By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
So much happens in Tehran these days that I think somehow people have got the point that things are the way they are, and so they try to make the best of a 'bad' situation. And now they are getting the knack of doing what should be done. One of the new wonders that we can enjoy these days in Tehran are the very nice cafes that are sprouting in all corners of the city. The good news is that usually such nice places would open only in up town areas, and generally speaking they were places that the young met, rather than ordinary people of all generations, who manage to steal a short time in their crazy rushed daily lives in this city of 12 million and see a friend, an old colleague, a distant relative, or even a former love, someone they were at school or university with, at a place to chat and forget the madness outside for a while, in peace and quite of a nice and acceptable place.
Recently I have been introduced to two such wonders in the heart of Tehran, both in or in side streets of Karim Kkhan Zand Avenue. Since I made this discovery, whenever I have a visitor here, I take them to these places. Previously, we only had the coffee shop at the Artists' Forum in Iranshaahr Street; but that has gone down in style but not in service still. Besides one needs to go to different places at different times. The past few times that I have been there, I can't say the ambiance felt as good as it used to. Hopefully it will change for better this time again.
Back to good news. There is a new cafe at No. 161, corner of Karaim Khan and Mirzaye-Shirazi, top floor of Cheshmeh [spring] Publishing bookstore. This is a very inviting, well designed, well lit and properly decorated as well as well managed place; and it feels just right to go upstairs and have a coffee or tea or and a bite to eat -but watch out those stairs when you're coming down! This cafe's home-made cakes are yummy. This place is called Cafe' Ketab [Book Cafe'] and it is run and managed by Sima, a wonderful and cheerful lady, and two other ladies who assist her. All three have university education and are extremely kind and polite. For the first time in a long time, and in real sense of the word, the standards of those who operate and serve in such a place is at least as good as the customers, if not higher. And that's the secret to their success. Many poets, writers, educators, journalists and film makers are their regular customers. The students of course come there too. The atmosphere is very casual, polite, friendly and relaxed. The prices are very reasonable. Many writers or poets come there to read out their new work, the cafe is open from 10 am to 9 pm.
The other place is Cafe 78 at Aban street. This cafe serves exceptional nice teas, herbal and special teas and Sherbet [Sharbat] as well as tasty toasted sandwiches. I like its small and square tables, and there are high chairs around the counter that you can sit if you are on your own. Very nice place, and they allow smoking cigarettes too. I strongly advise you to visit these new wonders, and hopefully many others that these success stories offer, next time you are in Tehran.
I have taken some picture from cafe Ketabb that I'ver shared with you here so you can see for yourself.
... Payvand News - 5/7/04 ... --