One could easily assert the most burgeoning cuisine in the last 2-3 years in uOTPia is Middle Eastern/Mediterranean. The epicenter is Sandy Springs along Roswell Road, from just outside the perimeter to its northern border, the Chattahoochee River. With quality and quantity having gotten so good and diverse, locals are branding it “Persian Parkway.” Okay, I lied, that’s what I branded it. However, with the power ScoopOTP has vested in me, it will catch on. Yessirree kabob, it will go viral like charbroiled fire. Well, it should.
Here is the line-up, commencing with three that are south of Abernathy, north of 285.
Rumi’s Kitchen: Both Persian contacts and hard-core foodies alike agree with me, Rumi’s may set the standard led by their extraordinary kabobs. Certainly, the best special occasion option, Rumi’s high-end goldmine recently launched a second location at Phase 2 of Avalon.
Persepolis Persian Cuisine: Give them bonus points for longevity. Possibly the dean of Persian cookery, Persepolis has been packing in crowds long back to when said fare was considered niche in this market. Their weekday lunch buffet is perfect for large appetites like yours truly.
Zafron Restaurant: This is the only option along Persian Parkway that I have not yet conquered, but testimonials I depend on have been positive.
Time to get casual as we meander north of Northridge.
Shami Kitchin: Syrian fast casual at its finest. The shawarma is “toasted” (actually pressed by hand on a grill) but definitely comes out more toasty than other versions I’ve experienced. FCR are becoming more and more popular in the suburbs, crossing sundry cuisines. Here customers choose from a rice bowl, lettuce or flat bread; a meat or vegetable main ingredient, then cherry-pick from 12 options as garnishments. This carnivore adores the smooth and creamy hummus and tasty baba ganough. This brightly lit newcomer is fast, cheap, and excellent.
Samad Grille: The poster child of a no-frills hidden gem, Samad Grille thrives in a sleepy shopping center. Though Stars and Strikes has breathed new life into the ageing strip mall, Samad had a loyal following for several years despite no synergy from adjacent business foot traffic. Many swear by the garlic dip for the fries, but don’t leave without trying the kibbey ball soup. The bare bones creature comforts make this no place to take a date, unless (s)he is a foodie. In such case, (s)he will swoon.
While Rumi’s is the ultimate high-end Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant on Persian Parkway (if not the entire metro area), Samad is the quintessential hole-in-the-wall.
Aladdin’s Mediterranean Restaurant: The forerunner in North Springs’ embracing of this regional food, the counter service master has seen devotees flock here for about 15 years. Kabob and shawarma sandwiches demonstrate that food can be both fast and praiseworthy to even obnoxious snobs like yours truly.
Mind you, my home chomping grounds of Alpharetta/Roswell holds its own in Middle Eastern gastronomy. However, from the high end to fast casual to no-frills, Iraq my brains to beat Roswell Road OTP and Iran my mind to Persian Parkway. Luckily my young Turk son Jordan goes to school in the area, so I can Syria-ously research more.
The author Joe Duffy not only picks winning restaurants but also winning sports picks at OffshoreInsiders.com. He is totally dependent on his wife for a food stipend to research your dinner, so support her online MyThirtyOne store at DuffyGifts.com