Blog

Persis Biryani Indian Grill
Danabak | December 1, 2023 | 0 Comments

Discovering Iranian Restaurants in Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina, may not be the first place you think of when craving authentic Iranian cuisine. However, this Southern city is home to a small but thriving Persian community with some truly excellent Iranian restaurants to discover. 

As a lover of Persian food myself, I was pleasantly surprised to find several establishments serving mouth-watering kebabs, aromatic rice dishes, and more when I moved to Charlotte a few years ago. Whether you’re looking for a casual weeknight dinner or a more upscale dining experience, Charlotte has Iranian flavor covered.

A Brief Introduction to Iranian Cuisine

Untitled design

For those unfamiliar with Iranian food, it offers an explosion of herbs, spices, and unique techniques that come together in bold and complex flavors. Here’s a quick primer on some staples of Iranian cooking:

  • Kebabs – Ground and skewer-grilled meats like koobideh, jujeh (chicken), and barg (filet mignon) kebabs are popular menu items. They are typically served over saffron rice.
  • Stews- Ash-e reshteh is a hearty Persian bean and noodle soup, while ghormeh sabzi is a vibrant herb-based beef stew. 
  • Rice – Fluffy saffron rice and tahdig (crispy baked rice) accompany most meals.
  • Yogurt – Mixes like mast-o-khiar (cucumber yogurt) and mast-o-musir (garlic yogurt) are cooling complements to spicy kebabs.
  • Salads – Shirazi salad with cucumbers and tomatoes and olvieh salad with chickpeas and herbs offer fresh contrast.
  • Appetizers – Try Iranian dips like hummus bi tahini, kashk e bademjan (roasted eggplant), and mirza ghasemi (smoky eggplant).

With this overview, let’s explore some of my favorite Iranian eateries in Charlotte!

The Persian Restaurant

For a more focused Iranian dining experience, head to The Persian Restaurant outside downtown Charlotte. The cozy, white-tablecloth setting offers a taste of an authentic Persian atmosphere. 

Start your meal with one of their hot and cold appetizer platters, which allow you to sample several small dishes like dolmeh (grape leaves), hummus, olives, and more. 

For your entree, lamb dishes are the specialty here. The barg kebab, with juicy lamb filet skewered and grilled over an open flame, is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I also love the zereshk polo with lamb shank and fall-off-the-bone meat paired with tart, sweet barberries and saffron rice.

Finish your meal with a cup of traditional Persian tea and baklava for the perfect touch of sweetness. With attentive service and elegant presentation, dining at The Persian Restaurant makes for a special night out.

  • The Persian Restaurant  
  • 2610 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28205

Persis Biryani Indian Grill

While not exclusively Iranian, this Indian and Persian restaurant is a great starting point for novice Persian food fans. The menu features familiar Indian dishes alongside authentic Iranian options like baghali polo (rice with dill and fava beans), zereshk polo (barberry rice), and those ubiquitous kebabs. 

Untitled design 1

I recommend the Chenjeh Koobideh, which are juicy grilled ground sirloin kebabs served over saffron basmati rice with grilled tomatoes. The chicken barberry rice is another winner, made with tart barberries that pop against the fluffy rice and tender chicken.

With friendly service and excellent prices (entrees average around $12), Persis is a comfortable place to get acquainted with Persian cuisine.

  • Persis Biryani Indian Grill  
  • 5810 Fairview Rd #100, Charlotte, NC 28209

Koobideh Factory Food Truck

Ask any food truck fan in Charlotte for a recommendation, and they’ll point you to Koobideh Factory. This awesome truck serves up incredible kebabs and kabobs with fresh-baked naan bread for dipping. It’s owned by Amir, born in Iran before moving to the United States.

Everything they make is stellar, but I’m especially obsessed with their chicken kabob. Tender cubes of marinated chicken breast are skewered with tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers before going on the grill. It’s served with saffron rice for the perfect meal on the go.

You can find Koobideh Factory at breweries and events around town, like the Mexican Night Market. Keep an eye on their social media for current locations!

Shirin Restaurant

In Charlotte’s diverse South End neighborhood, Shirin offers a contemporary take on Iranian cuisine in a chic, modern setting. 

Start with one of their creative appetizers like the beetroot hummus or the braised short rib dolmeh before moving on to the pomegranate lamb shank or fesenjan – chicken stewed in a rich pomegranate-walnut sauce.

Shirin’s Instagram-worthy presentation makes every dish as beautiful as it is delicious. Be sure to save room for their rosewater panna cotta served with sour cherry jam!

Shirin is a stylish spot for a special occasion, with a full bar offering Persian-inspired cocktails and an extensive wine list.

  • Shirin Restaurant  
  • 310 Hawthorne Ln, Charlotte, NC 28204
Untitled design 2

Parnia’s Persian Cuisine

Last but not least is Parnia’s, a family-owned restaurant serving comforting Persian classics. The owner of this Iranian business in Charlotte, Parnia, moved to Charlotte in 2010, bringing her recipes from Iran with her. 

Their kabobs are deliciously seasoned and tender, but make sure to also try some of their slow-cooked stews like fesenjan, khoresht gheymeh (split pea and lamb), and ghormeh sabzi. Scoop these up with pieces of warm naan bread. 

Parnia’s homey atmosphere and gracious hospitality make it a pleasure to dine here. For an after-dinner treat, sample desserts like baklava and sohan halva. With reasonable prices and generous portions, this is my top choice for satisfying, everyday Persian fare.

  • Parnia’s Persian Cuisine
  • 5816 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28212

Bringing a Taste of Iran to the Queen City

While many wouldn’t guess it, Charlotte, North Carolina, now boasts a handful of high-quality Persian restaurants thanks to its growing Iranian community. From the casual family dining at Parnia’s to the upscale ambiance of Shirin, these establishments are bringing the rich flavors of Iran to Queen City.

The next time you’re seeking an adventurous food experience without the long flight, explore the kebabs, stews, and other Iranian fare Charlotte’s restaurants have to offer. Prepare for your taste buds to become spellbound by beguiling new flavors and enter a different culinary culture full of aromatic spices and complex cooking techniques.

So, head out and discover these Iranian culinary treasures for yourself! Let me know in the comments if you have any other favorite spots for Persian cuisine in Charlotte that I should try.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.