Introduction to Naderi Cafe
Naderi Cafe is a well-known and one of the oldest and most nostalgic cafes in Tehran, located in the eastern part of Hafez Bridge, on the current Jomhuri Street (formerly Naderi Street). The Naderi cafe contains a very plain and old atmosphere, and after over 90 years of its life still is standing and has a lot of fans and customers. Most of the customers are poets, writers, and lovers of modern Iranian literature in the present era, or people who enjoy sitting on dark wooden chairs covered with green cloth and being in the nostalgic atmosphere of the cafe, which was once a hangout for unique literary figures.
In other words, cafes are the European form of traditional Iranian coffee houses that have entered the culture and lifestyle of Iranians in the last hundred years. Although coffee houses were formed in the Safavid period and have a relatively long history in Iran, cafes and cafeterias are a phenomenon of the last century and the entry into the modern period.
History of Naderi Cafe
In the first Pahlavi period, we saw the emergence of hangouts in the form of restaurants and guesthouses. Naderi Cafe was opened in the same style and context in 1927 A.D by an Armenian immigrant named “Khachik Madikians” who first started working as a confectioner. Gradually, it turned into a confectionery cafe, and after a while, it became a restaurant. Eventually, the hotel was built upstairs, completing the Naderi Cafe and Hotel Complex.
The hotel and cafe building has modelled on European buildings, specifically German, and was the second-largest hotel in Tehran after the Grand Hotel. The Naderi complex was called the Naderi Hotel-Restaurant, but due to the specific features of its cafe, it became more popularly known as the Naderi Cafe. The place caught fire for unknown reasons in the 1970s A.D, but that was not the end of it; Rather, it was rebuilt in a modern way because of the position it had taken at the time.
Naderi Cafe, the hangout for Iranian intellectuals
In the 1940s and 1960s A.D, the Naderi Cafe was a hangout for many prominent intellectuals, writers, and literary figures. The cafeteria tradition of Iranian scholars was influenced by the long tradition of cafeterias of European intellectuals, especially the French. In those years, Iranian literary and intellectual cafes were located in the centre of Tehran and around Naderi, Istanbul, and Laleh-Zar streets.
Famous personalities such as Nima Yooshij, Sadegh Hedayat, Ahmad Shamlou, Forugh Farrokhzad, Bozorg Alavi, Houshang Ebtehaj, Siavash Kasraei, Fereydoon Moshiri, Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, Simin Daneshvar, and many others, chose the cafe as their hangout. They sat around wooden tables and on brown Polish chairs, read newspapers, had coffee, held political and literary debates, and created outstanding works there.
Interestingly, everyone had their place in the Naderi Cafe, which was empty even in their absence. The table was always reserved and was used to receive artists, university professors, writers, and other superstars. The left wall of the place, called the Memorial Wall, is decorated with photographs of artistic and literary celebrities, which give the environment a phenomenal feel.
The Architecture of this Cafe
A significant feature of the place is the wooden and brown tables and chairs, some of which are very old Polish. Also, high wooden windows facing the yard and crimson curtains are prominent features of Naderi Cafe.
The Naderi complex consists of three main parts. The Naderi hotel, where rooms are located on the upper two floors of the building and contain a separate door and a spectacular lobby. The Naderi pastry is in the middle of the building, closed for several years. Naderi Cafe and Restaurant also consist of two separate halls adjacent to each other and include 140 people span. The first hall is for the cafe, to the right of which is the box and the place for preparing orders, and the second hall is the restaurant, which contains a capacity of about 50 people, and 15 tables for two, four, and six people are arranged in the space.
There is also a large courtyard full of tall trees in the building as if it were once a summer restaurant, and celebrations were held there. The courtyard of the building has not been active for about three decades.
The unique menu and pleasant atmosphere
The introduction letter of the cafe, which is placed next to the entrance, mentioned that for the first time, Western food such as Beef Stroganoff, Beefsteak, Chateaubriand, and drinks like Turkish coffee, French coffee, and even Glaze coffee, has offered to Iranians in the cafe.
According to the claim, these foods have an influential presence on the menu of the Naderi restaurant. The most important dishes of the restaurant are Chateaubriand, Steak, Fillet Taveh, Marshall, Schnitzel, Gigot, and Beef stroganoff. Bean pilaf with fish and muscle, Barberry pilaf, and grilled chicken are also among the dishes on the menu of the Naderi restaurant. You can also order Borscht soup or the specific barley soup for appetizers.
The menu of Naderi Cafe also includes a variety of teas (black, green, sour, masala), milk (hot, cold, cinnamon-honey, and cocoa), hot chocolate, coffee (Turkish, French, Greek, mocha, espresso), cappuccino, latte, and Nescafe is visible. The cafe’s cold drinks include Naderi special ice cream, various milkshakes, and glaze.
These days the Naderi cafe is run by Khachik Madikian grandchildren, and all of the waiters are 40- to 50-year-old Armenian men, and the dishes, tables, and chairs in the place hold the shape of their first years. Although the Naderi Cafe keeps a simple atmosphere compared to other cafes, it still retains its enthusiastic fans after over 50 years.