Divan Turkish Kitchen to be exact. From what I had seen on the internet I was expecting something much larger than what I found. What I found was a neighborhood place which served Turkish food. (Surprise! – it is called Divan Turkish Kitchen!) Located at the corner of 22nd and Carpenter Streets this is, nonetheless, good food. They have outside dining - which in most of Philly I find ridiculous. You are paying to sit on a street while buses and taxis and cars drive by and spew God knows what while you “enjoy fine outdoor dining.” Those places on Rittenhouse Square are a joke! In Germany, Austria and Italy you can really have a good time outside. They have vehicle free zones and so you can eat without a bus parked next to you. One good thing about this spot is that, although it’s on a Philly street, it’s a off the beaten path and there is not much traffic. So the street side dining here is a plus. And the setting sun created a cooling breeze blowing to good effect. Wine is reasonably priced at $4.50 of $5 a glass. After getting socked at $10 to $14 a glass in Center City this was plus. For apps we had Ispanakli Borek (Spinach Pie) and Hummus. The one thing I found amazing was that the plate of Hummus was brought and that was it. A small plate of Hummus and no bread? I had to order pita to go with it! For a main course I had the Adana Kebab, Char-grilled ground lamb flavored with red bell peppers and Turkish spices. Very spicy – and I like that. Why bother to go for bland food? My wife had the Tavuk Sis Kebab (Chicken Shish Kebab) Char-grilled marinated tender chunks of chicken. Rice was the side but you also got a roasted frying pepper – and a hot one at that! The tip was mild, but as you worked up the pepper to where the seeds and ribs are it became a REAL hot pepper. Still, not a problem – you have some lamb, a bit of pepper and a splash of wine. Repeat. Aside for the Hummus/pita problem, the food was all very good and reasonable prices. My wife had a Divan's Mojito and I had 3 Yellow Tail Cab’s. We had to call off our night short before dessert when my sister called saying there was a problem with me Mum. She’s 78. We got a taxi, checked out of the hotel and drove home. Fortunately all’s well. Anyhow, total was $52 before tip. I’d gladly try it again.
Too bad you asked for pita. The traditional turkish bread served at Divan is wonderful, especially when right out of the oven, and they are usually happy to bring plate after plate, which I enjoy dipping not only in Hummus but in the spicy Acili Ezme (minced peppers). I usually steer clear of their wine list, in favor of my own bottle (no corkage fee, except on Saturday and Sunday). Try the Iskender if you prefer a big meat dish, although I also love the little dumplings (Kayseri Manti).
Out of curiousity--did your menu have different prices for cash or credit?
I loved Divan the last few times I went, but the recent notice about their online menu having distinct cash/credit pricing has put me off a bit.
My favorite dish is also the Iskender kebab, the mixed grill is/was good also.
Wow, they are definitely the first restaurant I've seen making a cash. vs credit price differential...a 30% markup on the Döner Kebab for instance!
I seriously have to wonder about that kind of strategy (and I'm speaking as someone who manages/has a merchant account for credit card processing)...if CC fees are so eating into your profit, why not just go cash-only? I'd rather that than be charged such a high premium for using a card. And yet they're still paying their monthly fees in to the CC companies so I don't see how this is benefitting them that much at all...
I finally had a chance to stop in at Divan Turkish Kitchen this weekend for a solo lunch. I grabbed a seat at the very small bar and was made to feel right at home. The GM went over the menu with me and provided some suggestions. I had hopes to try the Iskender kebob, but apparently this is not always available during lunch hours, so I went with the chicken sheesh kebob and a pint of Flying Fish Pale Ale.
When the plate arrived, it was exactly what I hoping for. Flavorful and moist chunks of grilled chicken paired with perfectly cooked rice, grilled bread, grilled tomato, chopped onion and parsley, and a roasted pepper. It was also served with what was called "tartar sauce" on the menu, but seemed to me more like a wonderfully rich and tangy yogurt.
It was a perfect sized portion, considering I was famished, yet was light enough to allow me to get on with my day and not feel too bogged down.
I paid with cash (yes, they still had two different prices on the menu), and the bill came to $11 plus change. I was able to take advantage of their happy hour, which is 30% off food before 5PM.
I would defnitely go back when I am looking for a quick, healthy meal (with easy street parking!) for under $15.
Divan Turkish Kitchen
918 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146