Restaurants, Iranian Upper Holloway
© Britta Jaschinski

Gilak’s workaday decor – dark wooden furniture, whitewashed walls dotted with photos of the Caspian Sea, a cabinet of dusty knick-knacks – is rather spartan, though mellow Persian melodies and fairy lights are preferable to the muzak and harsh overhead lighting we’ve experienced here in the past. The kitchen specialises in the cuisine of Gilan, the northern Iranian province bordering the Caspian Sea, and much of the menu has a briny tang. Smoked mackerel pops up unexpectedly in a whole range of dishes, alongside the usual pomegranate, dried limes and dried plums. Starters of kale kabab, a blend of aubergine, fresh herbs and tangy pomegranate juice, and salad olivieh, a Gilani rendition of russian salad, didn’t disappoint on flavour but were served too chilled, and the presentation was unimaginative: two bowls of beige mush. Mains worked better: zereshk polow ba morgh (tender braised chicken with saffron rice, exotic sweet-sour barberries and chopped almonds and pistachios), and kabab momtaz (melt-in-the-mouth chicken and succulent lamb, in a zesty marinade, grilled to perfection, served with fluffy rice dotted with saffron). Gilak is a perfectly good local but lacks the atmosphere to transport diners away from the noisy Holloway Road outside.



Venue name: Gilak
Address: 663 Holloway Road
N19 5SE
Opening hours: Meals served 11am-10.30pm Mon-Fri; noon-10.30pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: Archway tube or Upper Holloway rail
Price: Main courses £6.99-£14.50. Set meal £42 (minimum 4)
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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:3
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I have been in many type of restaurants in 25 countries but this Persian restaurant was the worst ever I have tried. They charge relatively high prices for kebabs but quality.... sucks!!! Anyways, I finished my food but unfortunately I had to buy a take away food from its next door for my kid. 

What a fantastic find thanks to the Timeout card, which gives you 20% off here. Gilak offers authentic persian food from North Iran. Fantastic service at extremely affordable prices (even more so with the discount!) The aubergines as starters were supreme with flat bread. I highly recommend the mined lamb/chicken fillet kebab which was succulent and tender. Next up was the grilled sea bass which was cooked to perfection with not a hint of bones caught in teeth! Magnificent! To top it all off was the unique saffron/pistachio/rosewater ice cream with warm chocolate fudge cake. This place is highly recommended!

TINY portions! There was a lot of rice to stuff ourselves, however there was just a bit of meat - it looked as a SAMPLE rather than a meal. Salad? It was just a decoration!

I am 12 years old and me and my brother Sam (aged 9) want to recommend this restaurant to kids who like things like curry and kebabs. Try this food because you will love it. My favourites are the chicken kebabs and the minced lamb ones. The restaurant owners are really friendly and nice too, but if you can't make it to the restaurant they do takeaway too. Enjoy! :)

Amazing and authentic Northern Iranian food cooked and served with passion. I'm a local who'd never tasted Persian food before, but I've become a regular. The kebabs are always a great bet, especially for less adventurous types and kids, but the stews are my personal favourite. Excellent.

We used to have curry regularly, but we now seem to have switched to Iranian food because of Gilak. Even our kids aged 9 and 12 love it, which surprised us given that the flavours are quite unusual and take some getting used to. We're all hooked now. Gilak's standards are consisently high, whether you're eating in or taking away. And if you order home delivery it always comes quickly. The meat is excellent quality and it's just delicious. We love Gilak!

Wasn't very impressed with this at all if I am being honest. Food was cold when it arrived and the portions were very small. Had to re heat the food myself.

The absolute worst restaurant experience of my life! The delivery was late, the portions were tiny, the delivery man was rude and when a complaint was made to the manager he was also rude and threatening. I would steer well clear of this place if I was you!!!

good meal price ok nice service. Im tyhe critic for food on ALL THATS IN THE WORLD and I rate this

Being half-Iranian, I have eaten in most of London's Persian restaurants and visit Iran itself annually, so feel well-placed to judge Persian cuisine. I think Gilak is very very good - the food is great quality and very good value. The service is great too. We will come back!

I have eaten in most of London's Persian restaurants and visit Iran itself annually, so feel well-placed to judge Persian cuisine. I think Gilak is very very good - the food is great quality and very good value. The service is great too. We will come back!

I've been to Gilak restaurant few times and I can highly recommend it. The food was absolutely delicisous and the service was great too. They offer large selection of stews but my favourite has to be Mirza Ghasemi (smoked augergines, egg, tomato and garlic with rice and smoked fish and olives . If you want to experience authentic north iranian food this is the place to go.

As an Iranian with knowlage of food and having twice food from this resturant I rate the food ok but nothing special , usual stuff , not enough chicken or meet in the main meal. Odered Xmas meal over the phone to take away for six + Starters and salads + other bits , totald over £100 and was collected by cab , no knoife and fork was supplied ( was mess to eat as we could not get any near us ), price was the same as eating in the resturant , they have 20% off promotion for Xmas on the main meal was never discounts ! Phoned them up for these points, no refund given and not even an apology given ! My experience with this restaurant was extremely poor. I cannot believe the posetive reviews for this resturant .

Food very aromatic and very true to Persian cuisine I had in Iran. Aubergine dip the best I've ever had, portions are good and service friendly. Not expensive either. Hard to find fault with it.

We were new to the Persian cuisine, and we got the best introduction in this new Highgate place. The flavours are so different than any other food we've had before. Aubergine heaven. So delicate. The service was very good and friendly. We will come back!

I just stopped in because I was hungry and wanted to get out of the rain, and was blown away by one of the best meals I have had in a long time. the variety of reviews on here is astounding - did we go to different restaurants?

Went saturday night and quite disappointed. Ordered a vegetarian dish which sounded like lots of vegetables, but instead it turned out to be like a bowl of pesto with too much of a mint taste. I thought the staff didn't take feedback seriously which is a shame as it was extremely quiet and could be good with a bit more effort.

One of those meals when you are relieved that the kitchen has ignored the McDonalds fan who left the last review. Gilak remains a hidden jewel in unlovely Holloway, whose staff, food and pricing deserve more attention. The lamb with a sour pomegranate sauce is beautiful and ask for the sumac spice (not the salt cellar) that transforms it. The impeccably sourced Prosecco is well-priced and the service is unobtrusive but charming. I'm a local, and apart from St John's, Gilak has no competition.