If you're a "glass half-empty" kind of person, the winter solstice depressingly signifies the shortest day of the year, a dreary reminder of daylight's nadir and darkness's zenith. But if you are a "glass half-full" person, the winter solstice is a harbinger of light; it's the darkness's last stand, with nowhere to go but up from there. The new Yalda (Iranian for "rebirth of the sun") takes that positive outlook of the longest night of the Iranian calendar with a celebratory energy and atmosphere perfect for celebrating time with loved ones while devouring delicious Persian food off the open flame.

Chef Ash Famili makes Yalda a family affair, channeling memories of his mother's home cooking and as a tribute to his grandfather's days as a butcher in Iran. The 2-level space in Sandy Springs feels like a cozy Iranian villa with middle eastern style wood and iron work as well as upholstery and tiles leading to the open kitchen where an open flame grill sears meats and chars vegetables. Expect Persian and Mediterranean mezze plates, spreads like za'atar labneh and mirza ghasemi served with flatbread, kebabs, wraps, and grilled meat and seafood entrees. Dessert includes baklava with a choice of coffee or Persian ice cream, faloodeh, and a Persian ice cream sandwich made with ice cream infused with saffron, rose water, and pistachios. A second location of Yalda should open this summer in midtown west at the corner of Howell Mill Road and 10th Street.

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