For a number of reasons which will become clear, my favourite restaurant in Esfahan has to be the Naqsh-e Jahan Traditional Restaurant (or Banqueting Hall as the sign outside reads).
Now this is not the most sophisticated place to eat, but I love it because it is situated right next door to the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and if you manage to get a “tahkt” or eating platform on the terrace, the dome of the mosque overlooks you whilst you eat. It is a wonderful view.
A tahkt is a raised eating platform surrounded on three sides by a frame and supporting cushions for your comfort. To eat on a tahkt, you first remove your shoes then climb aboard and wait to be served. The service in this particular restaurant was excellent, very quick and attentive. Nothing was too much trouble and photographs were invited which was handy.
The toilets were very clean, but the sign on the wall was amusing!
The view and the eating experience more than compensates for the limited menu; a choice of 8 starters and 8 main courses all traditional Iranian dishes and all delicious if my choice was anything to go by. The main meal is followed by “chayi nabaat” typically Earl Grey tea served without milk but with saffron infused crystallised sugar. Yes the opening hours are a little erratic, but it is well worth taking the small diversion from the main Naqsh-e Jahan Square to see whether it is open and serving lunch. I recommend a visit not just for the food, of which there was plenty for even those with large appetites, but also to admire the view and the internal décor.
A must-do experience for me and only a stones throw away from the Bazaar. The perfect location!