TEHRAN, Iran, Feb. 28, 2008 -- Even without bars and clubs in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the capital city of Tehran still has its hip haunts – mostly restaurants and cafes, which stand in for other nightlife hangouts.
At a time when Iran is the focus of potential new sanctions and attention over its nuclear program, Tehran's social life doesn't seem to be suffering a slowdown. While Iranians are known for their all-out house parties, some with contraband cocktails, Iranians are increasingly drawn out to Tehran's budding eateries and hot spots.
Some are traditional while others look like they could be in Paris, New York or Tokyo – fitting for Iran's youth bulge (by one estimate the country has 20 million people under the age of 20).
In part because no alcohol is served, eating out is an affordable affair for most out-of-town visitors. Below is an introduction to some of Tehran's classic and contemporary locales.
Dizi Restaurant is at #16 Mousa Kalantari St, at Iranshahre Shomali-Karimkhan St. Telephone: +98 21 88810008
Shouka Café is at Gandi Shopping Center, 1st Floor. Telephone: +98 21 88792036
El Café is at Gandi Shopping Center, 1st Floor Telephone: +98 21 88792926.
Boulevard is at 3 Nahid Blvd, off Valiasr St. Telephone: +98 21 22051947
Armenian Club Restaurant
The Armenian Club is at 100 Nofel Loshato St, at Khark St. Telephone: +98 21 66700521
Ragbar is at Valinejhad Street and Valiasr Ave,.next to Khashayar Park. Telephone: +98 21 88885544
SPU is at Darakeh Square in Northern Tehran. Telephone: +98 21 2241 9494 http://www.spu-restaurant.com
Nayeb is at 1030 Valiasr Ave, across from Saii Park, Telephone: +98 21 88713474 http://www.nayeb.com
Bistengo is at the Raamtin Hotel, 1081 Valiasr Avenut, just South of Saai Park. Telephone: +98 21 88554409
Yalda Moiery contributed to this article.