By Iman Sadri
October 2, 2023
A month ago I was in Vegas having drinks with retired 7 year NFL Pro Shar Pourdanesh when I got a call from my friend Dr. Kaveh Karandish who was calling from Irvine. We were in a bad cell phone reception spot at the Caesar’s when Kaveh and I were talking dining options. With the muffled phone reception what I heard was, ‘Great new Persian-Latin fusion restaurant. Aria.’ The phone abruptly ended with a lost signal. Unable to reach Kaveh several hours later I found myself at the Aria Resort. I went to the concierge and asked where the new Persian restaurant is. The concierge gave me a dumbfounded look.
I called Kaveh again and was able to get a hold of him this time. ‘Amoo, I am the Aria Resort. There is no Persian-Latin fusion restaurant here.’ Kaveh replied in a perplexed tone, ‘Amoo, no, not a Persian restaurant at the Aria Resort but a new restaurant called Aria Kitchen in Irvine.’
Forty eight hours later back in Orange County, my first order of business was to have dinner at the brand new Aria Kitchen in Irvine. I was amazed at the decor, with its white marble bar that illuminates. Its atmosphere is spacious with modern furniture, high ceilings, wooden flooring and glass windows that partition the restaurant into different seating arrangement areas. Sitting at the bar with Kaveh, I ordered a Lavender Dream martini. A concoction of vodka, elderflower, lavender and butterfly pea extract which was magnificent.
Aria Kitchen’s menu is Persian-Mexican Fusion or Med-Mex, an innovative concept combining the best of both culinary worlds from Iran and Mexico. The empanadas are one of the many examples of how ingredients from the two regions are combined. Barberry and yogurt dip are added with chicken to give the pastry a savory taste. The taquitos have feta cheese added to them. The sopes have feta cheese and labneh added to the mix. In fact, each dish on the menu at Aria Kitchen is literally and figuratively a mixture of Persian and Mexican flavors.
The guacamole at Aria has pomegranate and feta crumbs mixed in. The menu at Aria consists of a splendor of starters, lunch bowls, salads, soups, poultry, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, fajitas, seafood, beef and lamb. The wine list is second to none with some of the best blends from Paso Robles and other vineyards. The specialty cocktails are one of the many reasons to frequent Aria as often as you can. The names of the drinks are as elaborate as their ingredients. The Ambulance Chaser cocktail, is made of watermelon, mint, club soda and tajin. But you don’t have to be a personal injury attorney with a billboard on the 405 to enjoy one. The Silk Road Negroni would make Marco Polo proud. The Saffron Spritz is reason to go everyday to Aria for a nightcap. The margarita list is also elaborate and each drink is uniquely delicious. Try the Shirin, made with Blanco Tequila, strawberries and Aria’s handmade margarita mix.
Aria Kitchen is the brain child of the Ariarad sisters, Mahta and Ana. They are the scions of a Persian culinary family legacy. Their father, owned Caspian Restaurant and Super Irvine market. Mahta and Ana are co-owners of the famed Irvine Grill, which is the most highly rated and reviewed Persian Restaurant in Orange County.
Don’t miss out on Aria Kitchen and make it your go-to destination for meals and drinks to savor.
@AriaKitchen 2636 Dupont Dr, Irvine, CA 92612 (949) 932-0620