Fiction: It’s kebabs and rice all the way.

Fact: Iranian food is a rich combination of flavours and culinary influences.

The restaurant scene in Iran is blossoming – and whether you’re after a Persian feast, chic fusion food or a bite on the run, you’ll find a surprisingly varied selection.

A must-try is the Iranian speciality dizi, a rich stew of chickpeas, lamb and flatbread, cooked and served in a stone jar. The atmospheric Seray-e Mehr Teahouse in Shiraz’s covered Vakil Bazaar is a good place to try it.

In Tehran, the hip, friendly Café 78 serves fantastic sandwiches and snacks, great coffee and speciality teas. The décor reflects its bohemian patrons, with contemporary art and photographs by Iranian artists gracing the walls.

Iranians have a weakness for sweets: at the Haj Khalife shop in Yazd, you can buy sohan, a brittle caramel candy, and gaz, a chewy pistachio nougat, and the order will be packaged up in a ribbon-tied box.

Insider tip: Don’t miss the fesenjan, a traditional dish made with walnuts, pomegranate and chicken at Namakdoon, the restaurant in Tehran’s Laleh International Hotel. The mirrored décor and live music is every bit as enticing as the food.