Aalighapoo restaurant in Tehran has the best live program I’ve seen in Iran. There may be others that I haven’t seen and parts of its live program are old but overall visiting it is a great experience.
I won’t talk much about food because it’s good and food has to be good in Iran otherwise people won’t go just for the program. Suffice to say that they do serve sanction busting chelo kabobs!
The live program consists of several musical bands and singers which cover the whole night as the entire program starts about 9PM or so and ends around midnight.
The restaurant advertises itself as an “international” restaurant which as you can see from the pictures has various flags from different countries on its stage. This doesn’t mean they have international music, wish they did, but it means during the program the host comes to the stage and introduces their foreign guests and adds their flags to their tables. We saw guests from Norway, France, China, Malaysia, Netherland and UK. The Chinese guests were very vocal and animated, protesting while "dancing" Iranian when their name wasn't the first one called! Once again there were no foreign guests during the hardline el presidente Ahmadinejad but under moderate President Rouhani we may even end up with dancing in these types of restaurants!
The best part of the program is the trio of tonbaks and daf which goes into solo performances and the best part is the daf. It’s unbelievable, the best I’ve seen. The young guy who plays the daf also does a sick tonbank. Perhaps someday he’ll play in larger stages as this restaurant is too small of a stage. The guy with Kamanche is also very good and he led a band for part of the program playing classical music.
If you want to see his play check out Anthony Bourdain’s TV episode about Iran and fast forward to about 37:44 mark and you can hear them and then in 38:19 you see him! Awesome!
While you’re watching Bourdain’s clip take a look at how real tah-chin is made at 34:19 as some Iranians here confuse kate-mast with tah-chin! Take a look at how it’s done professionally!
And then towards the end this older guy with jet black hair comes along and plays the lalezar music and it’s no good. What good is lalezar music without Shourangiz Tabtabai with mini skirt dancing to it?! It’s like non-alcoholic beer, belly dancing music without a belly dancer, does nothing for you!