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Masala Cafe October 26, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Foreign Cuisine.

Masala Cafe-6I love Turkish food. Really, I do. But I will admit that that lack of restaurant diversity in Ankara has been one of the most challenging aspects of my adjustment to life in Turkey. For perspective, consider Brunswick, Maine, the town where I attended college in America. Despite having a population of only 20,000, the dining scene was impressive, with dozens of options ranging from Thai to Mexican to Japanese to German. Ankara, a city of 4 million people, pales in comparison.

Although the selection is limited, Ankara does possess a few offerings of great foreign food. One of the best is the Masala Cafe, a Pakistani restaurant on Paris Cad. in Çankaya (Google Maps).

Curry is one of my favorite foods, and Masala delivers precisely in this regard. Nine options, such as madrasi, jalfarezi and korma, keep me coming back on a far too regular basis. In my experience, the karahi gosht and aloo palak are particularly noteworthy. Each curry is accompanied by basmati rice and a serving of impeccably seasoned vegetables. There is also a side of salad, which strikes me as a non-Pakistani modification intended to please Turkish patrons.

Prior to receiving your entrée, the table is served chana chat, a delectable mix of chick peas, chopped onions, potatoes, tomatoes, fresh herbs and masala chat. I also recommend ordering the vegetable samosa over the other starters. For drinks, the methi lassi is quite good, a sweet contrast to the salty ayran. But avoid the roh afzah; it has a flavor that could be described as bad fruit punch.

The prices at Masala Cafe are quite reasonable for the quality of the food and size of the portions. Appetizers costs around 4TL each ($2.70 at 1.47TL/$) and curries are priced between 10 and 12.50TL ($6.80 to $8.50).


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