Ariana Bundy Wants the World to Fall in Love with Persian Cuisine | Savoir Flair
Ariana Bundy Wants the World to Fall in Love with Persian Cuisine
by Haleh Nia 5-minute read June 14, 2023

Dubai's culinary scene welcomes Ariana's Persian Kitchen, a restaurant by the celebrated Iranian-American chef Ariana Bundy, known for her vibrant and wholesome Persian recipes. 

The culinary scene in Dubai just got more vibrant with the introduction of a remarkable new dining experience: Ariana's Persian Kitchen. This exceptional restaurant is the brainchild of the celebrated Iranian-American chef, Ariana Bundy, whose vibrant and wholesome Persian recipes have received widespread acclaim. Bundy, a culinary maven who has not only charmed the food world with her cooking finesse but has also won significant awards, has selected the bustling city of Dubai to host her new venture at the newly launched Atlantis the Royal Hotel on Palm Jumeirah.

Elegantly bridging the old and the new, Ariana’s Persian Kitchen is as much a cultural immersion as it is a restaurant. “We keep talking about how good Indian food is, how good Italian food is, and how good Turkish food is. Our [Iranian] influence is seen in so many other cuisines, so why is it that we’re not being showcased globally like others?,” Bundy shares with me as I visit to congratulate her on the new space. “Obviously, it’s because our country has been closed off for the past few decades. I also think the length of time it takes to make some of the dishes makes it quite difficult for people to want to duplicate it at home,” she continues.


As luck would have it, there was one person who did love and appreciate Iranian food as much as she did. That person? None other than Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, who personally reached out after watching Bundy’s cooking show. “His Highness invited me and my then-husband to his house for iftar, offering us a spot for my very first restaurant at the upcoming Atlantis the Royal. I told him I was honored but insisted on cooking for him instead,” she shares.

“I had just moved to San Francisco from Dubai but came back and ended up cooking 50 dishes for him and his group for lunch. They all loved it! Days later, we had signed the contract for the new space,” Bundy continues. “We Iranians really needed this. Dubai needed this.”


The genesis of Ariana's Persian Kitchen dates back to Bundy's deep-rooted fascination with her cultural heritage, a passion often reflected in her award-winning cookbooks, 'Pomegranates & Roses' and 'Sweet Alternative.' Her father, himself a famous restaurateur who helmed multiple restaurants in Beverly Hills and a pre-revolution Iran, was likely another influence. “My father never wanted me to be a chef or to go into the kitchen. He was an engineer by trade, but he loved food so much. He was a real visionary, but he knew how hard it was to operate a restaurant. But, now, if he could see me, he’d be happy because he’d know other people are managing the space while I focus mostly on the food,” she confesses.

Bundy's artistry is on full display in her menu, which promises a sensory journey through Iran's diverse culinary landscape. Signature dishes, such as the perfectly balanced fesenjoon (a succulent chicken dish simmered in a rich sauce of walnuts and pomegranates) and the sumptuous sabzi polo (herbed rice with white fish), give testament to her culinary prowess. Ariana’s Persian Kitchen also boasts an impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan options that uphold the chef's belief in inclusivity in the culinary world.


Of course, no Persian meal is complete without a touch of sweetness. The dessert menu features Persian classics like sholeh zard (a saffron rice pudding), and faloodeh, (a refreshing rosewater and lime sorbet laced with thin rice noodles). All the dishes served are a gastronomic ode to the historical richness and diversity of Persian cuisine, underpinned by a commitment to fresh, organic, and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Upon entering the restaurant, patrons are welcomed into a space that echoes an inviting blend of modern design elements fused with a touch of traditional Persian aesthetics. The ambiance beautifully mirrors the menu — a unique mix of contemporary and classic. The restaurant also features a tea lounge where guests can relax post-meal, savoring a variety of aromatic Persian teas alongside an array of delicate pastries. The experience is a nod to Iran's deeply rooted tea culture, enhancing the authenticity of the dining journey.


As patrons continue to relish her enchanting Persian offerings, Bundy is truly carving out a unique niche for herself in the gastronomic world. “I think I love food and eating and sharing meals with people more than anything. And I think that translates into what we see here today. Persian food should be celebrated and loved the world over. There’s wisdom behind it. Generations and thousands of years culminated in these recipes,” she says. Her ongoing success story is marked not just by award wins or restaurant launches, but by her enduring ability to weave Persian culinary magic and share it with the world. Here, every bite tells a story, every flavor narrates a tale, and every meal is a culinary journey of epic proportions. Your table awaits.

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