Hungry Fifi

Culinary Cool: The Hipster Renaissance of Iranian Restaurants

by Fifi


Iranian cuisine is not merely enjoying a moment; it's spearheading a renaissance. Traditionally, Persian restaurants in the diaspora have typically offered classic dishes like rice and kebabs, with a modest selection of stews such as Khoresh Bademjan, Khoresh Gheimeh, Ghormeh Sabzi, and occasionally, a Sabzi Polo Mahi or Fesenjan thrown in. The interiors often echoed an ultra-Persian ambience, adorned with Qajar-style paintings and rustic overhead lighting, cultivating a somewhat old-school aesthetic.

However, the last few years have marked a transformative era for Iranian dining. In London, the culinary scene has been revitalised with the opening of Berenjak in 2018. Headed by Chef Kian Samyani, this sleek eatery in Soho, the heart of London’s cool dining scene, was quick to win a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Two more openings of Berenjak have been quick to follow, in Borough and as far as Dubai, and a new pop-up at Soho Farmhouse has cemented the brand’s cool status.

Berenjak (photo credit @berenjaklondon)

At the same time, Chef Yuma Hashemi, formerly known as The Drunken Butler, has been creating waves with his contemporary interpretations of Persian food. His restaurant Tehran-Berlin (named after his place of birth and where he moved to), also a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient, offers diners a surprise menu on their visit. Both Chef Kian and Chef Yuma are popularising Persian cuisine among non-Iranians in modern and individualistic ways.

Tehran-Berlin (photo credit

Across the Atlantic, cities like New York and Los Angeles have seen similar trends with establishments like Eyval and Sofreh in Brooklyn captivating local diners with their revitalised interiors, contemporary styles, and, of course, their innovative takes on Persian dishes.

This renaissance isn't limited to traditional dining establishments. Iranian bakeries are expanding their reach with Sahar Shomali’s Kouzeh Bakery in Los Angeles and the Iranian-inspired BiBi Bakery in New York. Food trucks like Tahdig Tacos in San Diego and Mexican-Iranian restaurant Movida in San Francisco and Esme in Los Angeles are creating exciting fusion experiences, while supper clubs such as Persia on a Plate in Budapest are also inviting diners to try Iranian foods in new settings. These gatherings are not just about food; they're about an experience, blending Iranian culinary traditions with customary hospitality, flavours, and contemporary ambiances.

Eyval (photo credit @eyval_brooklyn)

It won’t be long before this renaissance also hits the alcohol scene, with Zahra Tabatabai’s Back Home Beer planning to open a New York brewery after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Back Home crafts beers using flavours and recipes from her family home in Shiraz and has been selling out throughout the East Coast. Innovative cross-cultural culinary experiments are not just for food, but also for alcohol.

Moi, doing a Back Home Beer tasting with my sous chef

Why are we witnessing this renaissance in Iranian restaurants, cafés, and eateries? Where once Iranian immigrants were trying to hold onto home and recreating it abroad, four decades after the Iranian Revolution, the diaspora's youth are celebrating their heritage while imprinting it with a distinct, millennial twist. And indeed, it is a phenomenon worth celebrating.

Places to try (not in an particular order):

United Kingdom



Sabrina Ghayour (supper clubs)

Bita Fallah (supper clubs)

United States





Bibi Bakery

Kouzeh Bakery


Homa (pop ups)


Tahdig Tacos (food truck)


Movida Lounge


Labnoon (events)


Dr & Dr


Persia on a Plate (supper clubs)

Email me at to be added!

Join the Conversation


One comment on “Culinary Cool: The Hipster Renaissance of Iranian Restaurants”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might a also like

Hungry Fifi
Hungry Fifi



Copyright © 2024 HungryFifi. All Rights Reserved