Best ethnic cuisine (other)
Tea steeps in a gold samovar. The scent of cumin fills the air as falafel fries to a crisp brown. Chef-owner Farah Oberlender works the grill herself, preparing tender chicken thighs in a spicy marinade.
Since it opened in May 2011, Burlington’s only Persian restaurant has quickly built up a loyal following. The food is pure home cooking, with a dash of magic. If service is a tad relaxed, it doesn’t detract from the cuisine’s powerful punch.
Many of Oberlender’s biggest fans love her Thursday-night buffets, when she lays out a table with nearly every item from the menu, and diners pay $15 each to partake. Not a bad deal for all the ultra-garlicky hummus, flavorful kebabs and flaky baklava you can eat
SEVEN DAYS: Do you ever see people massively overeat at the Thursday-night buffet?
FARAH OBERLENDER: Oh, yeah. We don’t watch people or check how many plates you have, but when college was on, some of the young people — my God! They come in and have three, four, five plates, and they love it!
2012 Runner-up: Duino! (Duende)
- 2009: India House