After a morning of exploring the Tabriz bazaar – a beautiful, largely 15th-century covered market featuring brick vaulting and domed halls – head to Haj Ali Chelo Kebab restaurant. Tabriz is famed for some of the finest chelo kebab in Iran, and the historic but simply furnished Haj Ali is celebrated citywide for living up to this reputation. Tabrizis ascribe the succulence of its kebabs to a special, locally produced butter.
Address: Tabriz bazaar, Tabriz
A nautical theme runs through this high-end restaurant, where fish is the meal of the day, every day. With aquariums, aquamarine lighting, and furnishings constructed from wood and logs, the decor is quite unlike anything else you’re likely to experience in Iran. Baliq serves many varieties of fish, professionally prepared in a variety of ways, usually combined with delicious herb rice.
Address: Bolvare-e Fakuri,Elgoli, Tabriz, +98 41 1385 9294
One of Tabriz’s premier hotels, Elgoli, in the southeast of the city, boasts an ostentatious revolving restaurant on its top floor. The menu is a mix of standard Iranian fare and more international options, but the unique selling point of this establishment is the unparalleled view of Elgoli park and the Tabriz cityscape.
Address: Elgoli, Tabriz
In the center of the lake in the beautifully verdant Elgoli park is the Talar Bozorg restaurant. Viewed from a distance, the restaurant seemingly floats on the water beneath it. Popular with local families as well as tourists, the building displays some traditional features of Iranian Azeri architecture (although it is in fact a modern construction). A cozy spot with scenic surrounds, and tasty local fare.
Address: Elgoli Park, Tabriz
Rahnama Dairy cafe is quite simply the place to have breakfast in Tabriz. Tucked away in the bazaar, this no-nonsense, unpretentious establishment is known throughout Iranian Azerbaijan for serving the tastiest dairy products known to man. You will be in and out in 15 minutes, but your stomach will be full and our body energized. Yogurt and honey is the most popular dish, but their bowl of clotted cream and honeycomb is also highly recommended.
Address: Tabriz Bazaar, Tabriz
Light and airy (if a little cramped), Reyhan restaurant serves some of the best kebabs in Tabriz. Koobideh (mince meat lamb), barg (barbecued lamb fillet), jujeh (grilled chicken), and the other staples from the Iranian kebab hall of fame are available in their most exemplary form here. They’re served with rice or freshly made nan-e sangak (Iranian leavened flatbreak).
Shahriar is a classy, underground establishment, tastefully occupying what used to be a traditional bathhouse. An excellent venue for large groups in particular, the vaulted arched ceilings and tiled walls make for an atmospheric dining experience. Professionally run and open late, the menu is standard Iranian fare. There is an adjacent coffee shop within building, and you can either sit at tables or more traditional carpeted eating platforms.
Address: Sa’at square,on the corner of Tarbiyat Street, Tabriz, +98 41 554 0057
Hezardestan Restaurant is an intimate, dimly lit establishment that will delight history buffs with its photographs and newspapers clippings from the period of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1906-1910) which adorn the walls. There is a tangible sense of nostalgia in this subterranean eatery, which makes an excellent venue for a romantic evening. Mainly featuring local dishes, the koofteh tabrizi (large meatballs) and the dizi (lamb and chickpea stew) are especially good.
Address: Azadi Boulevard, Tabriz, +98 411 3343 439
Tabriz’s most famous fast food joint, Tooska is a hit with young locals and students, offering a range of pizzas, burgers, and fried chicken. Clean, modern, and with decent quality products, if you are craving some Iranian style junk food, Tooska is the place for you in Tabriz – although it can be a struggle to find a seat in the evenings.
Address: Elahi Parast Street, Tabriz, +98 41 3333 9303
The Iranian dishes here are as good as anywhere else in town, and their Kofteh Tabrizi and fried trout are exceptional.
Address: Imam Khomeini Street, Tabriz, +98 41 1556 3841