Where to Find Authentic Persian Cuisine in Westchester County

Persian new year falls on March 19 this year, and what better way to celebrate than with a feast of Persian delicacies?

Persian New Year, also known as “Nowruz” or “Nooruz,” which literally translates as “new day,” celebrates the start of a new year on the Persian calendar. This year, March 19 (in the Gregorian calendar), will mark the beginning of the new year of 1403, which coincides with the spring equinox. The day is known to those who celebrate it as a joyous and exciting day with much history and culture behind it.

Traditionally, one of the most important symbols of the day is the “haft sin.” The haft sin is a table that, for the day of and days surrounding Nowruz, becomes home to items in Persian culture that are symbols of prosperity and good fortune for the new year. The table features items such as garlic (a symbol of medicine and health), sumac (a symbol of the sunrise and new beginnings), and vinegar (a symbol of age and patience).

But, like most holidays, the day is also marked by its Persian feasts. Celebrate the start of a new year (for some) and a new season (for all) by eating food from these three authentic Persian spots within Westchester County.

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Shiraz Kitchen & Wine Bar

80 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains; 914.345.6111

Shiraz Kitchen’s menu is full of decadent Persian appetizers, entrees, and desserts that are perfect for ringing in the new year. For an authentic Persian start to the meal, try the dolmeh: grape leaves stuffed with a vegetarian filling, including rice and herbs. For the main, you can’t go wrong with feasting on any type of kabob; options include lamb chops, filet mignon, and saffron chicken. Be sure to try one of the specialty Persian rices; baghali, with dill and fava beans, and albaloo, with sour cherry and pistachios, are household favorites.

 

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Medi Bistro

50 Main St, White Plains; 914.946.1232

Medi Bistro brings classic Persian cuisine to Westchester, along with innovative takes on its authentic flavors, led by tri-state restaurateur Par Shakiban. Dishes are meant to be eaten family-style, so every plate can be shared with everyone at the table. Start with one of the Persian dips: mast khiar (yogurt with cucumber and mint), mast mousir (sun-dried shallot yogurt, and most definitely the best for eating with the hearty stews), or kashk badenjoon (fried eggplant with crispy fried onion and mint, made creamy and decadent with cream of whey). For your entree, we recommend a stew that’s often eaten on special occasions, nicknamed “the stew for kings,” because of the labor and time that goes into it: chicken fesenjoon. The traditional Persian flavors of pomegranate paste and walnuts blend seamlessly for a flavor you will crave every day thereafter. Wash it down with one of the specialty Persian-inspired cocktails on the menu. Highlights include the anar (pomegranate) sour and the saffron vesper.

 

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Marjan Kabob House Catering

914.640.9114

Want to explore a different country’s cuisine from your own home? No problem. Marjan Kabob House Catering is always ready to make sure you can enjoy authentic Persian food without having to eat out. For Persian New Year, the catering company offers a Nowruz special: sabzi polo with mahi (an herby rice served with fish). This dish is traditionally eaten for the first day of Nowruz, but don’t worry if you can’t get it in time; these Persian stews and kabobs are available every day of the year, and the new year is no exception. Text or call to place an order. Just keep in mind that a 24-hour notice is required for small orders, while a 48-hour notice is requested for larger orders.

Related: 8 Can’t-Miss New Restaurants Opening in Westchester in 2024

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