Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on February 24, 2024
San Francisco’s Mission District Welcomes Komaaj Mazze & Wine Bar with Northern Iranian FlairSource: Instagram / @KamaajFood

The Mission neighborhood of San Francisco just got a dash of Northern Iranian flavor with the opening of the new Komaaj Mazze & Wine Bar. According to a statement obtained by Eater San Francisco, the latest venture from Hanif Sadr, the founder of Komaaj Food Group, aims to showcase the rich culinary traditions of his homeland with an emphasis on regional mazze—an assortment of small, shareable plates—and wines from the Caucasus region.

Fulfilling a long-nurtured vision, Sadr has transformed a once familiar space—previously Good Frikin' Chicken—into a multifunctional hub that also houses a preservation lab, catering business, and marketplace. It now entertains patrons with evening dining options and a wine list curated largely towards Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and northern Iran. "I never wanted to have a super classic restaurant," Sadr told Eater, revealing an ambition to truly foster a cultural and culinary nexus rather than simply following the latest dining trends.

The menu tantalizes the senses with five unique mazze choices such as cucumber salad with Persian cucumbers and a Dalar dressing, as well as a sumac yogurt dip and an eggplant and walnut concoction served with traditional flatbread. As reported on Eater, diners can also indulge in hearty main dishes, including a vegan fire-roasted garlic eggplant bowl and a pomegranate rice and chicken dish that encapsulates the essence of Northern Iranian gastronomy, according to Sadr. The Rasht Mazze Platter, designed to feed a group of four, collates multiple menu items into one flavorful experience.

Not only does Komaaj offer a voyage into the world of mazze and Iranian mains, but it also serves to pair each dish with a wine selection that resonates with the food's origins. Siavash Kouchek, Komaaj’s wine director has managed to carefully select bottles not only from California and Europe, but with a heavy influence from the wider region surrounding Iran. In a statement shared by Eater, Kouchek described his wine list as a cultural journey, including choices from winemakers representing marginalized communities like Palestinian American and Armenian vintners.

Those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages need not feel excluded. Komaaj offers unique drinks championing Iranian traditions, such as sharbats and a rose black tea, to seamlessly accompany the dining fare. These beverages are more than just trendy, as Sadr explained to Eater; they are integral to the culture he strives to represent at his establishment. Guests can visit Komaaj Mazze & Wine Bar from 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, revealed by Sadr on Instagram.

Since its inception as a series of pop-up dining events, Komaaj Food Group has significantly expanded. The company's website explains that it now encompasses dining, catering, and a bazaar offering a plethora of Northern Iranian products. From office platters to home treats, Komaaj aims to bring a slice of the Caspian Sea region's tastes and traditions to San Francisco.