The secret to getting a good meal at any restaurant is knowing what to order. Even though my sister is back in Turkey these days, she was the one who steered me right at A La Turca from day one.
While kebabs are what most people associate with Turkish food, there is so much more than that to this cuisine. At A La Turca there are three must order items, none of them kebabs. There is a fairly long menu, but I recommend sticking to the really good stuff.
First of all, as a starter, have the sigara boregi ($4.50). There are versions of this dish all over the Mediterranean and the Middle East. You may know it as borek. It's a crunchy pastry filled with oozy, gooey salty cheese.
The next dish is lahmacun, which you might remember from a Post of the Week not long ago. This is like Turkish fast food, available all over Turkey. It's kind of a Turkish version of pizza, a flat bread topped with a mixture of spices, tomatoes and ground meat. But no cheese. You eat it folded up with slices of onion and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious! A portion to share or eat as a main course is only $3.75.
Finally don't miss the pide. Pronounced "pee-day". This is a more doughy pastry filled with meat, cheese or vegetables and sprinkled with crispy sesame seeds. A very large portion is about $7 and will easily feed more than one person.
If so inclined, you can order some cold salads or appetizers, and for dessert the kunefe is not bad. Kunefe is a shredded phyllo pastry with pistachios and a drizzle of syrup, served warm. Though knowing my sister, I'm sure she'd prefer chocolate cake! Happy Birthday Hande!
A La Turca
869 Geary St @ Larkin
Sun - Thurs 11 - 10
Fri & Sat 11 - 11