I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had dreams of walking down Turkish streets. Taking in all the sights, sounds and smells. Exploring the vendors with their colorful spices, bending around nooks and narrow corners for idealistic little street carts filled with gyros and falafels. The passing by of freshly seasoned meats doused in a delicate variety of herbs and spices would make anyone’s mouth water.
If you’re by chance in the Bay Area then this experience of food can be yours. Turkish Kitchen, located in downtown Berkley is a little slice of Turkish heaven laid amongst a plethora of different cultures of food. The name alone, so simple, only stating exactly what it is, they let the food do the talking. Turkish Kitchen defies your senses, immediately peaks your sight, eyes catching a brilliant shade of golden orange from steps away.
Faintly resembling a golden arch, leading into a passage way to a tucked back Turkish street corner with those barrels of spices and those little wheeled carts of mysteriously fascinating meat. As you walk up to that brilliant color of stone the colors continue, printed onto glossy 8×11” paper. All their dishes are perfected, plated, photographed, laminated and then displayed all across their massive windows overlooking the busy street. Giving you the complete sense of what you will be getting and just how traditional it is.
“They let the food do the talking.”
Walking through the golden doorway you’re met with an almost cafeteria like feel. Like they transcended the street cart into a store front. They portray a sense of quick dinning, not allowing much ambiance to sit and savor your meal. As if this quality is apart of the cuisine itself. The sense while being inside Turkish Kitchen is, they have a very traditional process. You walk up to the counter, all the skewered meats stacked inside a quick grab hot case.
Menu’s towering over you as you order at the counter. Looking behind at their operation, they are set up to quickly move their food. All meats are stacked up on vertical broilers, dripping their juices as they wait to be carved. They want efficiency in their kitchen. You get the sense that their equipment is improved, yes, they have a store front but their methods and preparation still lie in the culture of crafting these meals on the street.
“These beautifully prepared little nuggets of chickpea…”
Naturally, walking into Turkish Kitchen and seeing the authenticity they strive to create, builds excitement for this experience. They did not disappoint. The Falafels were exactly what I’d hope to expect, as if I’ve been waiting on that very beautifully colored street corner. Fresh, bouncy and a beautiful layer of crisp. A hefty amount of sesame seeds evenly scattered throughout, almost creating a more breaded texture through the outside of the falafel.
These beautifully prepared little nuggets of chickpea were paired with a trio of delectable sauces. The first, a traditional, smooth, spreadable tzatziki. Very simple with a splash of lemon. The second, an incredible buttery hummus with a beautiful roasted tan color, resembling a smooth pudding. Last, an interesting take on a peanut butter hummus. Stiffer in texture, smooth still, peanuts have been finely ground into a rich paste. All in all, a completely enjoyable street food experience, in the comfort of an accessible, approachable dining room.
Turkish Kitchen makes the culture of their food relevant with a clear sense of standing out. Not many American amenities, nothing to take away from the authenticity of their mission and their cuisine. A delightful, golden, Turkish gem nestled in the unassuming busy streets of downtown Berkeley.
|1986 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704|
Google Reviews for Turkish Kitchen
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Yelp Reviews for Turkish Kitchen
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