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, a warm, creamy eggplant spread, and the zeytoon parvardeh meze, an olive oil dip marinated in pomegranate molasses and walnuts. The mains comprise Iranian homestyle stews (khoresh) and kebabs. The ghormeh sabzi, stew often considered to be the national dish of Iran, comprises sauteed herbs mixed with morsels of stewed beef. I was a bigger fan of Darband's kebabs, especially the koobideh long strips of a juicy, flavorful blend of ground beef and lamb paired with buttery rice and grilled tomatoes. In Iranian fashion, pair the dishes with a glass of doogh, a popular carbonated yogurt (alcohol isn't served).

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