TRAVEL HERE: PERA TURKISH KITCHEN, A GEM HIDDEN IN THE SUBURBS
Pera Turkish Kitchen opened several months ago around the corner from my house. We’re always on the lookout for a good Middle Eastern Restaurant and more of them are popping up every day, but too often, we’re a little disappointed. I’m not sure why it took us so long to have a meal there, but Pera did not disappoint when we finally stopped in.
Dining at Pera
See, my husband’s from Egypt, so he wants the good food he remembers from home, but he wants to find it in establishments which suit his Americanized expectations. Pera fit the bill. The storefront restaurant shares a strip mall with everything from AT&T to Firestone, but it would be right at home among the trendy spots in Uptown.
From the sidewalk you can peer into large plate glass windows and see a wide variety of diners enjoying a good meal. The decor is crisp and modern with just a hint of the exotic. Warm red walls and tasteful art beckon you to give the restaurant a try. We walked into the double doors and were immediately encouraged to find a seat wherever we wanted. Not long afterwards we had menus in our hands and cold beers on the way.
Bill chose a Bud Lite, but I tried the Turkish beer, Efes. I made the better of the two choices, smooth with that delicious bitterness that I like. The wine list was extensive and very affordable.
For dinner, I ordered the traditional Andana and Bill was going to have the same thing, but the charming waiter encouraged us to try a second dish and share. So we got Hunkar Begendi as our second entree. I loved the Andana – spicy ground lamb grilled to perfection over jasmine rice, with a side of steamed veges. The HunKar Begendi was good too, just not as familiar – bite sized pieces of lamb in a delicious tomato sauce, served over a bed of smoked eggplant puree. Not a morsel was left on either plate.
While we waited for our meal to be cooked they brought out some bread, that all by itself, warrants a return visit. Still warm from the oven it smelled heavenly. The crust was dark brown with sesame seeds, but the interior was soft and white. Along with the bread they served some kind of spread that I was unable to identify, but loved anyway.
The atmosphere was relaxed and each table seemed to be full of people who were enjoying their food and their table companions. We saw trendy young twenty somethings, as well as not so trendy persons of a certain age. A full range of ethnicities were chowing down on everything from Saksuka to Kunefe.
After cleaning our plates, we didn’t have room for dessert, but the waiter brought us samples of baklava, anyway. He said we couldn’t leave without trying it. One of the more pleasant things about the evening was the bill. With entrees ranging in the mid-teens, we felt like we’d gotten great quality and value .
So put Pera on you list of things to try – and soon! It’s at the corner of Preston and Summerside. Easy to find and easier to love.