"Are you related to the owner?" I asked our gracious server as she cleared our table at the end of our dinner.
"No", she said wistfully. "I am related to the food."
That helped put in context her passion for the food and her enthusiastic recommendations for us on a night when we were the only customers in Persia Restaurant during the ninety minutes during which we enjoyed a leisurely dinner there. We were surprised that this place didn't have a line of people waiting for tables, the food is so extraordinary and both the service and small dining room so charming.
Don't let the setting in an aging strip mall or the "all you can eat lunch buffet" sign outside discourage you. Because inside the doors of this restaurant you'll find fabulous food at fair prices, gracious service, a jewel-box intimate interior and background music perfectly paired to the setting.
This was one of the most enchanting dining experiences of recent memory. It was certainly one of the best meals of a recent month long vacation. In part that was because our server, the wonderful woman mentioned above, made it so through her recommendations and service.
The menu is authentic for foods of Iran and some items, like Fesenjan which is one of our favorite dishes, are not easily found elsewhere.
We started with the appetizer combination so we could try several of them. Although if we lived close enough to be regulars here, and we would be, we'd try them one at a time to allow enough appetite to try many other things on the menu too. The appetizer combination included among four excellent dishes, tahini rich hummous, mast-o-klar (yogurt, cucumbers and dry mint), the best parsley centric tabouleh we have ever had, and an excellent traditional Persian potato salad which was a dish new to us. (Note: There is a little container of sumac on every table and a little of this sprinkled on the hummous and potato salad both is a wonderful add.)
My husband had Fesenjan, made with chicken here although we have also had it made with lamb. A pomegranate, walnut braising sauce with shredded chicken and served with saffron basmati, it was lick the plate good but for the fact that we were both so full from the appetizer course.
The Albaloo Polo, a traditional sour cherry rice, that came with my dinner was outstanding. I am on the hunt for a recipe to try to recreate it at home given the roughly twelve hour drive from my front door to the restaurant makes it impossible for me to go in again and again, as I would like to, to eat this dish there.
A TIP: try the pomegranate wine! It comes both semi sweet and dry. I ordered a glass of the dry wine but our server encouraged me to taste both types first and brought me sample pours. She said her favorite way to enjoy this wine was blending the two together. I took her advice and had her blend it for me. It was wonderful, the restaurant imports it and I have never seen it anywhere else.
ANOTHER TIP: We hear they have belly dancing on Saturday nights, so whether that is a good thing or bad thing in your perspective as dinner entertainment, I pass that along so you can plan accordingly.
We had hoped to make our way back to Persia on the way home on the tail end of our vacation, but were unable to fit in a second stop here. If you live in the area or plan to visit Santa Clarita soon, we highly recommend Persia restaurant!
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