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!!
If you're on the peninsual, you should check out a few places on University Ave. My experience with Donner has been on drunken evenings in London, thus I don't claim to be an expert.
Sehbali Cafe and Hookah Shop is behind Mill's Flowers near the Stanford Theater. Sehbali has no obvious sign, and has no Turkish food - they have some smoothies, and only/best indian chaat like bhel puri on univ. ave - not great, but if you've got an itch--- But there's a hookah place in the back. I haven't tried it, not being a smoker, but it seems to attract young arabic folk from stanford - a nice crowd. The feel in the food area of Sehbali keeps me coming back.
For donner kebab, you'd try Cafe 220 across the street. I think it's merely good, but if you want a kebab & hookah, I think you could do worse than dragging your kebab across the street to Sehbali.
Cafe 220 and Sehbali are open late - midnight weekdays, maybe later on weekends. Just like a proper Arabic street joint.
For Sit-down Mediterranean food on university ave, I like Kan Zeman. Lots of dishes I had never seen before. I don't know if they're slanted Greek or Turkish or what, but I think they're worth a try. By their graphics, I suspect them as part of the Mediterranean Delight crowd, but with more sit-down.
I was at a Turkish event yesterday. The food was catered by "Adana Kebab, Anatolian Cusine". It was excellent.
I met the owner, who says he has a restaurant at 637 Larkin Street. I am looking forward to getting there once my car is fixed (cracked engine head--ouch!).
The owner gave me his card, which mentions a website: http://www.adanakebabsf.com/
The owner is from Kayseri (see after my signature line for more) in Central Anatolia region of Turkey. The region has an interesting food culture, which is a story in itself.
Tell him that you heard about him from the director of Turkish Radio.
P.S.: For Kayseri see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kayseri . This article says Elia Kazan was also from Kayseri. The ancient name for Kayseri was Caesarea, "Ceasar's city".
You can read my reviews of five Turkish restaurants here:
It doesn't include my recent trip to Cafe Artemis, a Turkish/Greek place in Campbell. Great lentil soup, sigare borek, and cold lentil koftes. Meat-wise the doner was a bust, but the beef kofte was good.
Also, my review doesn't explain fully how awesome New Kapadokia (New Kap) really is. I make a meal of the lentil soup and an appetizer (and the bread and baklava). Their meats (especially beef and lamb) are excellent. Love their "mini hamburgers."
I haven't tried it, but it's now on my list:
1760 Decoto Rd.
(between Alvarado Niles Rd & Meyers Dr)
Union City, CA 94587
They are between Rite Aid & Safeway, by Starbuck's & the fountain..so across the street from Marina Market.
Hrs: 10a-10:30p Daily
Credit cards accepted
After returning from living in Istanbul, I found Bursa in West Portal immediately and it's great. I love the meze combination platter and the adana kebab. Troya is authentic as well, but I'd be more inclined to go there with a group and enjoy their huge variety of mezes. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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).
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!