So, where exactly is Persia? Well, if you asked Xerxes in 479 BCE, he would have told you, “Apparently, everywhere but Greece.”

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Today, the remnants of the culture can be found in Iran, parts of Afghanistan and even at a few sites in Egypt. Oh, and at Shiraz étterem on Raday Street. You definitely enter a different world when you enter Shiraz. The first thing I saw were the hookahs and the big, comfy places to smoke them.

Yes, there are water pipes here, and the selection of teas to imbibe with your puffing pleasantries is outstanding. The food is very authentically Persian in nature, though owing much of its inspiration to modern Iranian cuisine. The food will seem familiar to most visitors from Budapest, but not for long.

The attention paid to spicing and cooking in an authentic Persian way is obvious. Think in terms of kebab if you like, but I will stick to Polo and Khoresh (which I heartily recommend). As you eat, think of the old overland spice trade routes that brought bountiful riches to the land Cyrus rose from to conquer.

A special treat awaits you here too. Just as your ruminations on a long-lost civilization begin to blur with your last viewing of The 300, you’ll be treated to a belly dancing performance. The coup de grace on your memories of the dreary and bleary outside comes in a trance induce by wriggling flesh. Enjoy.

— Shiraz Perzsa Étterem , IX. Budapest, Ráday U. 21. @ Mátyás U., Tel: 06 1 218-0881,

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