When our mother, Aghdas Zoka-Bina, returned to the U.S. from Azerbaijan,Iran in 1995, she brought with her a bag of black pepper, along with dried lemon, rose petals, sumaq, barberries, plums, saffron, and garlic marinated in vinegar for 35 years. “Why bring black pepper when it is so easily available here?” we asked. Mom sprinkled a pinch on our fingers and told us to taste it. The flavor exploded in our mouths. Our mother just smiled and nodded.
At Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill, the only Eastern Mediterranean restaurant of its kind, we use ingredients, staples of our parent’s from native Azerbaijan in northwest Iran, to recreate the home style Persian cuisine we grew up with.
In Persian culture, hospitality and community are values shared by rich and poor alike. For us dinner time is a social centerpiece that extends well beyond the family. Two or three nights a week, our mother would welcome between 20 and 50 guests for dinner. Other nights, we’d share this ritual in other homes. Since the women each prepared different specialties, these meals featured an incredible variety and abundance of foods, along with traditional wines, beer and vodka. The Persian dishes we serve at Lala Rokh vary from region to region, with different spices and flavorings adding each area’s unique accent.
Located at 97 Mt. Vernon Street, Lala Rokh –¬†nestled in the historic and charming Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston – is truly a doorway to another world. Our name is the title of an epic romance by the 19th century poet Thomas Moore. In it, he tells the story of Lala Rokh, which means Tulip Cheeks, a beautiful young princess on a journey of love and discovery. The book is the very epitome of European fantasies about the East. And our decor-which includes our family’s collection of Persian miniatures from the 14th to the 16th century, calligraphy from the 8th to the 16th century, as well as European maps and views of the region from the 16th to the 19th century-adds to the atmosphere of romance.
Here at Lala Rokh we attempt to please your soul by pleasing the senses. This by what you see (the museum quality art), smell (directly imported herbs and spices), hear (Persian melodies) and taste (centuries old recipes recreated). Everyday at Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill, we are truly welcoming each dining guest into our home. We offer a wide selection of international wines specifically chosen to complement our cuisine and a full array of malts and spirits.


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