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Apr 20, 2007 09:54 AM

Best Turkish in Bay Area (doner kebab, hookah?)


I’m looking for a great Turkish restaurant in the Bay Area. I’ve found a few recommendations in past posts (New Kapodokia (Redwood City), A La Turka (SF), Bosphorous (Berkeley), etc). Are there any others I’m missing? I live in the Peninsula but am willing to travel for great food. Also, does anyone know a place that serves truly authentic Doner Kebab? I’m also interested in finding a good Hookah bar. Thanks in advance!!

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  1. My favorite is Bursa Kebab in SF (west portal district) ... another great one is Troya in SF (on Clement), those two seem to be tied amongst the Turks I know. As for Doner, I like to get one at A La Turka during lunch hours

    2 Replies
    1. re: etincellex

      I second Troya on Clement. The food there is the closest to what I ate while in Turkey. I like Bursa Kebab as well, but Troya edges out because they have a large selection of mezes.

      1. re: Sebby

        I completely agree with Troya on Clement. That is a great place. There is a great variety of mezes to choose from- my favorite being the mucver (zucchini cakes). The entrees are big enough to share with one or more persons. I recommend trying the chicken beyti as an entree.

    2. Shisha bar, Kan Zaman on Haight St. is decent.

      Bosphorus is eh.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I think Bosphorus has been replaced by yet another Indian restaurant.

      2. We've been to a place in San Mateo (I think San Mateo...or one of those towns in that area) called Tarboosh that had hookah and really decent food.
        If looking in SF, Kan Zaman is fun too. (I strongly second Robert's suggestion) Be prepared to experienced a packed hookah bar on the weekends, especially if it's around one of the times they have belly dancing. The food there is great too and I love their hot spiced wine!

        2 Replies
        1. re: lj2899

          Tarboosh is in Redwood City (on Jefferson, across from the new movie theater complex). As far as I know, the hookah smoking is outdoors on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

          1. re: mspea

            They've also created a space on the grassy area beside the restaurant where they've set up nice tables as well...I found that the sidewalk tables were awkward, but they were quick to accomodate us.

        2. There's also Ephesus in Walnut Creek.

          I haven't been there, but it's generally well-regarded.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I respectfully have to differ with you on this. It is overpriced for what is doner kebab stand level food. so what if it has tablecloths.

            1. re: offalgood

              Ephesus isn't very expensive for its neighborhood and quality. The kebabs are better than at A La Turka or Gyro King.

              Does anybody else make kisir ("bulgur lettuce wraps")? I love that stuff.

          2. It doesn't have doner kebab and I only had one small snack there, but the new Hayes & Kabob might have some promise

            It's not easy to find a great hookah bar with great food.

            Sunshine Coast (1312 Haight Street) has great hookah I hear, but only limited snacks.

            Here's my report on Pride of the Mediterranea which a friend who is really into hookahs loves (and not a fan of Kan Zaman). I thought Pride had ok-ish food. I'm not so into hookahs.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              Isn't smoking illegal in Calif restaurants, or is there an exemption?

              1. re: ML8000

                Yeah, hookas are excepted but ... I forget the rules ... something like it has to be outside or in a separate area or something. It's sad, this friend was really into hookahs and I just wasn't interested so a lot of the pep talk about how it wasn't like smoking cigarets just sounded to me like blah, blah, blah ... should have listened.

                Aren't there also some cigar clubs in SF too? Some sort of exception about them being clubs.

                Other hookah / food combos that maybe someone else can comment on ...

                Ziryab Mediterrean Grill

                Casablanca Cafe (1609 Polk Street) Kind of a coffee shop

                Marrakech Moroccan Restaurant

                There was a place in Oakand that I wanted to try ... for the food ... but it closed before I made it there. I was going to at least note it hooka-wise when my freind came to the Bay Area.

                1. re: rworange

                  I had some pretty good food at Ziryab, but it's not Turkish:


                  The California law is no smoking in the workplace. To allow smoking indoors, restaurants and bars must either have separate, sealed-off smoking rooms that employees don't enter (like Hemlock Tavern), or must be entirely owner-operated (like Cigar Bar and Occidental Cigar Club).