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Leon: A chic and friendly small restaurant in downtown Tehran


By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Fereshteh is an old friend of mine who is very kind.  Our mutual friend Papar was here for a short visit and they came to see me at my office and had some tea.  I asked where they were going and she said Leon!  I had been hearing about this restaurant in Aban street for some time from other people too.  Even though I could not join them for lunch that day, I decided to make it a must as soon as I could and in a less than a week we went there twice with family and friends. And here is my report on this small place with very friendly staff and good sitting and chic ambiance and easy parking, well only in the evenings, which is a family business and has been passed on from grandfather to grandson Bernard who runs it with others.

The first time we went early and since we did not have a reservation we had to wait for some time before we could be seated - even that was lucky.  The restaurant can handle three sets of diners every evening and it is usually packed even in mid week so I strongly recommend making a reservation and being on time!   I was most impressed with how hard the table hosts were working and how well they worked together which is most surprising and enlightening - I guess good management must be at work.

The restaurant was started by Mr Leon in 1960 and he was famous for joy of life and living.  He passed away in the late 90's and since then his grandson has taken it over and keeps his name and fame in place.  The establishment has changed from a bar-cafĂ© to a chic yet popular restaurant.

We loved the different house drinks, the Blue Sky and Mogito with a lot of fresh mint though Paul liked their Red delight with strawberries.  I found their offered cocktails which had a lovely purple color interesting and fun.  The salads were good and fresh and simple.  I quite liked their mushroom juliane starter and Paul liked the soup.  The steak was good and the next table's salmon steak smelt and looked great too so we shall order it next time.  The desserts were nice and looked lovely and (unfortunately for one's waist line) tasted quite appetizing.

The next time we tried their pizza but although they looked good they did not taste quite the same and the first time the potatoes for the dishes, except their deliciously lovely long chips, were a little under cooked.  The toilets were very clean and modern.  When we were leaving the second time we saw that their cooks are two ladies which I would love to have a chap with next time around.   Unusually the restaurant offers gift cards, so you can treat others to a meal.  So if you are in the city center and would like to have a meal, lunch or evening, in a nice and comfortable place, especially if you do not need to stay for long, why not try Leon and who knows who you will meet there, but be sure to call first and make a reservation.

Enjoy the meal, the ambience and the friendly staff at this rather high tech restaurant.

Leon, Karimkhane Zand Avenue, South Aban, Varsho Crossroad
88904625, 88930363, 88930364


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