Toranj Middle Eastern Kitchen is set to open in the former Atmosphere French Bistro space on Piedmont Avenue in Piedmont Heights this summer. Atmosphere closed last March after 20 years in the neighborhood and was known for serving traditional French fare within the cozy bungalow space.
Owned by Amisha and Altaf Popatiya and Amisha’s sister Nilofer Hamirani and her husband Sajid, look for dishes from countries around the Middle East at Toranj, including barbari bread made fresh daily, 12-hour, slow-cooked lamb ribs and slow-cooked duck leg, filet mignon kebabs, and desserts like faloodeh. Chef Peyman Rostami, who was the private chef to Qaboos bin Said al Said, the sultan of Oman, leads the kitchen.
Toranj, a word for the bergamot orange in Persian, pays tribute to the region’s many cultural traditions, art, and history. One such historical touchstone on display throughout the restaurant is the tulip, a nod to the Ottoman Empire’s tulip era between 1718 and 1730. The imperial court had a passion for tulips during this time, which were imported from Europe at great expense in order to plant in the thousands and to cultivate and grow hybrid varieties. The tulip would become a symbol of wealth and power for the Ottoman Empire. Orange tulips are incorporated into murals, vases, and other decorative elements as part of the design for Toranj Middle Eastern Kitchen.
Much of the former French restaurant’s interior layout remains intact, with some of the smaller rooms in the bungalow now opening up into a larger dining room. The restaurant features a semi-circular bar near the entrance serving beer, wine, and cocktails and two private dining areas in back. The front patio should open for outdoor dining in late-July or August.
Anticipated hours: Monday - Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
1620 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta. toranjkitchenatl.com.