Darband Persian restaurant

Most Iranian residents in Budapest claim that Darband is the city's best Persian restaurant. This below-ground space just off Budapest’s downtown, whose owner and head chef are both Iranian, is lined with dining booths, each named after an old Tehran street. There are mosaic tile tables and photos of Iran inside the otherwise modest interior.

The two must-have starters at Darband are the kashke bademjan (€7), a warm, creamy eggplant spread topped with fried onions, kashk, and mint, and the zeytoon parvardeh meze (€3), which is an olive oil dip marinated in pomegranate molasses, walnuts, garlic, mint, and dried oregano leaves. Don't miss them. In Iranian fashion, sip a glass of doogh with your meal, a popular Iranian carbonated yogurt drink.

The main dishes comprise Iranian homestyle stews (khoresh) and kebabs. Of the khoresh, go for the ghormeh sabzi (€7), a classic Iranian herb stew often considered their national dish. A sauteed mixture of basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, mint, and beans is mixed together with pieces of stewed beef and served with basmati rice. Of the kebab, I enjoyed most the koobideh (€8), three long strips of juicy, flavorful mixed ground meat of beef and lamb paired with buttery rice and a grilled tomato. The rack of lamb (shishlik) was also excellent (€15), but the barg kebab, made with beef tenderloin, was a bit dry on my visit.