Behesht Café
By Hanieh Khosroshahi

Welcome to a Little Slice of Iran

You don’t have to travel to Iran to experience its diverse and vibrant culture. With delicious homemade dishes and traditional antique design, Behesht Café, situated in the heart of Richmond Hill, is the perfect place to soak up a little bit of Iran.

Leila and Hamid Bakhtiari opened Behesht Café in August 2013. Its great menu offers traditional Persian delicacies, prepared by Leila herself, such as ash reshte a thick soup, kashke bademjoon, an eggplant dip garnished with fried mint and onions, as well as classic dishes such as grilled kabobs. Behesht, which means "heaven" in Farsi, has an interior that reflects the authentic and traditional Iranian culture. It was designed by Leila and Hamid, and their goal was to provide a setting that was, as Leila put it, “completely Persian”.

Iran is known for many things, including tea, rugs and poetry, all of which you can find around the café. Lines from the poetry of the great Persian Sufi poet Rumi are painted on the walls in beautiful calligraphy. Many of the paintings and tablecloths have been brought back from Iran, and Persian samovar’s can be found around the café as well.

We wanted to provide a place where youngsters can come to have fun, relax and let loose. - Hamid Bakhtiari, owner
Behesht Café, Persian food including kabobs, Persian tea, shisha/hookah in flavours including pomegranate, mint, and cola.
Tables, covered with Persian rugs, can be found all over the café.

Sit Back and Relax

A shisha, or hookah, is a water pipe used for smoking flavoured tobacco, and has made Behesht Café a go-to spot for regulars. The pastime is a favourite among Iranians and Middle Easterners, and is gaining popularity among other nationalities in the city. With a variety of flavours including pomegranate, mint and cola, smoking shisha is a social activity that’s relaxing and affordable. “We wanted to provide a place where youngsters can come to have fun, relax and let loose,” Hamid says.

In addition, traditional tables, covered with hand-woven Persian rugs and accompanied by pillows for back support, are very popular among those who wish to experience a setting that reminds them of old-fashioned shisha and coffee houses found in Iran approximately 200 years ago.

Behesht Café, Persian food including kabobs, Persian tea, shisha/hookah in flavours including pomegranate, mint, and cola.
A pond sits in the centre of Behesht Café, an integral part of Iranian architecture, courtyards and old houses.

Diversity is Key

Behesht café displays Iran’s many distinct and exciting customs and traditions, making it a place Iranians and non-Iranians alike can enjoy. Whether it’s to smoke shisha, grab a drink, or indulge in a meal filled with authentic flavours and spices, Behesht has something for everyone. With Iranian music playing in the background, you can sit back, sip on some steeped Iranian tea, and enjoy playing a game of tables with your friends. Who said heaven can’t be found on earth?

Behesht Café, Persian food including kabobs, Persian tea, shisha/hookah in flavours including pomegranate, mint, and cola.
Smoking a shisha, or hookah, comes in many different sizes, designs and flavours, and is a common social activity amongst Iranians.
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