Best Persian food I've ever eaten in my entire life. Salad shirazi, taftoon, kabab chenjeh and koobideh, kebab makhoos and barg, mint cardamom tea, Persian ice cream and faloodeh. Lamb was the most tender one can imagine. Left here stuffed, but in a good way. Hint: If you order sweet cardamon/mint tea while eating, you might get strange looks. Order the yogurt drink instead if you're seeking an authentic Persian experience.
+Great chicken skewer
-pickles are very strong of vinegar
Persian Food served in a hurry.
Value for money - yes.
Service with a smile - not exactly.
Authentic Taste - no.
Would I eat here again - not in a hurry.
We were greeted with a full house and were asked to go to the waiting room - aka the juice shop next door. A dull boring sad looking place where bad Persian artefacts go to die. Back to the restaurant on hand.
The aroma of Middle Eastern food sifted through the air from the kitchen as the busy plates were rushed out to the groups seated table close to table.
We opted for the choice of starters and an Alanouk special. I might add my eating companion was Persian so I knew I had someone who had the palate for our feast to come .... And a feast it was !
Large portions and big plates = value for money in some peoples world but not mine.
The food was hot but lacking pure authenticity. The lamb was dry and the salad looked like it had a life better than the one it was living on my plate.
I would recommend this to friends purely based on the portion size but not much else.
YES to this place. It's cheap - cheap!!! - yummy, and gives ginormous portions of succulent meats, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and outstanding eggplant dishes. And who doesn't love some serious eggplants.
Having said all this, this place is almost like a fast-food type of restaurant, in the sense that it only offers kebabs and koftas - no stews, fish or other typical Persian-middle eastern food. But what we DID have... yup, delish.
Absolutely wonderful. Waitress was more than happy to have dishes made that were not even on the menu. Very clean and wonderful. Definite must!!!
Would I come back? Most likely not. If you like Persian/Middle Eastern food, you will probably really like this place. The food is reasonably priced and the service is fast and decent.
Kashke bademjan: mashed fried aubergine (eggplant), fried onions, herbs, garlic, walnuts and kashk (a sort of dairy product made from yogurt). It's a spread/dip served with freshly made flat bread (there is a clay oven in the corner as you walk, makes the fresh flat bread that is served warm and soft, yummy). I felt like I was eating freshly prepared and seasoned baby food, lol. Should've got the hummus. It's not bad, it's just not for everyone.
Chelo-kabob chenjeh: a skewer of minced lamb and a skewer of marinated lamb served with grilled tomato and rice. Two of us shared one plate and it was just enough food. The plate is average and nothing to rave about. I like the minced lamb better because the marinade on the other skewer was just ok and the meat just wasn't as tender as I would like it to be. The basmati rice is too plain for my liking (and I like plain/simple stuff). But I've always preferred the more sweet, moist and fragrant taste of jasmine rice. I did enjoy the little bit of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and jalapenos that was on this dish.
This place is a good place to go if you need to get full and don't want to spend too much money. Maybe the chicken skewers are better?
I have been there few times and i would say thats a real persian food. Very delicious and well prepared. I would suggest the Yugert and after the food persian tea and Zafaraan Icecream.
We got ourselves two times the special, the rice was nice, the different meat were very tender and nicely seasoned. The bread freshly made in front of you in the traditional oven that is prominently situated in this restaurant is just all you would expect of fresh bread.
Amazing experience all the way. The service was top-notch, the food was outstanding and the ambiance was very pleasant. I've been to various iranian restaurants, but the overall experience in this little place by far exceeds all others.
This restaurant was amazing! The food was delicious and the prices reasonable! The only problem is that they don't offer many choices in drinks (that's why 4 stars)
The bread is so tasty and made and cooked right in frond of you!
Food is outstanding in this small place. If you are craving for real Iranian food I think this is one of the best around here. You have to order a start to try their fresh bred! Amazing food in general, although don't expect much out of the atmosphere in here. It's an ordinary seating with average rating. The quality of food makes it worth the price. You have to try it once! No bookings.
Order the tea after your meal, it's kinda heavy and dark but tastes good.
Westbourne Grove is a street that's really winning me over.
While not famous in any sense of the word, nor known for it;s culinary supremacy, this street keeps surprising me. There's excellent pizza here, burger shops, pubs and now, as I learned, Persian/Iranian food. Thank you Alounak for a tasty meal.
It's a small restaurant but holds a lot of people. This one is family friendly and there are always little kids chowing down with parents. It can be a little tight getting into your seat, as all the tables are very close together (and awkward as someone sits next to you and your butt semi-goes into their face trying to get in), but once you're sitting, it's very comfortable.
It's the little things that make this spot so great, like the clay oven they have in the corner as you walk in that makes all the bread. And woah that bread was good, hot, thin, doughy, delicious. Perfect to put some topping on top of.
For two people, we did the starter sampler of a bunch of different dips including hummus and... other things I can't remember (I was hoping the menu would be online so I could check but no luck.) It was well presented and delicious though. Then we shared the Alounak specail, which has two types of cooked lamb and chicken on a skewer with rice and veggies. Amazing. Hot, tasty, so good. If you're craving meat, this is it. Overall, the meal came to be about £15 per person, which was great.
The service here can be bad. Like, really bad. Like, have to ask a few times to get a drink bad. Or things like they will come and ask if you want dessert, so you say sure. You expect them to bring a menu, but nope. When they come back to order and you ask what they have, they rattle it off quickly. I think most people just get a cup of tea after the meal, since she kept asking if we want tea. Nah, it's cool, thanks though.
Good food, good spot, I will be back.
Good food but personally I don't see the glam everyone is talking about - for me, it is just another joint. Too crowded for what it is.
I ate here over a week ago. I still dream about my dinner. Some guy in the queue told me that I was going to cry when I got my food. He said it was that good, it was an emotional experience.
And I nearly did. The bread... oh that fresh bread was so gorgeous. Shame it cooled down within seconds, but it was a little slice of heaven when it was hot. My Alounak special consisted of mince lamb (so tasty), bits of lamb (tender) and bits of chicken (meh compared with the other 2). We had some auberginey dip thing and hummous, both of which were good.
I got a bit high on sugary mint tea, my friend didn't like his watermelon juice.
* The couple next to us got the mixed grill for two. It looked AWESOME! However, I would HIGHLY suggest not getting this dish unless you were 3 or 4 people, otherwise... let's just say meat sweat will be your least concern.
To get Iranian food THIS good you have to go all the way to Darband, Tehran. If you're an Iranian, you know what I'm talking about. So imagine my absolute joy the first time I stepped in here!
I have tasted everything on the menu maybe twice and I kid you not: it's all out of this world delicious. I even brought my mom to this joint, and she gave it two thumbs up - you don't get better recommendation than that.
If it's your first time, go for sultani for main course you'll get a taste of everything. If you're not that much into grilled meat go on a Friday and try the ghorme sabzi - it's an absolutely amazing herb and meat stew. For starters, try the mixed starter to get a taste of everything. Personally, I always go for mirza ghasemi (aubergine) and sabzi khordan (fresh herbs). Don't forget to leave room for the noodle/lemon dessert falludeh with saffron ice cream.
Expect to wait in line.
tasty taste! We lucked out and got the last table which is key since they do not take reservations and there was a line. When you walk in you, are greeted by the bread oven and you immediately know you have to eat some bread like right this second.
We tried the chicken kebap and koobideh and both were healthy portions and yummmmay. This place is super efficientprobably because there was a constant line of people waiting for tablesso once you order your food comes out pretty quickly. You have the option to have your food with either rice or bread. Can't go wrong with either but as I said..the bread oven is calling out to you.
We've been meaning to eat here for ages after walking by many time and seeing the lines out the door. We came at a quiet time and was seated immediately.
Drinks ordered, we ordered the mixed starter which came with 4 different dips and ordered bread. The starters were super yummy and the bread was made fresh in the little clay oven that you see when entering the restaurant. Although the starter was yummy, I wish I had skipped them and saved room for the mains.
For mains we got the Wednesday Special and the Alounak special. The Wednesday special was aubergines and lamb in a special tomato sauce with rice. It reminded me of my grandma's home cooking, it was delicious. The lamb was super tender and just fell apart as you ate it. The Alnounak special came with a lamb shish kebab, chicken shish kebab, and chicken kebab with salad and rice. The meats were nicely seasoned and cooked so they stayed moist.
The staff was attentive and the ambiance was really relaxed.
Will be back for sure!
As a life long Londoner with a Persian mother too, I must say when it comes to Kabob (the Persian kind rather than 'kebab'), Alounak had been on the money for years. Its all about the kabob here. Like another reviewer said, the Koresht is hit and miss but the Koobideh (mince lamb) and Barg (lamb shank) is Spot on everytime! If there's one word that I phrase use to describe their kabobs. It's 'consistently good.' since I've been going there since the mid 90s and never had a bad kabob once.
Don't come for the decor. It's very cosy but it's no Shahs Palace.
Personally though, the decor is good enough for me, i'm not into opulent bling which typically adorns the walls of Persian restaurants.
Do expect to wait in line to get seated in the evening, for about ten to fifteen minutes. It's very popular.
For all you Persian/kabob novices, I recommend you ask for Makhsous, since you get the best of both worlds; one Koobideh and one Barg, to try both. the starters are all great, especially the 'Mirza Ghassemi' (egg plant/aubergine, tomato and garlic). Definitely try their freshly oven baked on site 'taftoon' naan with some feta cheese and mint starter.
the chicken/joojeh kabob is equally as good, but since i rarely order it and have less places to compare it to, i'll focus on its lamb brethren.
A tip for those watching the calories or simply trying to reduce carb intake is to ask for rice (all kabob is served with a large amount of delicious Persian long grain rice) to be 'half rice and half salad shirazi.' you will then be given half the usual amount of rice replaced with a tangy lemon and olive oil drizzled refreshing salad of cucumber, tomato and spring onions.
Alounak also does one of the best Doogs (think a salty Indian lassi, yoghurt drink). Very fresh in a jug, not bottled.
Last but not least, for visiting American persians, especially those from Los Angeles where there is also a plethora of Persian restaurants, you must try Alounak since in U.K., Persian kebob uses lamb, which I believe is more authentic rather than the Beef which is used in the majority of Persian restaurants across the Atlantic.
Wednesday night special Chelo Khoresh Bademjan (lamb and aubergine stew); absolutely amazing. It alone will make me take the trip back to London.
Here's to adventurous taste buds and to Yelp! When the place I really wanted to dine was closed, I turned to my trusty iPhone to tell me about the interesting looking place across the street. And so instead of having barbecued American food, I had Middle Eastern. Wha-huh? It's a good thing my stomach just let my brain decide because it was the right choice!
A table for one was a long bench along the wall that gave me the opportunity to watch the door and the street, but I also got to see how the taftoon bread is made and prepared. The baker is an artist and he made it look surprisingly simple. It's a naan-like flat bread that is cooked when it's stuck to the inside wall of a clay oven. Very clever!
Since I don't know much about Persian food, I just went with a cucumber salad to start and the "Saturday special" for main. I was not disappointed. While my order was prepared, I tore pieces of the bread and put a bit of butter on it. When it arrived, the fresh bowl of finely diced cucumber, tomato and onion was fresh and crisp, setting me up for the star of the meal - a big pile of yummy rice and a lamb shank. The phrase "fell off the bone" is overused, but in this case it was true. A light push with my fork and the meat just... fell. No knife needed. Moist and yummy, I spooned some of the juices from the bowl on to it just because it was there, even though it really wasn't needed.
Before I knew it, the plate was clean, the tummy was full and I was very well satisfied. No need for dessert.
Really good food, good service, an excellent value. You won't spend a lot of money here because it's proper Arabic and therefore you will save a ton that you'd otherwise be spending on wine and beer. Nothing wrong with that at all!
This is a fantastic Persian kabob restaurant. Absolutely mouth wateringly delicious in every way possible. As an Iranian who has had many a kabobs in her life, Alounak is right on the money when it comes to the taste, flavors, and overall yumminess that is Persian kabob.
There are several things of note: Alounak, more or less, specializes in a variety of kabobs and not the other Persian "stews" (khorshets). So, for instance, I wouldn't go to Alounak to get my Khorshet Anar fix. However, there are lots of kabobs: koobedeh (ground meat), barg (fillet mignon), jojeh (chicken), and a veggie kabob skewer. One can order these kabobs with rice, with bread, and in different combination of kabobs. Depending on which combination you order, the price can be as low as £8 to £20.
Also, the restaurant is on the smaller side which means that depending on the size of the crowd, it can be a wait for a table. I imagine it's easier to be seated as a group of, say, 4 or 2 than it is 6.
Finally, order the bread. They make it right there in this cool oven contraption and it is super yummy and warm.
If you are not a neophyte when it comes to Persian food: the rice was cooked very well and came with the necessary grilled tomato to make the kabob entree complete.
In re: previous review below: I never felt rushed by the wait staff. I did feel self-imposed rush to leave once done with food as there were about 8 people hovering about waiting to be seated. I figured it'd be good karma to roll out when the food was done.
Came here in a group of four. Had a positive experience. This restaurant is quite popular and usually has a short wait to get a table. On a Friday night we waited about 15 minutes at 7:20pm. The wait staff is attentive. The ambience is nice, with a cook preparing the bread in right in the major dining room.
The menu is concise but does offer something for everyone (within the range of standard Persian cuisine). The prices are decent, not dirt cheap but for the area very reasonable. The food was good; nothing outrageous or extravagant but tasty and well-made. We had the mixed starter, which was good. I had chicken and lamb. Each were very basic but prepared nicely.
Overall this is a good restaurant. The food is enjoyable and the prices are fair; the ambience is tasteful and authentic; the servers are pleasant and enhance the experience. And perhaps my favorite thing about this place is that they are BYO, so we brought our own beer and wine. Certainly worth a visit.
Tasty and fresh. The kashk o bademjan was nicely done as was the jujeh kebab. My only gripe is there was no grilled tomato with my dinner and they didn't include sumac. Maybe you need to ask for these things...
The lady who took my order was very nice and friendly. She even offered me some hot tea while I waited for my Take Away.
Alounak is my new fave place for take away. It is one of the few places that has healthy food to go. Of course they have unhealthy things too. The kebabs are indeed yummy, and they also have favorites like salad olivier (sp?), and a fresh salad with mint, goat cheese, walnuts, tarragon, etc.
I do recommend take away if you live in the area, as the restaurant is a bit dark.
My favourite restaurant in London. I've never really eaten Persian cuisine until I was introduced to this restaurant by my Iranian friend. If you like lamb this is the place to go. Make sure to bring your own wine from a nearby supermarket. I highly recommend the Saturday special and the mixed starters with their signature bread.
If you order a started and a main meal, you can expect to pay about £12-16 per person.
If you can, arrive before 7:30 pm. It gets really busy after that, especially on Friday and Saturday.
Honestly don't know if I am able to be that helpful on this since it was my first time trying Persian food, but I guess don't be afraid to go in and try something random because it will probably turn out pretty well. Nice, fitting decor and packed with Persian people, who unlike me, seemed to know what they were doing. Service was good since it's such a small restaurant.
I had the saffron marinated chicken dish which came in some tasty kebab-like chunks with salad and (since I had chosen the bread option) all wrapped up inside this giant flatbread. I'm glad I tried the bread since it was baked fresh in a stone oven by the door, but it was a huge and unwieldy and a bit plain with just the chicken. It probably does better with some hummus or toppings. Might return one day to try a lamb dish or one of their intriguing day-of-the-week specials.
I'd never been to a Middle Eastern restaurant before coming to Alounak.
The food was absoloutely superb, full of flavour, there was some veggie options available, for some reason I thought Middle Eastern food was all met but I was wrong.
My boyfriend and I ate really well for under £20 which is great in this area of town. I must say the staff were a little "brisk" and I felt like we were being rushed a bit, which I didn't appreciate.
This was a good experience but for me, the vibe was as good and although I enjoyed the food I'm not in a hurry to go back,
I consistently get the best meal in London here at this restaurant. It's probably one of my favorites. However, it's rather hit-or-miss with the service.
There are numerous times when I've asked for something and never receive it. And there are times when I don't ask for something and I do get it. The one thing that is consistent is their food. It's always good and always yummy.
The atmosphere in this restaurant is very warm and inviting. It's what lured me to this restaurant in the first place.
I highly recommend this place but just prepare for the service to be bad.
Lots of locals and families seem drawn to this place, and the place appropriately favors regulars. I echo the food reviews here about the lamb, bread, and tea . . . Very tasty! The rice and side salad we nothing special, but the main elements were a great treat.
So on the grand scale of zero to delicious, Alounak rates a delicious, for sure.
You just can't go wrong with the kabobs. I had the "Chicken Special" which was one skewer of the grilled chicken breast pieces, and one skewer of the lamb koubideh. The rice was absolutely perfect, and I subbed half the rice for salad Shirazi (tomato, cucumber and red onion) for £1 more.
My only gripes are that a) the kashk-e-bademjoon (oh my god, my Iranian family would be aghast at my attempts to spell this stuff) is less than stellar which is a HUGE issue for me, b) there was a line out the door... on a Wednesday... the whole time we were there, so I felt a little bit rushed by the wait staff, and c) why should bread be an extra charge when you've ordered various dips as apps?
Overall, good value for money, and be warned that you may have to stand in line to get in. But it's worth it!
The food here is fantastic.. I had the chicken/saffron/garlic kebab which I would go back for. The bread is yummy too!
The line was out the door when I was there for a late lunch...a busy, cozy little spot. Check it out
3 stars for food, 1 star for a great value. A lively place and not too fussy. A sit-down restaurant that's easy to afford.
My favorite dishes: eggplant with fried onions as a starter. It's smooth, crunchy, and onion-y.
When it's cold and rainy outside, what you really want is warm comfort food. And their grilled meats are exactly that.
There's even a fire-pit oven near the door where a guy stands making bread non-stop.
The place is BYOB so feel free to bring your own bottle of wine.
Gluten-free notes: Most dishes are naturally gluten-free. Sorry, no house-made bread for you.
Sadif is better imho. I doubt I will ever go to Iran but I doubt they enjoy salty rice. We liked it but I know there are better places out there. Tea was nice !
After re-reading all the glowing reviews the day after our meal, I'm starting to wonder if maybe we did something wrong, rather than the restaurant...
Okay I'm not Iranian or have never been there, but i really was expecting better, especially after so many people seem to love this place to pieces. The lamb (we tried both minced and marinated varieties) was not especially tasty and could even have been described as tough. It comes with rice and basic salad, nothing that exciting. Nice dips and bread and large portions the only redeeming feature of an otherwise over-hyped, lacklustre meal. A queue for half an hour to sit down and eat (although the food does come out speedily). Our last kebab experience was an Ockbasi place in Hackney and Alounak simply paled in comparison.
I wanted to like this place, i really did, but i just couldn't recommend it to anyone with a clear conscience...
This place is excellent. I've been coming here since about 1997, and never really tire of it.
The only downside to the place is that it's tiny, so often difficult to get seated without having to queue. Oh and if you need to visit the toilets during your visit, be prepared for a hike up several flights of stairs along narrow winding corridors. It's quite amusing actually, but you find them eventually!
I really like Middle-Eastern food because its not so hot or spicy and my most favourite Persian restaurant in town is the Alounak conveniently located in Westbourne Grove. Great meat (all of it is great, chicken or lamb, diced, sliced or minced!). Lovely saffron rice. Again great Naan bread - a must for a Persian restaurant in my view! The best of all is the Mast-o-khiar (like Tzaziki) cucumbers, thick yoghurt, garlic and mint,and the Torshi (pickles). The starters are unusual and delicious, as Persian food tends to focus more on the main course. Also try the herb salad with feta cheese and walnuts (Paneer Sabzi). I am not a great salad fan but the freshness of this was really delightful-nothing like some of the stale unappetising salads you can get in some restaurants.
A meal will cost you about 20 and its worth paying but its worth much more . Food never disappointed me, service is great, location is much more accessible and there's plenty to do after dinner in the area.
Downside? Always busy and restaurant doesn't accept reservations. Difficult to accommodate big groups but great for a date or a small group 2-6. Sometimes you have to wait outside until a table is free. Also no alcohol served.
Also if anyone is interested there's a great book shop nearby next to the Kufa Gallery called Al Saqi which has a variety of Arabic and English books centered around Middle Eastern culture
Beautiful/humble little resto with a really yummy menu. I've only been here once - a fact I'd like to change soon.
I have no idea how authentically Iranian the food is, but it's very satisfying and flavourful. Lots of stews and grilled meats. Great breads. Gorgeous fresh mint tea too. The dish with the okra (sorry I don't remember the name) was proper good and I'd go back just to have it again.
On a busy bit of Westbourne Grove, people watching from Alounak's giant windows is a delight. The staff are lovely too. One waitress went waaaay out of her way to make sure she was able to provide a thorough answer to a question my dining buddy asked. Prices are right considering the location and the quality of food.
I guess the only complaint that I might have during a future visit could be that there's a no-rez policy. I got lucky nabbing a table when I dined here. But by 8pm there was a queue out the door - which given it was actually freezing and snowing outside might give good indication of the kinds of crowds this place can attract!
The lamb chops were the best that I've ever had. Homous and fresh bread were a big hit for starters. Decent wine selection as well. I tried my friend's chicken plate and it was delicious, but the lamb chops clearly won in the taste department (they were just that good).
I stopped by for some persian food after the Notting Hill carnival. I tried the fresh baked bread with "Mirza Ghasemi" and Olivier salad. For main course I had the special kebob which is the fillet and ground kebob combo. Kebobs were really tender, juicy, and well seasoned. The "Mirza Ghasemi" was not fresh, but overall, the appetizers were great with the warm bread.
Simply put, this place offers excellent persian food. The only problem is that they don't take reservation as they try to get as many people in and out as fast as possible. I recommend this place.
Persian food is well represented in London (several Persian restaurants litter the area), but Alounak is probably the best of the kind.
The food is consistently fresh and delicious (my favorite is the chicken, lamb and kubideh combo, where the kubideh outshines the other two) and the pita they serve is freshly made to order in their little stone oven. The service is usually prompt, and in the times I've been there they've never messed up an order.
The only drawback is the decor which seems to have been neglected over time. Also, there's always a wait at the door, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour during prime dinner time.
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