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“Nice family run Persian restaurant” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Istalif cuisine

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Istalif cuisine
112 w. San Francisco street suite 101, Santa Fe, NM 87501
505 982 0825
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Ranked #222 of 464 restaurants in Santa Fe
Cuisines: Middle Eastern, Persian
Restaurant details
Santa Fe
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
“Nice family run Persian restaurant”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

I wish I could say that I was blown away by my experience here but it was only ok. My wife and I went for lunch and found the surroundings very nicely decorated, immaculately clean, and the service was very nice although our lunch took quite awhile to prepare and we were the only ones present. We ordered ground beef kabobs and a lamb kabob sandwich. The beef kabobs, while flavorful were somewhat dry. It came with a wonderful fluffy basmati rice, nicely roasted peppers and tomatoes. My wife also thought her lamb was dry and there was very little of it. A couple of sauces provided were very tasty.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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24 reviews from our community

66% Recommend
    10
    6
    4
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Persian/Afghani food near the Plaza”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

This small restaurant is in the lower level of an arcade one block off the Plaza on San Francisco Street. The wonderful aroma has intrigued me during shopping nearby, and tonight I decided to try it. The service was excellent, the atmosphere simple but pleasant. The "slowness" mentioned in other reviews was due to the meals being individually prepared. The rice was not tasteless: in fact, it was two preparations, differently seasoned, served in layers. Very authentic. The food was simple and well cooked, and delicately seasoned. If you have been hitting the muy picante southwestern food and want something simpler, with gentle flavors like hummus, cucumber, mint and dairy, this is a pleasant change; however, if you crave FLAVOR and SPICE, or are a local whose tastebuds have burnt out on a lifelong diet of chile, you might not notice the subtle variations in flavor. About the price, with the Santa Fe "living wage" and rents near the plaza, you can't get comparable quality for less near down town; if you want budget meals, try an outlying area. While Istalif described itself as having Mediterranean food, don't go there expecting salads, fish and olives; but if pita, hummus, cucumber, dates, nuts, rice and well-seasoned shish kebabs sound good, this one's for you.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“Nothing special”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2013

I'm not really sure why the other reviews are raving about this restaurant. The service was slow (and there was only one other person besides me in the restaurant.) The food is severley overpriced for lunch and the food was only acceptable.

I ordered the chicken kabobs. They come with rice which was pretty but tasteless, one small tomato and one small piece of green chile. The chicken was well flavored but pretty dry. I paid $16 for what I would consider about an $8 meal. The hummus is chunky and had little flavor. The restaurant is attractive and the food smells good. I was excited to try this place but it left me disappointed.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 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.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Great Persian food in the heart of Santa Fe”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2013

This little gem is located right off the Plaza. The food was delicious- both appetizers and entrees and very affordable. Both my husband and I are vegetarians and were pleased with the options. The service was terrific. We can't wait to go back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Fe, NM
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Real Persian Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

A little bit off the well trodden path, but worth the effort to find it. A family business, serving genuine Persian cuisine. The service can be slow sometimes if the kitchen is backed up, but any wait is amply rewarded. Go when you are not hurried and relax in the pleasant environment and savor the aromas. A great change of pace when you have maxed out on New Mexican green chilis.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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