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A la Turca
869 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA

Talking Turkey

What kind of fowl mouthed talker doesn't like to gobble down some Turkish chow? Not me. When I want a meat pie, I trot on over.

Sit down in their restaurant or get takeaway service. They are friendly and efficient.

Very casual. No frills, but they still have a bit of personality. The Turkish tablecloths are topped with glass covers, there's a flat screen television over the door if you need to watch football while you wait for your order. I like coming in and listening to everyone speaking Turkish.

Barbunya Pilaki ($3.75): I had to order this because of the “bun” factor. Sadly, it didn't live up to it's name. There was an out of the tin quality to the beans, and potatoes. The carrots shared the same soft verging in mushy texture and the tomato sauce did nothing to liven up this cold starter.

Sigara Borek ($4.25): These yummy cigar shaped, feta filled pastries are deep fried to a greaseless crispness. They are served with a little salad of chopped tomato and lettuce. This is required eating here.

Kadinbudu kofte ($4.25):
These savory, deep fried meat and rice patties had a satisfying crunch. The ground beef and crisp bits of rice were just fine. The little side salad of chopped green and red peppers, red onion, lettuce and tomato was overdressed (especially when it is coming with something deep fried.)

Lahmacun ($3.25):
If a crepe and a pizza had a love child, they would call it Lahmacun. Thinly rolled dough is spread with a thin layer of ground lamb, sautéed peppers, chopped tomatoes and spices. Give it a healthy squirt of lemon and tuck in some of the red onion salad that is served on the side. Very tasty.

Ispanakli borek ($3.50): This had an eggy taste to the layers of phyllo sandwiching a thin layer of spinach. Sesame seeds dotted the top of these slightly soggy squares. The pepper, onion tomato salad that came with this dish seemed to come from the same bowl as the last salad swimming in dressing.

Combo Grill ($13.95): This is a sampler plate, I liked the little lamb chop the best, although it was cooked all the way through (I prefer meat towards the blue) it was still tasty and fun to gnaw off the bone. The lamb and chicken shish, kofte, lamb and beef gyro were all okay (but a little dry..) I liked the little pot of house made yogurt. This came with rice , that chopped salad mixture that comes with everything, and peppers.

Lamb and Beef Meat Pide ($6.25):
They roll out the dough, slice off some revolving meat, plunk it on the pastry with some cheese and in the oven it goes. This open-faced Turkish hot pocket is a satisfying cross between a calzone and a gyro. The accompanying salad of cabbage, red onion, romaine, tomato, green pepper and vinaigrette is a good crunchy sidekick to this sesame seed speckled meal.

Pistachio Kadayif ($3.25):
Sadly, this particular specimen was stale. Bummer. It's so pretty, but as my friend Tom says, “just because it's pretty doesn't mean it's good to eat.” Tom's right. But I ate it all anyway.

Rice pudding ($3.50): Although people swear by the rice pudding here, it's not my thing. This snow colored, rice speckled, milky pool of sweetness didn't do it for me. The phyllo desserts are more my kind of sweet (as long as they aren't stale.)

Baklava ($3.25): Sweet with honey and studded with pistachios, this sugar fix is a good capper to the meal.


One and a half carrots out of four

This is a place to stop by if you are in the area, not a destination eatery. They serve hummus, stuffed grape leaves, soups, salads, sandwiches and gyros, but the meat pides are the thing to get here.



A la Turca Bathroom Rating

Acceptably clean and stocked. Very blue.

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