Irvine Grill, run by sisters Mahta and Ana Aria, serves distinctive Persian fare at Quail Hill Shopping Center.

Sisters serve up Persian recipes

by MARGARET SHORT

There’s no taste like home. That’s the spirit underlying the delicious success of Irvine Grill.

Open in Quail Hill Shopping Center since last autumn, the neighborhood didn’t take long to discover the kitchen here dishes up some of the finest Persian fare for miles. Sisters Mahta and Ana Aria know Irvine’s lay of the land well since they essentially grew up in their father’s iconic Super Irvine market, a cherished source of homeland and international groceries since 1996.

Given their prepared foods were long popular at the market cafe since 2016, the sisters advanced the idea to its next level – a full-service restaurant. They designed the 80-seat Irvine Grill as just the place to gather and enjoy a wide range of Persian classics inspired by family recipes.

“My sister and I serve the family recipes passed down for generations – from my grandmother to my father to us,” Mahta says. “Our parents always cooked very authentic and delicious meals, so we grew up learning and recreating the same recipes.”

The all-day menu is notably inclusive with its variety of generously portioned appetizers, grilled kabobs, rice and stews. Mahta says Beef Barg (charbroiled filet mignon skewers) is a top seller. Fesenjan Stew is also a customer favorite – a soulful mixture of chicken long-simmered in a walnut-pomegranate sauce. Shallot yogurt with fresh bread is the No. 1 appetizer and a steal at happy hour, offered weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m. Three-course lunch specials start at $10 and are available midweek.

Thanksgiving offers seasonal sides such as autumn pear salad, maple-roasted sweet potatoes or fingerlings with mushrooms. Year-round takeout specials include the Aria Platter that feeds four to six. Don’t forget dessert – no one says no to pistachio saffron ice cream or fresh baklava.

Charbroiled chicken with Tahchin and Shiraz salad.