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What to Eat During Nowruz in London

Everything from chello kebab to various khoreshts, here’s the best spots in the city for delivery and takeaway

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This year, Nowruz falls on 20 March. Celebrated by communities across Asia and the Balkans, it marks the beginning of spring, and the first day of the first month, Farvardin, in the Iranian calendar.

In addition to the “Haft-sin” spread, featuring seven symbolic items to the new year, the food is truly something to talk about. Traditionally, dishes include sabzi polo ba mahi, rice with herbs and fried fish; kookoo sabzi, heavily herbed whipped eggs cooked in a pan; reshteh polo, vine leaves stuffed with lamb to make dolmeh barg; and shirin polo, a sweet rice. However, all manner of classic Persian dishes can be enjoyed as part of the new year celebrations.

As is the case with most cultural festivities, a big part of this day is gathering round a huge feast of delicious Persian dishes. While London remains in lockdown, it might be harder to celebrate with friends and family but there’s no reason not to eat the best of London’s Persian cuisine at home.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Diba Restaurant (Richmond)

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7 Paradise Rd
Richmond TW9 1RX, UK

Diba is the perfect Persian spot for south west Londoners. A key dish when ordering is the lobiya polo gardan: the traditional rice and green beans dish but with lamb neck as opposed to the more commonly used leg or shoulder. The baghali polo — dill rice with broad beans — is another excellent choice. Order online.

2. Kateh

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5 Warwick Pl, Little Venice
London W9 2PX, UK

Using fresh and organic produce, standout dishes on the menu include the kabab torsh — chargrilled lamb in pomegranate juice — and the restaurant’s anar beech, a stew of pomegranate, walnuts, fresh herbs and chicken served with saffron rice. Contact Kateh for takeaway or delivery. If requesting delivery, the restaurant can organise a local minicab. Available on UberEats too

3. Berenjak

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27 Romilly St, West End
London W1D 5AL, UK

Berenjak is one of the more central spots to find Persian food. Focusing on small mazeh — taste in Farsi — style dishes and chargrilled kebabs, the jujeh kabab is one of the tastier dishes, available marinated in classic saffron or as a tond — hot in Farsi — version, with chilli, and somagh. Order takeaway and delivery directly from Berenjak’s website.

4. Hafez

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5 Hereford Rd, Bayswater
London W2 4AB, UK

A longstanding favourite among the Persian community in London, Hafez always has lengthy queues or booked up reservations when open for dining. When placing the takeaway order, make sure to try one of the khoreshts/stews, with the fesenjan — chicken in a pomegranate and walnut sauce — being the restaurant’s signature dish. Hafez offers collection only takeaway.

5. Kish Express (East Acton)

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17 Old Oak Common Ln, East Acton
London W3 7EL, UK

A little gem in Acton, Kish Express is a firm favourite among locals. It’s still soup season so definitely place an order for ash-e-reshteh, a traditional Persian soup with herbs, beans and noodles. For mains, the best bet this Nowruz is its mahi kebab, grilled sea bass with saffron rice. Available for collection and home delivery across selected postcodes.

6. Caspian Sandwich Bar

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147 Uxbridge Rd, West Ealing
London W13 9AU, UK

Ideal for those looking for a more casual way to celebrate Nowruz, this spot serves up Iranian street food via a series of speciality baguettes. The bandari — beef sausage — and olivieh — Persian potato salad — are excellent but the best ones are maghaz and zaban: seasoned lamb brain and beef tongue. The full menu can be ordered for takeaway; it is on Deliveroo but the specials menu is smaller.

7. Behesht Restaurant (Kensal Green)

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1082-1086, Harrow Rd, Kensal Green
London NW10 5NL, UK

Serving up authentic Persian cuisine, this restaurant’s menu features a variety of delicious dishes. Indulge for the occasion and order the chello kebab makhsous or ghafghazi — so there is a feast of either both lamb fillet and minced lamb or lamb fillet and chicken fillet. Order online for collection and delivery.

8. Lavash Persian Restaurant

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Monkville Parade, Finchley Rd
London NW11 0AL, UK

Another OG in Persian cuisine in London, Lavash is an excellent choice for the Iranian New Year meal. The best dishes to order are the tahchin, crispy rice cake with chicken which also includes aubergine, and the classic sabzi polo mahi, so the traditional herb rice with sea bass can be enjoyed for Nowruz. Collection only, order Lavash online

9. Abshar Restaurant (Croydon)

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65-67 S End
Croydon CR0 1BF, UK

A strong contender among Persian restaurants in London, Croydon residents are lucky to have Abshar. A must-order starter is the kashk-e-bademjan, fried aubergine with walnuts, and Persian kashk (whey). Mains-wise, don’t miss out on the joojeh kebab on the bone, one of the most flavoursome grills on the menu. Order via Just Eat.

10. Sadaf Restaurant (Garden)

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3-5 Campden Hill Rd, Kensington
London W8 7DU, UK

Most people order one of the kebab meals at this Iranian restaurant. Opt for the kebab soltani, to get a mix of koobideh (minced lamb) and barg (lamb fillet). Its lamb chops are also noteworthy. Order collection or delivery online

11. Mahdi Restaurant

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215-217 King St, Hammersmith
London W6 9JT, UK

Mahdi is one of the few places that serves soup jo — a tomato-based barley soup — so definitely order that to start. Its kebab grills are impressive in both taste and presentation, but it’s the zereshk polo and khoresh morgh — rice with barberries and chicken stew — that are ones to order. Order online for collection and delivery

12. Sufi Restaurant

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70 Askew Rd
London W12 9BJ, UK

Both the khoresh gheimeh, lamb stew with split peas, and the gormeh sabzi, lamb stew with herbs and kidney beans, at Sufi are really excellent. The gormeh sabzi comes as a main, as well as on top of tahdig, Persian crispy rice, in starter form — whichever is the preference. Order food for home delivery or collection

13. Eram Shishlik

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5-6, Culmington Parade, West Ealing
London W13 9BD, UK

A great Iranian spot in West Ealing, the meat is cooked particularly well at this restaurant. Considering it forms part of its namesake, the dish to get at this Persian palace is the shishlikeh shandiz or Persian style lamb chops). Super succulent and bursting with flavour, order double to ensure no one misses out — and consider the lamb neck, with its melting onions. Available for delivery and collection.

14. Alounak Restaurant Bayswater

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44 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5SH, UK

The chargrilled kebabs are excellent at this popular Persian eatery. But Alounak’s Saturday special is baghali polo, broad bean stew with dill rice and lamb shank, and as Nowruz falls on the weekend this year, it’s an excellent alternative to sabzi polo ba mahi, the herb rice with fish. Order food for collection only

15. Aquarium Persian Restaurant مطعم الایرانی‌

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4 The Broadway, Gunnersbury Ln, Acton
London W3 8HR, UK

Aquarium is the type of place where a full chello kebab dinner is ordered, mainly because it doesn’t serve any stews. Start with mast-o-musir, the famous yoghurt and dried wild shallot dip, with bread, and choose the mixed special for mains, featuring minced, fillet and chicken kebabs. Add some creamy doogh to drink to the order too. Available for takeaway and delivery via Just Eat

16. Kish Persian Restaurant

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7-9 Kilburn High Rd, Maida Vale
London NW6 5SD, UK

Kish is another hidden Persian gem. Salad olivieh is a nostalgic dish, and eating it in a restaurant is often anti-climatic — but Kish ticks the box. It also serves dizi or ab goosht, which translates as meat broth. This potato and lamb stew is a staple in Iran and the epitome of the country’s soul food. Available for both delivery and collection.

17. Pizza Parseh

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51 Denmark Hill, Camberwell
London SE5 8RS, UK
020 8062 8588

Don’t be fooled by the ‘Pizza’ in the shop sign, for this Persian takeaway spot is underrated. The best starters are the dolmeh (fitting for Nowruz) and tahdig with khoresht, the classic Persian crispy rice with a stew, while the parseh special — a mixed platter of kebabs — is the must-order.

Available for collection, with delivery via Just Eat or UberEats.

18. Apadana Persian Restaurant مطعم ابادانا الإيراني

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351 Kensington High St, Kensington
London W8 6NW, UK

One of London’s oldest Persian haunts, this restaurant is dedicated to serving up classic Iranian food. Its sea bass dish is served with saffron rice, rather than sabzi polo, but it’s still one to order if eating traditionally is the aim for Nowruz. Enjoy takeaway or delivery.

19. Colbeh Restaurant

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6 Porchester Pl, St George's Fields
London W2 2BS, UK
020 7706 4888

Enjoy Colbeh’s Persian cuisine at home for the new year. The chargrilled kebabs are the menu highlight here, with the best dish being the chelo kabab koobideh or minced lamb. All are good but koobideh is a classic and particularly full of flavour at Colbeh. Order takeaway or delivery.

20. Ariana Restaurant

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2 Midlothian Rd, Mile End
London E3 4SE, UK

Afghani restaurant Ariana also serves lots of classic Persian dishes for its Iranian customers. Start the meal with kuku-e-sabzi, the afore-mentioned green herbed eggs, and enjoy ghemeh badenjan, a lamb and aubergine stew with split peas for the main course. Order online from Ariana’s website.

21. Maryam's Kitchen

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82 St Mary's Pl, Ealing
London W5 5EX, UK

Maryam Shams’ restaurant in Ealing has been a star through lockdown, closing for one week in lockdown only to provide free school meals to local children. Its Nowruz menu is yet to be announced, but expect the ceremonial dishes for which it is famous. Weekly lunchtime boxes are also available on Wednesdays and Saturdays for takeaway — call or text Maryam on 07868722741 to order locally, or send a DM.

1. Diba Restaurant (Richmond)

7 Paradise Rd, Richmond TW9 1RX, UK

Diba is the perfect Persian spot for south west Londoners. A key dish when ordering is the lobiya polo gardan: the traditional rice and green beans dish but with lamb neck as opposed to the more commonly used leg or shoulder. The baghali polo — dill rice with broad beans — is another excellent choice. Order online.

7 Paradise Rd
Richmond TW9 1RX, UK

2. Kateh

5 Warwick Pl, Little Venice, London W9 2PX, UK

Using fresh and organic produce, standout dishes on the menu include the kabab torsh — chargrilled lamb in pomegranate juice — and the restaurant’s anar beech, a stew of pomegranate, walnuts, fresh herbs and chicken served with saffron rice. Contact Kateh for takeaway or delivery. If requesting delivery, the restaurant can organise a local minicab. Available on UberEats too

5 Warwick Pl, Little Venice
London W9 2PX, UK

3. Berenjak

27 Romilly St, West End, London W1D 5AL, UK

Berenjak is one of the more central spots to find Persian food. Focusing on small mazeh — taste in Farsi — style dishes and chargrilled kebabs, the jujeh kabab is one of the tastier dishes, available marinated in classic saffron or as a tond — hot in Farsi — version, with chilli, and somagh. Order takeaway and delivery directly from Berenjak’s website.

27 Romilly St, West End
London W1D 5AL, UK

4. Hafez

5 Hereford Rd, Bayswater, London W2 4AB, UK

A longstanding favourite among the Persian community in London, Hafez always has lengthy queues or booked up reservations when open for dining. When placing the takeaway order, make sure to try one of the khoreshts/stews, with the fesenjan — chicken in a pomegranate and walnut sauce — being the restaurant’s signature dish. Hafez offers collection only takeaway.

5 Hereford Rd, Bayswater
London W2 4AB, UK

5. Kish Express (East Acton)

17 Old Oak Common Ln, East Acton, London W3 7EL, UK

A little gem in Acton, Kish Express is a firm favourite among locals. It’s still soup season so definitely place an order for ash-e-reshteh, a traditional Persian soup with herbs, beans and noodles. For mains, the best bet this Nowruz is its mahi kebab, grilled sea bass with saffron rice. Available for collection and home delivery across selected postcodes.

17 Old Oak Common Ln, East Acton
London W3 7EL, UK

6. Caspian Sandwich Bar

147 Uxbridge Rd, West Ealing, London W13 9AU, UK

Ideal for those looking for a more casual way to celebrate Nowruz, this spot serves up Iranian street food via a series of speciality baguettes. The bandari — beef sausage — and olivieh — Persian potato salad — are excellent but the best ones are maghaz and zaban: seasoned lamb brain and beef tongue. The full menu can be ordered for takeaway; it is on Deliveroo but the specials menu is smaller.

147 Uxbridge Rd, West Ealing
London W13 9AU, UK

7. Behesht Restaurant (Kensal Green)

1082-1086, Harrow Rd, Kensal Green, London NW10 5NL, UK

Serving up authentic Persian cuisine, this restaurant’s menu features a variety of delicious dishes. Indulge for the occasion and order the chello kebab makhsous or ghafghazi — so there is a feast of either both lamb fillet and minced lamb or lamb fillet and chicken fillet. Order online for collection and delivery.

1082-1086, Harrow Rd, Kensal Green
London NW10 5NL, UK

8. Lavash Persian Restaurant

Monkville Parade, Finchley Rd, London NW11 0AL, UK

Another OG in Persian cuisine in London, Lavash is an excellent choice for the Iranian New Year meal. The best dishes to order are the tahchin, crispy rice cake with chicken which also includes aubergine, and the classic sabzi polo mahi, so the traditional herb rice with sea bass can be enjoyed for Nowruz. Collection only, order Lavash online

Monkville Parade, Finchley Rd
London NW11 0AL, UK

9. Abshar Restaurant (Croydon)

65-67 S End, Croydon CR0 1BF, UK

A strong contender among Persian restaurants in London, Croydon residents are lucky to have Abshar. A must-order starter is the kashk-e-bademjan, fried aubergine with walnuts, and Persian kashk (whey). Mains-wise, don’t miss out on the joojeh kebab on the bone, one of the most flavoursome grills on the menu. Order via Just Eat.

65-67 S End
Croydon CR0 1BF, UK

10. Sadaf Restaurant (Garden)

3-5 Campden Hill Rd, Kensington, London W8 7DU, UK

Most people order one of the kebab meals at this Iranian restaurant. Opt for the kebab soltani, to get a mix of koobideh (minced lamb) and barg (lamb fillet). Its lamb chops are also noteworthy. Order collection or delivery online

3-5 Campden Hill Rd, Kensington
London W8 7DU, UK

11. Mahdi Restaurant

215-217 King St, Hammersmith, London W6 9JT, UK

Mahdi is one of the few places that serves soup jo — a tomato-based barley soup — so definitely order that to start. Its kebab grills are impressive in both taste and presentation, but it’s the zereshk polo and khoresh morgh — rice with barberries and chicken stew — that are ones to order. Order online for collection and delivery

215-217 King St, Hammersmith
London W6 9JT, UK

12. Sufi Restaurant

70 Askew Rd, London W12 9BJ, UK

Both the khoresh gheimeh, lamb stew with split peas, and the gormeh sabzi, lamb stew with herbs and kidney beans, at Sufi are really excellent. The gormeh sabzi comes as a main, as well as on top of tahdig, Persian crispy rice, in starter form — whichever is the preference. Order food for home delivery or collection

70 Askew Rd
London W12 9BJ, UK

13. Eram Shishlik

5-6, Culmington Parade, West Ealing, London W13 9BD, UK

A great Iranian spot in West Ealing, the meat is cooked particularly well at this restaurant. Considering it forms part of its namesake, the dish to get at this Persian palace is the shishlikeh shandiz or Persian style lamb chops). Super succulent and bursting with flavour, order double to ensure no one misses out — and consider the lamb neck, with its melting onions. Available for delivery and collection.

5-6, Culmington Parade, West Ealing
London W13 9BD, UK

14. Alounak Restaurant Bayswater

44 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH, UK

The chargrilled kebabs are excellent at this popular Persian eatery. But Alounak’s Saturday special is baghali polo, broad bean stew with dill rice and lamb shank, and as Nowruz falls on the weekend this year, it’s an excellent alternative to sabzi polo ba mahi, the herb rice with fish. Order food for collection only

44 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5SH, UK

15. Aquarium Persian Restaurant مطعم الایرانی‌

4 The Broadway, Gunnersbury Ln, Acton, London W3 8HR, UK

Aquarium is the type of place where a full chello kebab dinner is ordered, mainly because it doesn’t serve any stews. Start with mast-o-musir, the famous yoghurt and dried wild shallot dip, with bread, and choose the mixed special for mains, featuring minced, fillet and chicken kebabs. Add some creamy doogh to drink to the order too. Available for takeaway and delivery via Just Eat

4 The Broadway, Gunnersbury Ln, Acton
London W3 8HR, UK

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16. Kish Persian Restaurant

7-9 Kilburn High Rd, Maida Vale, London NW6 5SD, UK

Kish is another hidden Persian gem. Salad olivieh is a nostalgic dish, and eating it in a restaurant is often anti-climatic — but Kish ticks the box. It also serves dizi or ab goosht, which translates as meat broth. This potato and lamb stew is a staple in Iran and the epitome of the country’s soul food. Available for both delivery and collection.

7-9 Kilburn High Rd, Maida Vale
London NW6 5SD, UK

17. Pizza Parseh

51 Denmark Hill, Camberwell, London SE5 8RS, UK

Don’t be fooled by the ‘Pizza’ in the shop sign, for this Persian takeaway spot is underrated. The best starters are the dolmeh (fitting for Nowruz) and tahdig with khoresht, the classic Persian crispy rice with a stew, while the parseh special — a mixed platter of kebabs — is the must-order.

Available for collection, with delivery via Just Eat or UberEats.

51 Denmark Hill, Camberwell
London SE5 8RS, UK

18. Apadana Persian Restaurant مطعم ابادانا الإيراني

351 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6NW, UK

One of London’s oldest Persian haunts, this restaurant is dedicated to serving up classic Iranian food. Its sea bass dish is served with saffron rice, rather than sabzi polo, but it’s still one to order if eating traditionally is the aim for Nowruz. Enjoy takeaway or delivery.

351 Kensington High St, Kensington
London W8 6NW, UK

19. Colbeh Restaurant

6 Porchester Pl, St George's Fields, London W2 2BS, UK

Enjoy Colbeh’s Persian cuisine at home for the new year. The chargrilled kebabs are the menu highlight here, with the best dish being the chelo kabab koobideh or minced lamb. All are good but koobideh is a classic and particularly full of flavour at Colbeh. Order takeaway or delivery.

6 Porchester Pl, St George's Fields
London W2 2BS, UK

20. Ariana Restaurant

2 Midlothian Rd, Mile End, London E3 4SE, UK

Afghani restaurant Ariana also serves lots of classic Persian dishes for its Iranian customers. Start the meal with kuku-e-sabzi, the afore-mentioned green herbed eggs, and enjoy ghemeh badenjan, a lamb and aubergine stew with split peas for the main course. Order online from Ariana’s website.

2 Midlothian Rd, Mile End
London E3 4SE, UK

21. Maryam's Kitchen

82 St Mary's Pl, Ealing, London W5 5EX, UK

Maryam Shams’ restaurant in Ealing has been a star through lockdown, closing for one week in lockdown only to provide free school meals to local children. Its Nowruz menu is yet to be announced, but expect the ceremonial dishes for which it is famous. Weekly lunchtime boxes are also available on Wednesdays and Saturdays for takeaway — call or text Maryam on 07868722741 to order locally, or send a DM.

82 St Mary's Pl, Ealing
London W5 5EX, UK

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