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“Delicious!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Jasmine, Taste of Persia

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Jasmine, Taste of Persia
580 Mt Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 923-2999
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Ranked #37 of 101 Restaurants in Watertown
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Middle Eastern, Persian
Restaurant details
Tampa, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Delicious!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014 via mobile

Whenever in Watertown, I always look for new places to eat and jasmine did not fail! Wonderful lunch special of lamb kabob and dolmas was a delicious and filling treat! Very homey feel and quick service. A great stop for lunch if you are looking for authentic Persian!

Visited July 2014
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10 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    2
    4
    2
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    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Persian hit or miss”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

Our food was a take out order. Walked in early for a Persian (IRANIAN) place. It's always hit or miss in these places more often miss or hit. Our ground beef kebabs, whole beef kebabs, and chicken kebabs were extremely dry and nearly inedible. As if they were "left over" and reheated or tossed in a microwave oven. The rice was under cooked and hard on the inside of the grains making it chewy. Cost $60.00 for 4 orders. What a disappointment.

The experience also has to do with the customers being from Iran or not. Once a restaurant owner told me that they don't like to have Iranian customers because they always complain that the rice isn't good enough or the kebab over cooked other dishes bland, not like at home. They prefer "American" customers who are less likely to complain.

You see for an Iranian rice is a nearly sacred food to be carefully prepared so the grains of rice basmati or persian rice separate from each other and are neither to "al dente" or too soft. Easy to do if you time your cooking! For a plain rice without fixings steamed rice is the standard, oven-baked the traditional, and simply boiled in water the quick way. A variety of things can be added, meats, vegetables, herbs and saffron. By the way I don't think most restaurants use real saffron as it too expensive so they make a yellow concoction with some other spice to color the rice yellow. Lots of Persian places usually get the cooked rice quality wrong. I don't know why.

The kebabs should be moist on the inside even after a 5 minute walk with take out! Again a question of using a timer since the meat is always done the same way on the same flame grill. Perhaps the cooks and owners should taste their own food!

Many non- Iranians have lower standards perhaps or just don't know how good the food can really be, or may just be overwhelmed by a perceived "exoticness" of the establishment, the culture, the mysterious folks behind the counter who presumably have a lot of experience preparing food from an ancient land (in my case neither the waitress or cook were from Iran or even the Middle East).

So there are many excuses and myths for bad Persian restaurants:
1. Don't go in too early or they will reheat old meat and rice.
2. Go on a weekend, especially Saturday night, because they are cooking fresh things for a lot of customers.
3. Don't go on a weekend because they are serving lots of customers and the kitchen is under pressure and the service is bad.
4. Often the cooks are not Persian and don't know what they are doing.
5. Don't go in too late because they will reheat old meat and rice.

I recommend that before opening a Perian Iranian restaurant the perspective owner should at least read a couple of cookbooks, especially NEW FOOD OF LIFE, Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, by Najmieh Batmanglij. One of many excellent books on Persian (IRANIAN) national and regional food!

One would think that someone wanting to serve the food of a specific culture to others would be proud to do so and do everything possible to make the food palatable and authentic and delicious so that customers would be happy and want to write positive reviews! Sadly some restaurants just don't see to care about making good food all of the time, not some of the time.

By the way a few days later we went to another Persian place near Watertown Square and had a pretty good "chelo-kebab" (rice with kebab). The meat was perfect! The rice, well, a little to "al dente" for my taste. It was Saturday night around 7:00!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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East Sandwich
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Good if you've had Persian before”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

We generally like Persian, and especially lamb dishes which my daughter and I ordered. Kabobs and shanks worked for us. The seasoning of saffron worked very well for us as we don’t know how to use this spice at home. The rice was perfect. My wife ordered the chicken kabob and was very pleased. We all had to use doggie bags because the portions were so bib.

They didn’t serve alcohol (halal?), but allowed us to brown bag wine.

The place is rather small, and to compound things, wait staff broke glasses and such all around us while cleaning up a table right next to us. What a mess! To make things right after this they comped us baklava with our after dinner coffee. This was a very nice and unanticipated gesture.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Good for takeout”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

This place is very small, and the atmosphere is less than desirable, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for a sit-down dining experience, but my coworkers and I are big fans of their take-out lunch specials. The price is reasonable, and your order comes with yummy hummus, cucumber-tomato salad, rice and warm pita bread. They're quick too - by the time I call in the order and walk there, it's ready. Great chicken shawarma and kebab!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watertown, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
91 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Worth the visit; a family atmosphere with solid Persian food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013 via mobile

I don't know why other reviewers can be so negative. This is a nice little spot for casual dining, take out, or lunch. Sure it is not a five star restaurant with marble floors, but it gets the job done and I like it.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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