A La Turca, SF

Why hadn’t I visited A La Turca sooner?!

If your patronage of a restaurant is determined by its appearance, then A La Turca might not get yours.

But once you step foot inside, you realize quickly that it is the real deal.

A robust woman who mumbled to my friend in me in broken English brought us hot water when we’d asked for tap water. Rather than feel annoyed, I was charmed because she seemed so good-natured.

My friend and I shared the original doner ($13.50), which was a platter of sliced lamb (and supposedly beef, but I didn’t detect any) with buttery rice, a dressed salad, and some grilled vegetables.

I… am flabbergasted that I did not stop by A La Turca sooner, even though I live five minutes away. Every bite of meat was delicious and moist and tender. Simply seasoned with pepper and a few spices, it was transcendent with rice and even better with the creamy white sauce, which was of a thin consistency.

Double the yum

The second dish (the one on the right, in the above photo) we shared was the spinach and cheese pides ($8.50).

EVERYONE IN THE UNIVERSE MUST HAVE A SPINACH AND CHEESE PIDES IN THEIR LIFE.

BEHOLD:

Holy cheese and spinach heaven

Tangy and creamy feta cheese all melted with mozzarella, mixed with fresh cooked spinach and baked in the most wonderful bread that’s a chewier version of a French baguette.

GET ONE NOW.

869 Geary St. (at Larkin St.)

And my friend enjoyed the accompanying salad (different from the one that came with the doner) so much that he ate it all. The vinaigrette tasted simply seasoned olive oil, but it was perfect.

This is apparently also the real deal.

No visit to the Turkish restaurant would be complete without a Turkish coffee. At my friend’s suggestion (he’s an expert on Turkish coffee), we had ours with sugar (which you could choose to omit, but I would not recommend it). They arrived freshly brewed in tiny espresso cups.

1 Turkish coffee = 2½ Italian espressos

(Just thought you should know.)

Do beware that the coffee grounds sit at the bottom of the cup. (I found out the hard way.) The coffee was earthy and satisfying and as thick as hot chocolate, with less bitterness than you would get from an Italian espresso.

On a Sunday afternoon, only four of the ten or so tables were occupied—appalling considering the quality and yumminess of the food. Like any hole-in-the-wall joint in San Francisco, you can’t expect top-notch service (though our waters were enthusiastically topped up), but given its authenticity, the service can be enthusiastically forgiven!

THE VERDICT:

The lesson here is “do not judge a book by its cover.” DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE TENDERLOIN. Given how quiet the restaurant and the surroundings were, I recommend anyone to drop by here for weekend brunch or lunch for a satisfying meal. I know I’ll be back very soon!

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