Darband Persian restaurant

Iranian residents in Budapest would tell you that among the half a dozen options, Darband is the city's top Persian restaurant. The nondescript entrance and the modest below-ground space belie some of the wonderful dishes that come out of the restaurant's kitchen, whose head chef is an Iranian native.

The two must-have starters are the kashk e bademjan (€7), a warm, creamy eggplant spread, and the zeytoon parvardeh meze (€3), an olive oil dip marinated in pomegranate molasses and walnuts. The mains comprise Iranian homestyle stews (khoresh) and kebabs. The ghormeh sabzi (€7) stew is often considered to be the national dish of Iran. It consists of sauteed herbs mixed together with morsels of stewed beef. I was a bigger fan of Darband's kebabs, especially the koobideh (€9) — long strips of juicy, flavorful blend of ground beef and lamb paired with buttery rice and grilled tomatoes. In Iranian fashion, order a glass of doogh with your meal, a popular Iranian carbonated yogurt (alcohol isn't served).

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