Why go: Feasting on these heaping platters of nut-and-fruit-studded rice and juicy Persian-style kebabs is a cheap ticket to a foreign land.
What to get: The finely diced tomato-onion-and-cucumber Shirazi Salad; among the kebabs, the lamb, bone-in Cornish hen and the kubideh, fashioned from ground spiced beef and molded around the metal skewers; shirin polo, rice pilaf flavored with sugared orange peel and nuts (good with the lamb); and albalou polo, a dish of chicken and rice with sour cherries.
Best for: Immersing yourself in Persian cuisine and culture—expats flood the cafeteria-like dining room on weekends, giving it the air of a cafe in old Tehran.
Insider tip: Saffron rice comes with most plates, but consider upgrading to one of the specialty polos. Ask for the tah digue, the crust of rice that forms on the bottom of the pan. No alcohol is served.
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here