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Papa's Persian Restaraunt in Berkeley - report

autumn | Oct 14, 2002 01:34 PM

In a fit of hunger and not knowing where else I could eat in the area (I don't spend much time in the east bay, so I don't know what's around there), I noticed this little Persian place and stopped. It was around 3pm on Sunday, not a really easy time to find decent food. It was fairly empty, as you'd expect for the timing.

The atmosphere was nice - calm without being overly sedate. I was pleased to see that the menus were both in English and Arabic writing (I'll assume Farsi). The selection on the menus has a few of the standard favorites, but also has a lot more in the way of authentic dishes than I've seen at other Persian places. In particular, the appetizer list was completly free of the usual "hummus and falafel" standards. Unfortunately, I was trying to keep it low cost and knew the entrees would be big, so I didn't end up ordering any of them. Still, a very interesting menu.

While we were waiting for our entrees, they served fresh pita bread. It was very good, but the curious thing is that they served it with butter. It wasn't bad, but I tend to expect oil and spices or hummus or yogurt sauce or something. The iced teas myself and my companion got were very good Persian teas - you could really taste the spices, and it was almost naturally sweet.

Our entrees were kabobs - mine was a lamb and kufta (ground beef and spices) combination, his was a chicken and kufta combination. They came with salad and saffron rice. The salad was a fairly typical iceburg lettuce salad, but it was fresh and the dressing was very nice (some sort of yogurt and spices thing). The rice was very good - you could really taste the saffron, and it was well-textured and not too greasy or dry. My lamb was a little tough and dry, but I really loved the kufta - it was succulent and very tasty. I didn't sample the chicken, but my companion seemed pleased with it. He felt the kufta was too greasy, so while I loved it, this may be a matter of personal taste.

We needed to head out, so we didn't sample dessert or coffee.

Still, pricewise it was very reasonable. We got the "small" entrees (roughly $9 each), which makes me shudder to think of what the "large" is (~$13), as the small was filling to the point of takehome.

I'm planning on going back, and next time I think I might sample some of the more interesting menu items.

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