I'll be in Chicago for a weekend - is there a *good* Turkish restaurant in town? Can anyone also recommend a good Persian restaurant (if you say Riza's, is there one location that's better that the other?)
My Turkish friends swear by A La Turka, on Lincoln Ave. [3134 N. Lincoln. 773.935.6447] I've been a few times and have enjoyed it.
Reza's and Cy's Crab House are the only Persian restaurants that I know of. I've been to Cy's, once, and can't recommend it. I've been to Reza's loads of times. I'd suggest the Clark Street location. [5255 N. Clark. 773.561.1898] If you are here on the weekend, beware. It'll probably be packed, and they'll be looking to turn tables quickly.
re: Erik M.
For Persian, you might also try Pars Cove in Lincoln Park, (435 W. Diversey, 773-549-1515.) Although it's been a few years since I've been there, for a while I ate there regularly, and thought it was excellent. And not that my uncle was any perfect judge of authentic cuisine, but he lived in Iran for about 7 years, and when he moved back to Chicago he enjoyed this restaurant a lot.
Excuse me Erik, for my confusion about Cy's. I thought it was strictly a raw bar/seafood place, and sister restaurant to King Crab on Halsted. Have I missed a whole side of their menu??
Just south of Reza's on Clark Street, try Cousin's. Very tasty and not nearly as crowsed. Interesting specials. Across (west side) the street is Zum Zamin (i'm really murdering the spelling). I've not been there, but it's gotten good reports. I personally did not care for a la Turka, but it may have been a bad night. Finally, Andes is next door to Reza's but it's a tossup re the food. Enjoy.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I hate Reza's. The only thing decent in the place are the veggie combination platters. The menu always claims that the kabobs are "juicy," but guess what? they're only slightly juicier than a tire.
However, if you MUST go to Reza's, go to the Clark Street location. I'd skip it though, and I'll second the suggestion to go down the street to Cousins (which is Turkish) or across the street to Kan Zaman. Both are pretty good. There's also a place north of Reza's on Clark Street (at Bryn Mawr, I think) called Izmir. I've never been there, but the name seems to suggest that it serves regional Turkish food. But I'd look it up first before going there.
Andies is nextdoor to Reza's, and serves Lebanese/Mediterranean food. I really like the food there. If we're just generalizing about "Middle Eastern" food, there's a really good Lebanese place on Lincoln just north of Diversey called Maza. I had a mango, shrimp and couscous special there that was out of this world.
for persian food I would suggest noon-o-kabob, on kedzie a block south of lawrence. It's a small friendly family owned place (last time we we were there I had to be our waitress not to bring out a giant stuffed dog for my daughter to play with).
On the tables after you arrive you'll be given a plate with pita, cubes of fresh feta style cheese, onions parsley, radishes, this is a very nice warm-up to the meal. The cheese is absolutely creamy and not very salty.
I have had most of the kabob's on the menu and they were uniformly fork tender and succulent. they are served on a bed of flatbread (like naan) which gets nice and juicy from meat drippings/roasting and come with a huge, huge plate of buttered saffron rice.
the lamb shank was also very good, tender and served in slightly sweet sauce with raisins. My wife who is a veggie also enjoys their eggplant and mixed veggie plate.
However i have not had good luck with any of the yoghurt based dishes - they have seemed pretty bland to me.
I am attaching a weblink, if you want you can check out their menu.
For turkish, I just noticed the other day a place called anatolian kabob across form the davis theater in lincoln square - haven't been yet. Has anyone else?
i went the other day and got take out. the cook/chef was very kind, explaining the dishes and letting us sample the yogurt drink on the menu, as i had never tried one before.
we wound up ordering the baba ganoush, doner kabob, falafel and baklava. the baba ganoush was excellent. the doner kabob came with a free salad, which was a nice touch (good non iceberg lettuce, some carrot strips, non-mealy tomato, little bit of red cabbage). the meat was beef/lamb and a little bit gristly, but good. the couscous it was over was gummy and overdone. the falafel was a little burnt for my taste, but edible. the baklava was very wet and falling apart. still yummy however.
if you have ever been to pita inn on dempster, i'd say that place is better, and the prices are cheaper too. for a little dive, i thought anatolian kabob was a little pricey. just my 2 cents.
For Persian, heres another enthusiastic recommendation for Noon-O-Kabab. Since I started going there over two and a half years ago Ive never considered going back to Rezas or Andies.
First the bad points. It is very small--only about 10 tables--and is often crowded. The menu is smaller than at some other places and is slightly deficient in vegetarian dishes. The room, while not at all unpleasant, has that unmistakable storefront ambience.
The food and friendliness more than make up for these minor deficiencies.
Im always impressed with the quality of the meat (especially the beef) and the rice is always outstanding. Everything is fresh and prepared with care. The menu is dominated by kababs but I also liked the vegetable stew. That sweet and sour plum dish sounds very interesting.
A few months ago just before midnight I was walking by and stopped to peer in the darkened window. The owner who was unloading a truck at the side door called me over, asking if I needed some food (not sure if he recognized me or not). I had just eaten and so thanked him and said I'd be back for dinner soon. Somehow I don't think this would happen at Reza's or Andie's.
For dessert let me suggest going across the street to Salam Sweets for a huge variety of baklava-like sweets. Another good choice is Jaafer Sweets a couple blocks north on Kedzie. They have a few small tables so you can have a cup of coffee and eat there. Of course youre not very far from The Penguin either.
4661 N Kedzie
4638 N Kedzie
4825 N Kedzie