| Get yourself a treat in Tehran |
Traveling in Iran means several cups of tea a day because that’s what Persians drink in the morning, after each meal, and throughout the day. As a coffee lover, I was constantly on the lookout for a nice cuppa while traveling in Iran. So here’re the eight best cafes and coffee shops to cure that caffeine crave – these places are also perfect for brunch and sweet treats!
1. Tehroom cafe
Located inside the Negarestan Museum Garden, this charming cafe/restaurant stands out on its own while being an inseparable part of the beautiful garden. This makes the perfect place for high tea, especially the outdoor area which is gorgeously decorated with antique wooden chairs and elegant table cloths.
The hidden gem doesn’t only impress you with the classy setting, but also their handkerchief style menu. I judge a restaurant quite easily by the menu as that’s the first thing to reflect how much effort is put to make a good impression. Their menu is super cute and clear (you know how some menus can be messy) and includes an interesting selection of herbal teas, traditional Persian breakfasts, light meals and desserts.
I ordered Bastani (a Persian ice-cream made from rose water, saffron, vanilla and pistachios), a homemade lemonade and a fruit platter. To be honest I was instantly sold when the fruit platter came as the presentation was so on point. The Bastani also stole my heart as it wasn’t as sweet as the ones I tried in other places and the smell of rose water and saffron was too good to be true.
Negarestan Museum Garden, Shariatmadar, Daneshsara St, Baharestan Sq.
2. Lamiz Café
The interior of Lamiz Café immediately caught my attention when I passed by it for the first time (in fact, this cafe is the cover photo of this blog post). The ceiling is incredibly high, with a huge book shelf that covers the entire wall on the right hand side. There are couches on the ground floor, and you can see the balcony-like design with wooden furniture on the second floor. Not to mention the floor-to-ceiling glass door. It’s so CHIC. And the coffee itself? Above average.
Their mocha and cappuccino are decent and if you’re looking for a nice place to chat with friends or just work quietly on your laptop (unfortunately they do not have WiFi) then Lamiz cafe is the one to visit. It is a chain store so you can find them in various locations in Tehran but I highly recommend this one across the street from Tehran City Theatre.
No.1435, Vali-e-Asr Str., Tehran (opposite to Tehran City Theatre)
This artisan chocolatier/ cafe is located in Elahieh, an upper-class district in Northern Tehran. I got the chance to try their coffee because my boyfriend’s friend works there as a barista. It’s located on the ground floor of Modern Elahieh, a luxurious shopping centre in the area (to be honest the mall itself is quite boring… just go there for a coffee). My favorite bit is the macaron that comes with the cappuccino (talk about first taste of middle class life in Iran). Apparently many celebrities and famous people visit this place so if you want to try your luck (and if you know them at all) while sipping a cup of quality coffee in Tehran, you wouldn’t want to miss this one out.
Ground floor, Modern Elahieh
4. Roberto Café
Before I say anything about this cafe, check out their instagram because I absolutely love their style (and their passion for coffee!). For the cafe itself, the interior is clearly for serious coffee drinkers as you can see an elaborated pour-over bar at the back of the cafe. The floor-to-ceiling glass door, light bulbs with long wires hanging from the ceiling, inspirational quotes on coffee and lifestyle on the walls, a tricycle in front of the cafe, super chic furniture… there are so many interesting things about this space.
The espressos are made on a Dalla Corte machine (quite rare in Iran) and the coffee beans are from RAW Coffee, a quality roaster based in the UAE.
Another fun fact about this cafe is that you can find a (Persian) book on every table at Roberto. Before social network was born, reading and book-lending were an integrated part of the Persian coffee culture. Roberto Café has recreated this collective nostalgia by offering a book on each table to remind Persians of their cultural roots.
District 4, Boostan 2 Avenue, Tehran, Iran
5. Khaneye Holland/ Holland House
I’ve seen this insta-famous, New York Inspired decadent milkshake all over Facebook and never in real life (not even in Hong Kong!). Who would’ve known the first time I spotted this was on the street in Tehran? I was (almost) screaming when I saw two Iranians holding this. Seeing the word ‘Nutella’ saved me a lot of time from pondering what to get from the menu. We got two Nutella shakes and apparently you don’t get to choose the donut flavors unless you ask. So how’s it taste? HEAVEN. I felt guilty, yes, but who cares when you have a Nutella donut milkshake in your hand. The word ‘diet’ just disappeared from my dictionary for that ten minutes.
I remember the time when liquid nitrogen ice-cream was so hyped in Hong Kong. It was THE ice-cream to try and queue for because it looks so cool when the nitrogen gas flows around the ice cream. It came out as a novel idea even though it’s quite common for top restaurants to freeze food and drinks with liquid nitrogen.
I was quite surprised when I saw this in Tehran and I can’t help but think Tehran is such a heaven for ice-cream lovers. I was not so impressed by the nitrogen gas (as I’ve seen it already) but more so by their toppings. They have such a wide variety of toppings to choose from that I felt like having a frozen yogurt. They have some creative ones, like the chocolate syrup syringe, and some Iranian fruits (most of them are quite sour). For the ice-cream itself, we chose the chocolate and berry flavors and LOVED it. The staff were super friendly and were pouring more liquid nitrogen for some dramatic effect as they noticed me taking pictures. Definitely going back.
7. Daruk Coffee
I absolutely heart this cafe and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone who’s visiting Tehran. Again we found this place randomly and I’m so glad we did. If I have to use one word to describe this cafe, it’s hipster. The interior looks so chic with the green and white walls with photo frames and paintings on them.
The first thing I spotted was the picture of Muhammad Ali. This place seems like the perfect place to smoke a cigar, read a newspaper and talk politics. We ordered a cappuccino, watermelon juice and (of course) chocolate ice-cream. As a coffee lover I can say their coffee is one of the best I’ve tried in Iran.
There were so many things I wanted to try from their menu (especially the pastries) but we stumbled upon this place before dinner time so it wouldn’t be so smart to order too much. If you’re all about the vibe (like me) this is the place to be.
8. Kefeh Vesal
Located near the famous Laleh Park, this cafe is the perfect place to grab some brunch or a cuppa after a walk in the park. They serve both a traditional Iranian and a western breakfast menu, and have some delicious looking pastries at the dessert counter. They have a separate English menu full of pictures so don’t worry if you can’t read Farsi.
This place was recommended by my Couchsurfing host and I couldn’t find it in my first attempt since I thought it was a flower shop so I walked pass it a few times without realizing it’s a cafe. I love the outdoor area of the cafe as it’s decorated like a garden and filled with fresh floral smell. The garden makes you forget that the cafe is located on the side of the road and offers a bit of serenity in the bustling Tehran.