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Çadır Kebap October 22, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Turkish Cuisine.
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Çadır KebapAs I mentioned in a previous post, Turkish restaurants tend to heavily feature meat in their entrées.  This is because, I’ve been told, the average Turk does not consume much meat at home due to the high cost in this country as well as certain aspects of traditional cooking.  Thus a dinner outside of the house is something of a special occasion, and restaurants cater to the moment with very meat-centric options.

While there are countless places to eat adana kebap, tavuk şiş and et döner in Ankara, I have found most to be quite average in their preparation of the meat.  Çadır Kebap is a good alternative to these mediocre offerings.  Located on Eskişehir Yolu (Google Maps), the meat dishes at Çadır are very well prepared and complemented by a great selection of salads.  I sampled a variety of them at dinner the other night with a group of friends and found the tablacı salata to be the most flavorful.  For entrées, the kuzu şiş, beyti and acılı adana were noteworthy.  There are good meze options, such as patlıcan ezme and humus, to consider as well.  And for those with a sweet tooth, the künefe and sütlaç are not the best I’ve had, but both are above average.

Çadır Kebap is not an inexpensive establishment, but its prices are fairly reasonable.  Salads, appetizers and desserts average about 6TL each ($4 at 1.47TL/$), while main courses are priced between 12 and 15TL ($8-10).  Alcohol is also served.

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Roka September 15, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Turkish Cuisine.
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Roka

A friend of mine describes Roka as the union of two unlikely individuals: One who wanted to eat with his hands and another who possessed a sizable surplus of fresh produce.  Regardless of its exact origins, it’s worth making the trip to Bahçelievler to try Roka’s unique and tasty combination of greens and meats.

Turkish restaurants are known for employing copious quantities of salt and other spices in their meat-laden entrées. While often delicious, the constant onslaught of flavored protein can become tiresome to the frequent diner.  Roka provides a much-needed alternative for those looking to add some zest and crunch to their otherwise traditional meat dishes.

Upon being seated in pint-sized stools at pint-sized tables, the waiters at Roka spread a salad consisting of an array of fresh greens directly onto the table top in front of you. The mixture of romaine and iceberg lettuce, parsley, mint, cilantro, watercress and green onions is then doused with freshly squeezed lemon juice and accompanied by a skewer of grilled tomatoes and several cloves of warm roasted garlic. While flavorful enough on its own, this salad makes for the perfect topping which you artfully apply by hand to the köfte or adana kebab served to you on warm bread.  The refreshing, crisp flavors of the salad nicely complement the robust spicing and texture of the meats. As an accompaniment, be sure to try the Çamlıca ayran; it’s one of the tastiest pre-packaged variations you can find.

While delicious and fun, Roka is not a life-changing meal. However, it does revitalize old Turkish favorites with a novel twist that is sure to please those looking for a change of pace in their Anakra dining options. And at about 12TL ($8 at 1.50TL/$), it’s inexpensive as well.

The restaurant is located on 22. Sk. off the lively Aşkabat Sk. (also known as 7th Street) (Google Maps).