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Jul 9, 2007 12:02 PM

Turkish Delights

I have been reminiscent of my travels through Turkey last summer, and am longing to revive at least the culinary aspects of my trip. I am in search of stick-to-your-ribs, authentic Iskander lunches, Turkish tea and coffee, and of course melt-in-your-mouth baklava and pastries. Is it too much to ask for the Mediterranean rooftop/outdoor eating atmosphere as well?

Can anyone suggest some restaurants in DC/NoVA that will help to revive my Turkish adventures?

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  1. I don't know if this'll be quite what you're looking for, but Cafe Divan on Wisconsin, south of Glover Park, is a lovely Turkish restaurant.

    1. Temel and Nizam's in the Virginia burbs, but forget about the rooftop/outdoor eating in these parts except for maybe 2 weeks in April-May and another 2 weeks in October-November.

      1. I used to live in Turkey. Unfortunately, none of the places listed offer the authentic experience that I remember, for that you'll need to go to New York. You might be better off trying to make your own food and ordering from a source online. A shepherd's salad is perfect at this time of year with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers chopped and spritzed with lemon and a little sumac. And the grill can make a very tasty version of iskender or adana kebab with a pilaf on the side. Serve a little cherry juice (visne suyu) or perhaps a Efes beer or Raki and you'll be back in Turkey once again. Only downside is the bread - there is absolutely no where in the entire surrounding area to find delicious ekmek. Again, I've made my own and it's a lot better than what they serve in the restaurants. The Total brand Greek yogurt with honey is a fabulous dessert.

        Gule Gule and enjoy!

        3 Replies
        1. re: isabellaflynn

          What recipe do you use for the ekmek? I've never made it myself, and have found that the bread in Turkey has really gone downhill from what it was like in the late 60s when I lived there (the bakeries all made a large sourdough loaf to official government standards; with the great inflation bakeries responded by reducing the size and quality of the bread). I've heard from friends that some places in Istanbul now make bread that's a bit like the old thing, but I've never had it. On the other hand, pide is a lot more common--it used to appear only at Ramazan.

          The general point is a good one--especially at this time of the year the best Turkish food is what you can make at home--stuffed eggplants and peppers, cold beans with olive oil and tomato, cacik, etc etc

          1. re: isabellaflynn

            Thank you for all the great Turkish cooking tips! I do love the Total Greek Yogurt. Do you have any favorite places in New York? Also are there any specific recipes on how to make the iskender and/or the kebabs? I must admit I have never attempted to make any Turkish dishes but I would love to start!

            1. re: MagellanM

              My two fave NYC Turkish restaurants are: Turkish Kitchen 386 3rd Ave. (around 28th) and Beyoglu 3rd Ave around 81st. And, no, I don't know anywhere in DC like them.

          2. I love the Atilla's on Glebe road in Arlington, there is a take-out version with sandwiches and such, but right next door is a sit-down Atilla's which is much nicer and will have Iskander and donar platters on the weekends. I like it better than Nizam's. It always is empty but I think the food is great. No rooftop or outdoor eating. I don't know how close it is to authentic, but I used to date a Turkish native and he seemed to like it as much as I did.

            2 Replies
            1. re: foodplow

              There is an Atilla's on Colombia Pike, east of Glebe Rd. Is that what you meant?

              1. re: Steve

                Yes yes, Columbia Pike. Apologies. Also has a great market in the same building for yogurt.

            2. I can't say I've had authentic Turkish food, but my favorite place for turkish food is in Herndon. It's called Turcuisine. My favorite dish there is the Adana Kabob. It's a spicy, well-seasoned lamb and beef kabob. They also have a Turcuisine platter that has a bit of all of their meats. For the most part I found that all their meats have a nice flavor. The platter is a bit expensive, but it's fun to share if you're out with friends. If you do try this place let me know how you rate it's authenticity factor.

              13029 Worldgate Drive
              Herndon, VA 20170
              (571) 323-3330