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“Nothing special”
Review of Istalif cuisine - CLOSED

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Istalif cuisine
Cuisines: Middle Eastern, Persian
Restaurant details
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.

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2  Thank Terri R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (25)
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14 - 18 of 25 reviews

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.

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8  Thank Earthprints
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

10  Thank Gene A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2013

I've eaten at Persian restaurants almost a hundred times since I go to LA and Little Iran a lot. A Syrian rug dealer in a shop Santa Fe mentioned Istalif to me and said he eats there a lot. I was spoiled by having eaten so well in LA but I ended up giving Istalif a shot. My wife and I went in and were startled to taste exquisitely prepared food. The Kashk (eggplant) appetizer was first-rate. So was the Joojeh Kabab (Cornish Game Hen). The lamb was excellent (but I would have liked a little more meat). I later learned that the meat is all organic. Maybe that's why the portions aren't as huge as in LA (where there is so much competition the portions have to be enormous to attract customers. The 2 sisters who run Istalif are Iranians from Kurdistan. The sister who does the cooking had a restaurant in Albuquerque for years. Try it. You won't be disappointed.

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10  Thank MikeGillespie93108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

Istalif is located in the heart of Santa Fe on San Francisco Street, between the Lensic Theatre and the Plaza. While shish kabobs are featured, Istalif offers a variety of other dishes, including many vegetarian entrees, appetizers and soups. We ate there before a Lensic author series talk. Service was excellent, and the food is exceptional - so different from anything else in Santa Fe - wonderful tastes and seasonings. The shish kabobs are marinated in something really tasty, served with sauce. I had a special soup with three kinds of beans and noodles and whey, which was delicious. Our appetizer was a roasted eggplant kind of sauce with pita bread, also interestingly flavored and delicious. And we topped it off with saffron, pistachio and rosewater Persian ice cream. Special dishes are served on the weekends, and we'll be back to try those. The space has lots of embroidered hangings and is very pleasant. Istalif is already on the list of our favorite places to eat in Santa Fe.

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10  Thank alcaldeellen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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