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Apr 21, 2009 02:13 PM

One Turkish meal in Chicago - which should I choose?

Is there a noble soul who has tried all/most/several Turkish restaurants in Chicago and can advise me?

The hubs and I will be in town next month for 2 nights (Fri-Sat). We desperately need Turkish food for dinner on one of those nights. On our last visit, we went to Cafe Orchid and loved it - I would definitely go again - but is that my best bet in Chicago?

Note that I just want stellar food - I don't care about decor or entertainment. And it's gotta be true Turkish food, not pan-Middle Eastern or Mediterranean. Price is no object, which means that really cheap food is fine, as long as it's great.

So, here are all the Turkish restaurants that I know about:

- A La Turka ( )

- Arkadash ( )

- Cafe Orchid ( )

- Cousin's/Efes Cafe

- Nazarlik

- Sortie ( )

- Turkish Cuisine and Bakery ( )

- Turquoise Cafe ( )

Which should I choose? Are they any others I should know about?


P.S. My info was gleaned from here:

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  1. I haven't been, but I've heard great things about Cafe Orchid. It's also BYOB.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mmilanam

      You could go to Cafe Orchid! It's tiny but the food is great. There's a liquor store a block away for those (like us) who didn't remember to bring a bottle of wine...


      1. re: AnneInMpls

        Dang - my typing skills are slipping... I meant to write "You *should* go to Cafe Orchid!"


    2. Nazarlik is defunct.

      Cousin's on Broadway is very different from Cousin's Incredible Vitality, which which changed its name when it switched to serving raw food. I don't know what Efes Cafe is or was. There used to be a Bosnian restaurant called Cafe Effe on Montrose where Mythos (Greek) is now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Eldon Kreider

        Efes Cafe is sort of vaguely Mediterranean. I've been once, but it was just ok. Certainly not worth making a trip for.

      2. I haven't been to all of them, but I really like Turquoise on Roscoe.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chicgail

          Turquoise seems to have mostly Italian food (risotto, gnocchi, osso bucco, etc.). Though I notice they do have manti, which is definitely Turkish - and one of my favorite dishes.

          Have you had both the Italian and the Turkish food at Turquoise? Is one type better than the other? More importantly, does the Turkish menu it hold its own against all the Italian food?


          1. re: AnneInMpls

            I've only had the Turkish food at Turquoise. While I have little in great Turkish meals to compare it with, I have always enjoyed it. They make their own flatbreads and they're addictive and evil.

            1. re: AnneInMpls

              I think Turquoise has the Italian in case people are not interested in Turkish. I've never had anything from the Italian menu, though I suspect it's fine. I have had quite a few things on the Turkish menu, and it was all very good. The owner (manager?) is Turkish, and several of the staff are as well.