Davoud Pizza, the first pizzeria in Tehran
Try Davoud Pizza
Davoud Pizza or “Pizza Davoud” situated down a back alleyway near the French Embassy on Nofel Lashato is one of the most overlooked eateries in Tehran.
Located down Lolagar Alleyway informally known as “Doctor’s Alley” when student doctors would eat at the location more than three decades back. Davoud Pizza has the claim to fame of being the first pizza shop in Tehran—still operating!
As soon as you enter this Lolagar Alley, you will encounter identical balconies, windows and glass facades on both sides of the alley, which continues to the end of the alley.
Although many years have passed since the life of the buildings and Lolagar alley, because of the families moving out or uptown over the generations. Recent efforts by descendants of the owners to reboot the location into a café, boutique hotel and longer-term residence for visiting diplomats have been hailed as exemplary.
But one of the most important reasons for the continued existence of this beautiful alley is the existence of the first pizza shop in Tehran.
But it is Davoud Pizza which has given the alleyway a special significance with the second generation of the same family now operating after the father’s death earlier in 2021.
History of Davoud Pizza
Davoud Pizza opened in 1961 and immediately became a hit with students and workers in the area of the shop, close to the Hafez junction which to this day remains a busy commercial district. A pizza cost a now defunct form of sub-currency called Qiran, and costing 11.
Set up by Agha Davoud and his Armenian friend Armik, the men created a new type of food establishment unheard of in Iran. After his business partner migrated to the US, Davoud continued to run the shop until his death in 2021. The shop remains open, with his son operating the store to this day.
What to expect from Davoud Pizza?
Also, Davoud Pizza is not for the fainthearted. It is a rough and ready old-style hole in the wall eatery with food to match its style. “Pizza” at the place most likely means huge chunks of processed meats topped with cheese and mushrooms, topped with ketchup and herbs, as our friend Hamid explains ten years back.
In this pizzeria, there are seven types of pizza to choose from. Of course, the “mixed” or “makhloot” pizza is the preferred option by many people.
Guess what! You may be surprised to see that when ordering your pizza, you will be asked for your name and given a collection of chopped uncooked sausage topped with ketchup as an appetizer. Don’t worry, it’s part of the charm. If you are not into this sort of food, we also list some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants town too!
When your pizza is ready, someone will shout your name, you can also get drinks from the old-style fridge on the left hand side of the shop. If you are lucky you may get a glass drink like the old days!
When leaving, they will ask if you want anything else or are you full up? Quite an experience!
You are most likely going to have to sit on a stool outside the restaurant inside the alley. This is how we used to get takeout in Tehran and is still charming for those of us who remember this style from years ago.
Where is Davoud Pizza?
You can find the location here: https://goo.gl/maps/jbpMeX6osJMyiKU9A