Azerbaijan International

Spring 2002 (10.1)

Dishing Up Azeri Cuisine
Mediterranean Cuisine in San Francisco ­ Pasha Restaurant

Above: San Francisco's Pasha Restaurant, known for its sumptuous decor and Middle Eastern dishes, is owned by an Azerbaijani from Iran.

For the past 15 years, diners in San Francisco have received the royal treatment at Pasha Restaurant, which is owned by Jalaleddin Takesh, an Azerbaijani from Iran. His menu features a wide variety of Middle Eastern cuisines, with a special emphasis on Turkish, Lebanese and Moroccan foods. Items include: pirzolah (rack of lamb), charbroiled kababs, moussaka, stuffed eggplant, kufta (meatballs), chicken tagine, couscous, dolma (stuffed grape leaves), b'steeya (chicken pie made with phyllo pastry) and baklava.

Pasha Restaurant is known for its luxurious decorations, which include brocaded cushions, tapestries and carpets from Azerbaijan. Waiters are dressed in fezes and shalvar [baggy pantaloons]. Takesh estimates that about 95 percent of the restaurant's clientele is American.

Left: Jalaleddin Takesh and his musical ensemble perform nightly at the restaurant.

Music plays an important part in the restaurant's atmosphere. Takesh and his ensemble provide live music and entertainment each night, complete with a belly dancer. Over the years, he has recorded seven albums of music, some of it for the kanun, a traditional stringed instrument from the region that's shaped like a dulcimer. His albums may be purchased at the restaurant.

Takesh's mother is originally from Baku, but left for Urmia, Iran in 1917, at the beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution. Takesh moved to the United States in 1964, studying to be an engineer until he decided to devote himself to music. He and his wife, Andrea, have been operating the restaurant since 1986.

To find out more about Pasha, contact: Jalaleddin Takesh, Pasha Restaurant, 1516 Broadway (west of Chinatown, between Van Ness & Polk), San Francisco, CA 94109. Tel: (415) 885-4477; (415) 885-4478; Open Tuesday-Sunday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.


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