Best Arab Street Food in Tehran

Best Arab Street Food in Tehran

Falafel is one of those unpretentious dishes that, at first glance, its plain appearance makes you think it’s not a special meal. But when you take your first bite, you understand that you should never have judged it by its modest exterior – it’s a veritable explosion of flavors! We show you the Best Arab Street Food in Tehran! 

Iranian southerners have a saying, however: that falafel should either be eaten in the South or cooked by a Southerner, which is, in all honesty and fairness, correct.

But alas, we live in Tehran, meaning our reach is short, and the date palm is tall (an Iranian idiom meaning ‘we are helpless’ or ‘our hands are tied’).

However, there is an area in Tehran with a massive number of Iraqis and southern Arab Iranians which may surprise you.

Best Arab Street Food in Dolatabad

But the capital always pays attention to the realm of food and always has a trick up its sleeve.

Whenever you crave falafel, pay a visit to the Dolatabad neighborhood. This way, you will see the difference between original and authentic falafel and the stuff you see elsewhere in Tehran.

What led to the influx of Iraqis into this area?

During the Ba’ath regime of Saddam Hussein in the 190s, Iranians who had migrated to Iraq years before found their residencies not renewed and were returned to Iran.

Those Iraqis whose beliefs did not align with the Ba’ath Party had their assets seized by Hussein and were expelled.

This group was known by the Ba’ath party as the “Mawadeen,” meaning “the expelled” or “the returnees”.

Over time, Iranian Arabs residing in the southern parts of the country, as well as Bahrainis, Syrians, and Lebanese living in different areas, migrated to Dolatabad due to cultural similarities.

Presently, most of the neighborhood’s population consists of Arabs from neighboring countries and Iranian Arabs. The dominant language used for local interactions is Arabic, with many of the older residents possibly unable to speak Persian!

Hence, it can be concluded that the neighborhood exhibits a high level of cultural cohesion.

What’s the area like?

The moment you cross into the neighborhood (and make your way towards Quds Boulevard, it’s as if you’ve entered an entirely new world.

Glimpses of men dressed in traditional dishdashes and women donning Arabian clothing, the strains of Arabic music floating from passing cars and shops, and the intoxicating scent of spices floating through the air all serve as your welcome to this unique cultural enclave.

Best Arab Street Food in Tehran

While these migrants were driven from their homes, Dolatabad became their new abode, and which home is without delicious, hot food maintaining its authentic flavors?

From Syrian Shawarma and Kunafa, and Baklava to Kibbeh and Samosa, you can find them all here.

Interestingly, despite the passage of years, all dishes are cooked according to their original recipes, making it feel as if you’re tasting street food right in the heart of Baghdad or Damascus!

What kind of food is in Dolatabad?

The main artery of Dolatabad, Quds Boulevard, is a treasure trove of delicacies. You can find the bustling lanes serving Baklava and Shawarma on both sides of this major thoroughfare.

However, the Falafel and Samosa stalls are situated a bit further, in a slightly secluded area. To thoroughly soak up the atmosphere and experience the neighborhood in all its glory, you must not shy away from exploring its streets and alleys! So, lace up your walking shoes and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure in the heart of Dolatabad!

Where to get Shawarma in Tehran?

There are plenty of Shawarma shops on Qods Avenue and across the Dolatabad Area, we recommend trying out a few of them.

Restaurants like Lebanon Nights and Javadein Food are reportedly great spots to eat.

There are also several falafel shops in this area; you can choose which one you want. Remember falafel is THE cheapest takeaway food in Iran.

Where to get Baklava in Tehran?

While down in Dolatabad be sure to check out the amazing Baklava at Pakan Baklava shop in the area.

Where is Dolatabad?

Dolatabad is a district located in the southeastern part of Tehran, neighboring areas and the city of Ray.

The Imam Ali Highway, situated to the east of the Dolatabad neighborhood, serves as a divider between this area and Azadi Park.

The construction and development of this district date back to the early 1970s. It was one of the first suburban areas of Tehran, constructed by a private company named Dolatabad.

Other Arab food restaurants in Tehran?

If you don’t want to venture to the very far south of Tehran to Dolatabad, there are several restaurants offering the best food Lebanese and Arab food in Tehran.


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