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Persepolis

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Zwingerstraße 21 69117 Heidelberg

Königstuhl.  Schloß Heidelberger.  Persepolis?  Sure, the actual Persepolis is now an archaeological site in Iran, some 2000 miles away.  But after venturing up to the Königstuhl summit and visiting Heidelberg’s landmark structure, a fantastic Persian restaurant – Persepolis – awaits you at the bottom, directly across from the entrance to the Bergbahn.

From the outside, Persepolis restaurant looks like anything but the majestic ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire.  Instead, it simply looks like a tiny home converted into a restaurant.  The place is as spacious as a one person room; the dining area as large as a walk-in closet.  The kitchen can be seen in the back and appears to be even smaller.  Seating is limited to black bar height stools.  Tables are more like the top part of storage shelves.   Due to the limited amount of space, assorted drinks and beverages are stored all around, notably under the tables.  There are bags of various ingredients located everywhere.  The restaurant isn’t messy; it’s just not the most attractive place.  Then again, being a tiny restaurant translates to lower prices on the menu – a definite plus for any visitor.  In terms of décor, there are spectacular images of monuments framed on the walls.  Adding to the Persian ambiance, pleasant music plays from the speakers.

 

The menu at Persepolis is restricted to only 6 items everyday.  However, the choices vary on a daily basis.  Most of the dishes include some variation of meat – chicken, lamb, or fish.  But there is also at least one vegetarian option.  Each plate can be ordered either as normal or large – prices for normal plates range from 3,50 € for vegetarian dishes, meat entrées around 5,00 €.  Large plates start from 5,50 €.  Side dishes can be had for around 1 euro.  Hot drinks, such as tea and coffee, are also listed at 1 euro and are a good deal.

The only constant offered each day is Zereshk Polo – shredded chicken served on a combination of basmati and saffron rice, with red barberry berries (Zereshk) mixed in.  Also supplied on the plate is a golden crispy piece of rice taken from the bottom of the pot in which the grains are cooked.  A flavorful and textural wonder, this brittle slice of rice is hands down the best part of the dish.  The saffron rice is prepared to order by mixing basmati rice with saffron infused liquid in one of the warming trays until it has attained its distinctive yellow color.   The rice has a unique aroma while the berries provide a distinctive tart component to the otherwise salty elements.  A striking balance is achieved through the use of saffron.  The chicken is moist and much needed in contrast to the rice.  Overall, this dish is another variation of chicken and rice.  At 4,90 € for a normal sized plate, the Zereshk polo is one of the cheaper meat dishes on the menu and worth a try.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Persepolis features Sabzi Polo Mahi on the menu – lightly fried fish fillets served on a bed of dill infused basmati rice, topped with a scoop of saffron rice.  Again, berberis berries are mixed in with the saffron.  A slice of crusted rice is also served on the side.  The white fish is delicate and flaky, flawlessly cooked and seasoned to perfection.  Alone, the fish tastes marvelous; in conjunction with the rice, it makes one delicious, satisfying meal.  Dill is generously combined with the basmati rice and provides a refreshing herbal touch.  Simply put, this dish is straightforward and executed extremely well.  Crunchy rice crust, flaky fish, aromatic rice – what more can you ask for?

Finish off your venture into Persian cuisine with a glass of hot tea.  Sugar cubes are offered to sweeten up your drink to your liking.  On the side of the cup is a dried date that is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Open since 1997, Persepolis has slowly become a popular establishment here in Heidelberg, particularly amongst the younger crowd.  Many students and young adults pop in to enjoy a quick meal that’s not only appetizing, but also easy on the pocket.  The owners are very friendly and continually have smiles on their faces.  With its changing daily menu, it’s no wonder that Persepolis has been able to attract repeat customers and remain here so long.  What limited dishes they do offer are refined and served with utmost care.  With its Persian cuisine, Persepolis offers something different and unique in this part of town.

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Summary:

Ideally located across the Heidelberg Bergbahn, Persepolis is a tiny mom & pop restaurant serving up the finest Persian cuisine at extremely affordable prices.  Menu varies each day, featuring 6 different dishes (including at least 1 vegetarian option).  Very limited amount of seating.  Takeout available.  Very friendly owners.

Hours: Monday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
            Saturday, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Sereshk Polo – 4/5
  • Sabsipolo-Mahi – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.persepolis-heidelberg.de/

Written by geschmack

May 21st, 2010 at 11:55 pm

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