Rumi, one of Beijing’s top Middle Eastern restaurants and not to be confused with the long dead Sufi mystic/poet, has shuttered its doors indefinitely. This is particularly sad news given that since their opening in 2005 they have consistently ranked among our favorite restaurants. In 2007, they even won “Restaurant of the Year” in our the Beijinger Reader Restaurant Awards, which is a testament not only to their popularity but also their ability to make Iranian cuisine an essential part of Beijing’s dining scene.
Rumi was founded by Fariborz Mohebat, an Iranian expat who moved to Beijing with his family and decided to open up a restaurant on Xiaoyun Lu in 2005, serving up delicacies from his home country. The space immediately became too big for its britches, causing Rumi to uproot and move to their current digs on Gongti Beilu. Their grilled kebabs were enormous, the rice ever fragrant, and the salads, hummus and pita were true crowd-pleasers (they also served a mean burger, known for being one of the best in town).
Closures of Beijing institutions have been occurring frequently as of late with such haunts as Tim’s Texas BBQ (now rehomed) and The Den, for example, going under due to laws concerning the commercial use of real estate owned by the PLA.
While we hope Rumi’s closure is just temporary, we haven’t been able to get any more details from the folks at Rumi. We will keep you updated as this culinary tragedy unfolds.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on February 9, 2016.