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Tallula's Chapel Hill, NC - interesting experience

I've been to this restaurant at least 7 times now, let me start by saying we have had great food every time we have been there that I can recall. The quality of the food given the price range and the general difficulty finding Turkish cuisine in the South is pretty amazing, in my opinion. The last couple times we have had this really colorful character as a waiter/host/tour guide. He gives a really enthusiastic, skillfully worded spiel about the specials, the wine options, all sorts of topics. This can last a good 11-15 minutes. Then at any juncture where you try to order an item or ask about an item, he gives an additional lengthy but often interesting discourse. On our recent visit, such discourses were provided after a) trying to order an "iced tea", b) asking what were the wines being offered as "half price bottles " on the sign by the front, c) ordering a beer on the beer list, d) attempting to pay for the meal with a credit card.
I can't decide what to think about this. I like that the place has character and this guy really gives a uniquely personalized element to the dining experience. But it really can take a long time to get through all this and it makes it kind of hard to engage with one's dining companion. Maybe we're just spoiled from the usual routine of the American restaurant experience which does not emphasize leisurely contemplation, reflection, relaxation as it ideally could. I'm interested in any other opinions on this place and this colorful denizen on the Chapel Hill restaurant scene. Thanks!

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Tallula's
456 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

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  1. Please know that this info is at least a year old, probably more so. Tallula's used to be one of my favorite restaurants in CH, but once it switched owners, the menu changed significantly, and the whole attitude of the place did too. The food got a lot less interesting, and they did a lot of "upselling." I'm far from cheap, but if i haven't ordered the extra bread, I don't need a 5 minute discussion on why I should. I'd be interested in hearing how the food has been on your visits, and what you ordered. The last time we went, my special was so different from what was described as to be laughable (even the waiter had to apologize, when I pointed this out), and it just wasn't very good. I want so much for this place to be wonderful again. Anyone have any recent food reports?

    1. We ate there about a month ago, and I think we had the same guy. We chatted with him a bit and luckily he went away after he got TOO annoying. But it was definitely above-average amount of conversation time with a waiter. But, the food was really great, so I came away with a pleasant experience. Basically I could be happy eating just their delicious bread and whatever that yummy dipping sauce is.

      1 Reply
      1. re: statolith

        When the menu changed with the new owner, they dropped a *lot* of the mezze stuff. I think the seafood section went from having something like 7 choices to having fried calamari and some sort of shrimp dish. In general it went from a place that specialized in mezze to one that didn't. So I'm especially interested to know what people had that was really good. Not much of a meat eater so it makes a difference. I really would love to hear that this place is back to, or even close to being back to, its old style and quality.

      2. I've only been once with a group of friends. The food tasted fine, but I have no knowledge of Turkish food outside of Boreks. The quantity for the price seemed very skewed though and we definitely did not have this waiter.

        9 Replies
        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          By skewed, what do you mean? I always think of them as sort of solidly middle-range in price, but again, it has been a while.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I meant you pay for a lot but don't necessarily get a lot.

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              OK, gotcha. A few years back they had 1/2 price bottles (? - maybe glasses) of wine on Wed. nights. Guess what night we went? Made the bills seem surprisingly reasonable ; )

              1. re: LulusMom

                okay I'll give them a return try, I checked their menu and they have lots of mezze that interest me. It was their refined take on things that I really enjoyed. Do they have a wine night:)?

                1. re: Rory

                  If they've got a wine night still, and have added some additional seafood items to the mezze list, lets see if we can find a night that works and try it? I'd so very much love for them to be back in the game. Walking distance, a great cuisine, cheap good wine - whats not to love?

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    This was my fave place, LM; I'd love for them to be back., so yeah I'm ready to try em

                    1. re: Rory

                      Irritatingly, their website's initial page has flash (this is one of my pet peeves), and since I need to keep my flash turned off I can't get into it to see the menu. Anyone want to try posting a link to the menu page (sometimes this works as it normally bypasses the flash part)?

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        See if this works for you http://www.talullas.com/v2/content/se...

                        It's a terrible site, though - music, etc. All of my pet peeves too!

                        1. re: BullCityChow

                          Thanks so much BCC - that worked! But totally agreed - what a horrible site. i can't believe you have to click into each menu item to read the english translation. And only 1 seafood mezze? Anyway, I really appreciate the link, but man, does it not make me excited about going there. Sorry Rory!

        2. I haven't dined there yet, but did notice that restaurant.com sells the discounted gift certificates for Tallula's - $10 for $4, $25 for $10, dinner only, no Fri-Sat.