian saucers.

Pettenkoferstrasse 1 Tel. (089) 54 54 19 54 Open daily, 11:00 am-11:00 pm Reservations advisable At Karawanserei, a Persian atmosphere is evoked through desert murals, red-cushioned booths lined with mirrored and sequined pillows, and strains of Persian pop music. The brightly lit restaurant attracts a diverse crowd. Beyond the main seating area, there is a large party room hidden in the back; making reservations for either section would be prudent. In summer, a small back garden provides a serene setting for outdoor parties. With many appetizers to choose from, and in view of the smaller entrée portions, it is advisable to order a pish ghaza—a platter for two or three diners (DM 24.50) to share. This is a selection of some of the most popular vegetarian starters, such as borani (homemade yoghurt with fresh spinach) and kaschk-e badenjan (fried eggplant dip with whey and minced garlic). All appetizers are served with Barbari. For a main meal, choose between a typical selection of kababs (DM 14.90-32.50, served with saffron rice and roasted tomatoes), a few fish and vegetarian dishes (the mirza ghassemi, DM 14.90, roasted and smashed eggplant with garlic, tomato, and egg, is particularly tasty). Meals of the day range from sabzi-polo ba mahi (DM 15.90), a fresh filet of fish served over a bed of rice and herbs, to chelo-khoresh-e ghormeh sabzi (DM 15.90), boiled lamb meat in a thick herb sauce and kidney beans. Beware, however, that Karawanserei often runs out of specials as the evening progresses. For dessert, try the delicate scholezard (DM 6.90), a sweet rice pudding with saffron and rose water, or the paludeh shirazi (DM 6.90), a refreshing Persian “spaghetti ice” with rose water and fruit syrup—a perfect accompaniment to the traditional cup of piping hot tea.