This Atlanta Restaurant Embraces Its Founder’s Iranian Roots


Red-orange velvet chairs stud square dark wood tables in this restaurant Yalda

Atlanta restaurateur Ashkan Famili was “born in the bustling capital of Tehran, Iran. But in the summers, our family would gather at our villa in the countryside. Those memories are cherished to me,” recounts the chef, whose Sandy Springs restaurant “recaptures that feeling of escaping the everyday.” Serving elevated Persian fare inspired by village street food, Yalda’s December opening was timed to commemorate the ancient solstice festival of the same name.

Along with business partner Farhan Kheraj, Famili directed the design for Yalda, combining the celebration’s timeless palette of red and turquoise with warm woods and the glimmer of chandelier light. He personally drew the curves of the intricate Ferforje ironwork, pairing classical Persian architectural motifs with handcrafted tiles from Spain, rugs and oil lamps from Turkey, and cushions from a favorite Iranian design store. General contractor Cy Bickers constructed both the interior balcony and botanical installation with Marjan Rad, bringing the ceiling down to a more intimate scale. A West Midtown outpost arrives in July.