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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Middle Eastern
Casual restaurant

Sun–Thu 11:30am–9:30pm
Fri–Sat 11:30am–10:00pm

Features Live music, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


3300 W. Anderson Ln.
Austin, TX
(512) 420-2222
Belly dancers and fine Persian food dress up a strip-mall night out

Although this neighborhood’s not far from a couple of great, mostly take-out Middle Eastern joints, Alborz is the rare somewhat-elegant dinner option. It makes the usual strip-mall stabs at upscale: white tablecloths, windows swathed in wine-colored drapery, lots of (fake) plants, twinkling lights, Persian music, and belly dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. But Iranian travel posters and a few knick-knacks bring it solidly back into the realm of the neighborhood ethnic restaurant.

The à-la-carte menu is best left to the evening, when you won’t mind spending in the high teens for each; the extremely popular lunch buffet is only around $10, and includes about 30 dishes, many with a lightly fruity touch. Parsley-heavy tabbouleh is peppered with tiny sweet currants, and sour cherry rice has a faint tartness. Chicken kebabs are moist, and ground beef shish kebabs are mouthwateringly garlicky, although a bit dry; tender leg of lamb is best. The best of the stews, gormeh sabzi, is rich with beef and black kidney beans. There’s also a lively array of salads, with fresh-tasting ingredients like lentils and mint.

Don’t count on the ho-hum wine list; better to brave the $12 corkage fee and bring in something you’re excited about (this cuisine pairs with a wide range). Dessert’s a little too rosewater-soapy, but there’s enough sweetness in this meal to suffice.

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