Mahbanu is only one in a series places around the city of Tehran that have chosen as theme the glory of the past. When you approach the eatery on the western side of Vahdat Hall, it is as if you are getting closer to the palace of Cyrus the Great.
Persepolis pillars and bass relief are to be found everywhere. It is enough to climb down a few stairs to find yourself in a brightly lit banquet hall were colorful tiles depict scenes of epic battles and sacred gods and goddesses. In one corner wooden benches appear next to the regiment of Khashayarsha. This is the "traditional" coffee house section, where you can order qaliyan and tea.
But, it is only when you get to the menu that you find out that Mahbanu offers everything from the ubiquitous chelokebab to the Roman Empire pizza and the American Empire burger. The food is inexpensive and average in taste. Salad is generous and satisfying. There is also desert, which comes from the pastry shop one flight up.
Mahbanu is geared towards large public gatherings. Wedding parties and other ceremonies can be set up in an area that seats more than 200 people. But to go there with some friends for dinner may not be the best of choices.