Although I've been to Kanalstraße many times to eat at QQ Sushi, I've somehow always missed the Persian Restaurant tucked next to QQ. Though the sign above their door is clear, the façade always seems lost among QQ's more ostentatious hanging lanterns, overflowing patio, potted plants, and Japanese paintings. In fact, I'd quite forgotten about the Persian Restaurant until a friend dined there a few weeks ago and raved about the food. And so when he chose to celebrate his birthday there, I couldn't refuse.
We were a rather large group on Friday night as we made our way down to Charlottenplatz after having cocktails during happy hour at Pier 51. My friend had said that the restaurant was tiny, but it wasn't until we entered and I saw the half dozen tables that I realized just how tiny it was. The owners, however, seemed unperturbed. They quickly greeted my friend by name (who to my knowledge they've only met once), and ushered our group to the back four tables on a raised platform. Despite the restaurant's small size, our seats were comfy, and the restaurant's deep red and gold interior made for a very warm, rich atmosphere.
Our two young waiters were quick to pass out menus and collect our drink orders. Despite our large, loud group, they were always calm, smiling, and eager to help us. Although some in our group speak German, most of us were from all over with English being the lingua franca. This was no problem for our waiters who were quick to switch to their fluent English as they helped us through the menu.
Seeing as we were a large group, the staff had prepared a tasting menu for us that night. We started with what our waitress told us translated to a "Welcome Platter" on which we found fresh cheese, onion, radish slices, mint, and parsley along with baskets of homemade flatbread. The ingredients were simple and fresh, and presented a nice amuse-bouche for our meal.
Next up came the assorted appetizer platter with four different spreads: cucumber and garlic yogurt, eggplant spread, roasted tomato spread, and an herbed yogurt spread. The eggplant and roasted tomato spreads were by far my favorites. The roasted tomato spread in particular had a rich, natural smokey flavor that I couldn't get enough of. It was so popular at our table, that our waiter was happy to bring around an extra serving of it, along with more bread, of course.
For our main course, we were each served a plate with fluffy rice, a small vinegar-dressed salad, and a scoop of sour cream. At the center of the table was placed a platter loaded with assorted kebabs. There were a couple of Chenjeh Kebabs (tender cooked beef), several Soltani Kebabs (formed lamb meat), and a couple of Djudjeh Kebabs (tender chicken and pork, I think). Along the side of the platter were also roasted tomatoes and green peppers. I quickly loaded up my plate with each kind of meat, enjoying the explosion of flavors as I moved from one to the next. It's hard to say which was my favorite, as each kind was cooked to a tender and juicy perfection, though the chicken and lamb are somewhere at the top of my list.
I didn't order dessert this time as I was quite full. We lingered a bit to talk with our friends and so I could finish my carafe of wine. This was my first introduction to Persian food, and I was super impressed by both the quality and elegant simplicity of the food. The staff was also so welcoming and helpful to our group. It all makes me wonder why we haven't been before. No matter what the reason, I know we'll be back and hope to make the Persian Restaurant one of our more regular dining choices.
The Persian Restaurant is located at Kanalstraße 10. It is just a 500 meter walk from the Charlottenplatz U-bahn station. They're open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5pm on weekdays and at 2 pm on weekends. As the restaurant is small, I suggest you call ahead for a reservation on the busy weekends so that you're sure to get a table.