Basil Leaf is the latest fast-casual concept by renowned restaurateur and chef, Reza Monsefan. Our Mediterranean fare features fresh herbs, distinct spices, and a healthy balance of flavors.
Our menu features fresh-made, traditional Mediterranean dishes, including beef and chicken kabobs, lamb kabobs, falafel, hummus, and saffron-infused rice. Chef Reza’s culinary experience, along with his Persian and European background, gives our dishes a unique twist.
But don’t let our sophisticated tastes fool you… our menu is easy to understand and our atmosphere is relaxed. Create your own customized meal by selecting a base – rice, salad or tandoori bread – and a protein. Make it your own with your choice of house-made sauces and fresh toppings.
All of our specialty menu items, relishes and sauces are prepared in-house daily, along with our fresh-baked tandoori breads. We bring you a complete menu of healthy Mediterranean dishes, as well as allergy-friendly and vegetarian options.
About Chef Reza:
Chef Reza is a 35-year veteran of the food industry, and has owned four notable restaurants in Germany and the Washington, DC metro area. His Pars Restaurant was a five-time winner of the Washingtonian Very Best Bargain Restaurant Award from 1997 – 2001.
Growing up in Iran, Monsefan got his first taste of running a restaurant at the age of 12. As part of a Boy Scout project, he opened a small cafeteria at school with his friends for one week, each bringing something from home to sell to their classmates. “We didn’t particularly enjoy what our school cafeteria was serving, so we took it upon ourselves to fill the demand.” That experience sparked his interest in managing a food business.
At the age of 27, he opened his first restaurant, Vanak Sara, a 650-seat, high-end kabob experience. After moving to Germany in 1980 at the start of the Iran-Iraq war, Monsefan learned the ropes of operating a restaurant in a new country, starting out as a dishwasher in an Iranian restaurant before becoming chef, and later opening several fast-casual restaurants in the country.
In 1994, Monsefan moved with his family to Washington, DC, where he opened the much-acclaimed Portage Café. Next came Pars Restaurant, a five-time winner of the Washingtonian’s Very Best Bargain Restaurant Award, from 1997-2001.
Since closing his restaurants in 2005, Monsefan has operated Premier Catering of Virginia, based in Ashburn, VA. On his decision to venture back into the restaurant business with Basil Leaf Grill, he said, “The catering business has been amazing, but ultimately, I’m a restaurant man. I missed the action of being in the restaurant and interacting with my customers.”