Of all the diverse offerings in Beijing restaurants, Persian dining isn't one that comes to mind, but Rumi, located near Sanlitun has been going strong for a few years now. The decor is modern with floor to ceiling windows looking out while inside everything is white, with some colors thrown in at the small balconies as well as through the use of interesting, small sepia photos that double as light fixtures.
The menu is simple, appetizers, yogurt, salad, kebabs, and stews and for 2 people, one of the larger kabob selections (featuring multiple kinds of beef) and an appetizer (a number of interesting dips including classics like hummus and babaganoush) are enough to fill you up.
The "dips" are great and come with a neverending supply of free flatbread. A regular favorite is the hummus with meat or mushroom for around RMB20. Their made-in-house yogurts are great and have that sour kick that you'd expect in an unsweetened (and not overly processed) pure yogurt. The salad options are nice and light and full of extremely fresh vegetables.
The kebabs come with the choice of a side salad, rice, or a half portion of each (1 meat for around RMB50, 2 for under RMB100). These aren't your chuanr style kabobs, there's a lot of meat to them and they are all cooked to perfection, nice grilled flavor, but still very juicy. The problem is that there's something missing, the taste. The beef is a little better than the chicken or lamb, but they all seem to be missing seasoning or a sauce that would make them excellent. As a lover of grilled meat, I've only ordered the kebabs and not the stews, and yet I'm a little bit remiss each time.
Respecting the Islamic culture, the restaurant doesn't serve any alcohol, but IS byob and, amazingly, has no corkage fee (at last check), making this a very unique experience in Beijing. The meats can be matched perfectly with any number of nice reds and a really fabulous meal can be had at a very reasonable price. I just wish they'd take a hint from their Xinjiang cousins and spice up the kebabs a bit, it's the only thing keeping this place from being a regular weekly dining stop instead of an occasional meal.
10. Rumi (入迷)
Intersection of Gongti North Road and Third Ring Road, Opposite of Zhaolong Hotel