Restaurants, Iranian Frognal

The Middle Eastern theme is glaringly obvious at this theatrically decked out restaurant. The interior is stuffed with decorative carpets, colourful cushions, gaudy chandeliers, taxidermy peacocks and faux Arab arches. It’s a somewhat dated decor, but we suspect Mahdi’s loyal, London-wide fans are more interested in the traditional, well-executed menu, amenable prices and huge portions. Sharing your food – standard practice in Iran – is made fun and simple here. A mixed grill platter is presented on a raised stand at the centre of the table. Glistening lamb and chicken kebabs are served alongside a colossal pile of white and saffron rice, plus light, crispy bread that’s baked to order in the tanoor by the door. Some dishes – such as a dolmeh felfel (stuffed pepper) starter – seem to value quantity over quality, but stick to the barbecued meats and it’s hard to go wrong. Service can be a little uneven; the gang of well-meaning and obliging waiters can be laid-back to the point of frustrating. You’ll be treated well, just don’t expect a quick turnaround. Then again, this is a place where families linger over mountains of food, spend time digesting with pots of aromatic tea and then waddle home with doggy bags.


Venue name: Mahdi
Address: 2 Canfield Gardens
Opening hours: Meals served noon-11pm daily
Transport: Tube: Finchley Road tube
Price: Main courses £4.90-£22.90. Set lunch (buffet) £7.90 Mon-Fri; £8.90 Sat, Sun
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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I have eaten at many Persian restaurants, however after deciding to have the buffet at Mahdi restaurant, I feel that it's the best one I have eaten at. The price you pay for the quality of food is great, the staff are friendly, and the environment is very relaxing. Would definitely recommend it!

Service wasn't great, looks nice from the outside but when you enter your perception changes quickly. Food was too much for one person to possibly consume.... I can see why some people would rate that highly. The best thing about the restaurant is their bread, they make it fresh for you in a tandoor style oven. Overall I'd rate it 5 out of 10. I wouldn't return, well if I did it would be to get some takeaway bread!

My husband and I just moved to London and ended up in Swiss Cottage. We've tried al the local restaurants, and Mahdi is our favorite! We eat there at least once a week. The portions are huge so you can share, and the prices are pretty unbelievable for the amount of high quality food you get. Succulent, marinated chicken and amazingly soft bread and hummous. My favorite restaurant in London.