Raffi’s Place is an iconic Persian-Armenian restaurant in Glendale, Calif.
Entering through the front doors still keeps you “outside,” as the tables start in an outside pavilion-style of dining. To avoid judging a menu by its cover, let’s turn to page one – the appetizers.
The ikra, a dish made with eggplant, tomato sauce and garlic, was fantastic. It’s complemented by a nice smoked taste and was the best appetizer of the evening. Other appetizers were mediocre at best. For instance, the hummus was too dry and it seemed to miss the tahini. The tabbouleh wasn’t bad, but there was an overwhelming amount of lemon and the parsley was cut too coarsely. Good tabbouleh, which is a regional staple, benefits from a finer technique.
The soups and salads section of the menu boasted at least one big hit.
While the shirazi salad was just okay (again, too much lemon), vegetarians in the crowd will appreciate the ash-e reshteh. This soup is a complex dish and a Persian new year tradition. It’s made with fresh vegetables, noodles, pinto beans and whey (kashk), and is flavored with sautéed garlic and mint. We’d go back for this one.
The entrees were done right. For meat eaters, this is the reason to frequent Raffi’s Place. In particular, the lamb and luleh kabobs were both excellent platters. The meat juices enrich the sides of rice and barbecued vegetables.
Raffi’s Place is a little overpriced for a student’s budget and may not be a first-date venue. The atmosphere is quite lovely, the decor tasteful, and the servers quick and efficient. The food is good, but some areas in the menu were just average.
Overall rating? Three out of five stars.