Apr 212012

1120 Centre St NE. Calgary AB, p:(403)452-4050, w:shirazpersiancuisine.caMap it.

I arrived a little before my party at this Center Street eatery on the north side of the China Town bridge. I was immediately attended to and offered a large spacious booth adjacent to a pretty water fountain. The calming sound of falling water combined with the light ambient eastern music set a very relaxing, upscale mood. As I waited for my tardy party to arrive, I perused the dishes on offer which varied from the classic Persian kabobs to unique traditional Persian dishes I had not sampled before.

The space is tastefully decorated, with walls adorned with Persian artifacts and art. The classy black tables down the middle flanked by diner style booths give the place a character that would satisfy all walks.

We ordered the appetizer platter consisting of Kashk-e-bademjan, Mast-o-Khiar, Salad-e-Olivieh, and Dolmeh. The entire platter was accompanied by bite sized pieces of pita bread. The favourites were the Dolmeh and Kashk-e-bademjan.

The Dolmeh – a rice stuffed vine leaf, garnished with olive oil, mint and spices – is exquisite. Eaten in a single a bite, it releases a cacophony of flavours. The kashk-e-bademjan is one of the better eggplant dips I’ve ever had. The sweetness of the eggplant, caramelized onions and a hint of garlic ensure this dish is never left over. Every last bit was scooped up by the pita.

Our main courses consisted of Koobideh Kabob, Lamb Shank and Pomegranate Walnut Stew. All the courses were served with either saffron rice or dill and fava bean rice.

The Koobideh Kabob was also accompanied by some grilled tomato and onion. This skewered ground beef delicacy was tender and savoury and highlighted further by a light sprinkling of sumac (adds a lemony taste). Unfortunately, the flavours were too mild and didn’t leave a lasting impression.

The Lamb Shank was accompanied by the dill and fava been infused rice. The meat was tender, moist and fell away easily from the bone. The entire shank was served in a tomato based stew. It is a hearty and flavourful dish which leaves one yearning for another bite. It is well accompanied by the dill rice.

The Pomegranate Walnut Stew is a chicken dish. The ground walnuts release a fair bit of natural oil in a thirteen hour cooking process, which creates an oil slick over the entire dish. The chicken is so tender it literally falls apart with the nudge of a fork. The ingredients create a unique taste as the sweet and texture filled sensations intrigue and delight the taste buds. This dish is something else. I’ve never had anything quite like it, but I will come back for it.

The saffron rice that accompanied the majority of our dishes was disappointing. It is well cooked and presented, but the only hint of saffron is in the yellow tint of the rice. The large quantity served seems to compromise the saffron flavours and scents.

We ordered saffron ice cream, baklava and cardamom tea for dessert.

The pistachio infused ice cream, considered “One of the best 25 things to eat in Calgary”, is worthy of its claim to fame!

The sweet and nutty baklava, taken with the unsweetened cardamom tea, is also a fitting end to a very wholesome and flavourful meal.

The chef-owner of Shiraz regularly visits his patrons and shares his experiences. Strike up a conversation if you have time, he definitely has some interesting anecdotes.

Shiraz is one of the few halal places in Calgary that offers quality of service and ambience comparable to fine dining. It is a pleasure to dine here and the food will most likely have you coming back.

Shiraz Persian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

  9 Responses to “Shiraz Persian Cuisine – Calgary”

  1. AA,

    You did not specify how you arrived at the conclusion that this place served halal meat. From my experience, many understand halal as ‘no pork’, which is not necessarily the full picture. Care to elaborate on this? Thank you.

  2. We have confirmed the food is halal and verified the supplier with the owner. Some will not like the fact that the restaurant serves alcohol but it’s up to the individuals to decide whether or not to dine there. However, the food is Halal and that has been verified by a number of people.

  3. Ali Baba is a major staple in my healthy eating lifestyle. Thank you so much!

  4. The owner does not seem a trustworthy person:
    To all people who cares about Halal food: I would be cautious to eat here. There is no way that you care about Halal food and at the same time you serve Alcohol. Halal food is not all about providing Halal meat; it comes to the point if the person cares about it too. I would rather eat vegies or seafood in non-Halal restaurant where there is a trust.

  5. Hi halal food critic, i was just wondering how did you come to know it was halal ie did you ask the owner/chef, because it doesn’t say anything on their website.

    Thank you kindly,


    • Hi,

      The restaurant is halal. I have spoken with the owner and also the sign on the street has a very conspicuous halal sign on it.

      The owner is a pleasant talkative man and will be glad to confirm the origins of the food.


  6. This place serves beers & liquors. How can it be a halal restaurant?

    • Hi,

      Thank you for expressing your concern regarding the halal authenticity of a restaurant that serves alcohol. I see my role as the halal “food” critic, where I try the halal food and write about my experiences. I dont believe I am in a position to dictate halal practices and leave that up to the people who have dedicated a lot more time and effort in the study of islamic practices.

      However, I do thank you for pointing this out and trust that it will enable other readers to make an informed decision.


      • I hope this finds you in good health and spirit.I just moved to Calgary, so please forgive a comment to a two year discussion. As a Muslim one is obligated to abide by Islam at all times under all conditions. True, you cannot force the people to your opinions, and even to Allah’s will, but you can control your own actions when it comes to informing/promoting things in general. This is an inalienable responsibility on all Muslims.Salaam.

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