September 07, 2013

Delicious Middle Eastern food at Café Turko in Fremont, Seattle


When my son and his girlfriend were visiting last weekend, and we were picking a restaurant to go to for lunch, my son said he wanted to try a place he had never been. I knew just the spot — Café Turko, in the Fremont neighborhood. We'd been meaning to go there ever since it first opened, but although it's really close to our house, for some unknown reason, we had never eaten there. Just recently, though, Café Turko had catered the food at the monthly Vegetarians of Washington dinner that we attend, and it was excellent — the yam hummus was a revelation. The die was cast.

We first met Sureyya Gokeri, who co-owns Café Turko with her husband, Gencer Gokeri, when we attended one of her vegan Middle Eastern mezze cooking classes at our local food co-op. We enjoyed the class so much we took another one from Sureyya — a Middle Eastern 30-minute cooking class, which was fabulous. When Sureyya told the class she and her husband were incorporating a cafe into their Turkish import business, and the menu would be filled with vegetarian and vegan food, we were very excited — but then we kind of forgot about it until we tasted the food again at the VegWa dinner.


The restaurant space is charming and homey, and as soon as the six of us settled into our seats, Sureyya came over to greet us and tell us she had just made some amazing beet salad that we might want to try. We studied the menu and saw that, although the restaurant isn't vegetarian, the vegetarian and vegan dishes were clearly marked. In fact, even the gluten-free dishes were noted, making ordering a lot easier. There were so many choices that it took us a while to make up our minds.

I regret that I forgot my camera and only had my iphone, and that I failed to take photos of the beautiful food ordered my my dining companions. So, you will only get a taste of what was on our table. I'm also sorry that I didn't photograph the dining room and the adjacent import section — so colorful and warm. The tray you see above, held a large assortment of condiments that were available on all the tables. (I noticed as we left the restaurant that there were bags of the mixtures available for purchase.)


Several people at the table started out with lentil soup, and they were very enthusiastic about it. I had a taste of my husband's soup and thought it was complex, fragrant  and delicious. My son loved his soup so much that when Mr. Gokeri came to clear away his bowl, he didn't want to let it go because it still held a few drops of soup that he was sopping up with bread. Mr. Gokeri brought him another bowl! How amazing is that?


My husband ordered the beet salad that Sureyya had told us about, and was thrilled with his choice. It was substantial, fresh and filled with hearty greens like kale. Combined with the soup, it made a perfect lunch.


I ordered the Ottoman Palace Vegetarian Plate, and because I apparently didn't read the menu correctly, didn't realize it would come with rice and salad. It was delicious, with creamy eggplant, green beans, tomatoes and other veggies, and I was stuffed — but feeling good!

Our venture to Café Turko was a huge success, and we left feeling full and happy. Can't wait to return.


21 comments:

  1. What a sweet sounding place - it makes all the difference when the owners are that thoughtful! I can totally see why you left so full!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of positive energy at Café Turko!

      Delete
  2. Some of the best vegan food I had was in Turkey. Gorgeous presentation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never been to Turkey but I think I would like the food a lot.

      Delete
  3. Andrea

    I am jealous! You have so many lovely looking vegan-friendly restaurants near you! I hope you had a nice visit with your son when he was in town.

    Courtney

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had a really nice visit, thanks. I thought you had quite a few good vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Minneapolis, too.

      Delete
    2. We have Ecopolitan, the raw vegan restaurant, but that is the only vegan place I can think of. I guess there are vegan friendly places, though...

      Delete
  4. This sounds like the kind of restaurant I would absolutely love. Look at all of that gorgeous color!! That's so sweet that they gave your son a second serving of soup since he loved it so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would enjoy both the atmosphere and the food. You would also love the restaurant I reviewed a couple of days ago, Sutra. If you come to Seattle, you have to eat there!

      Delete
  5. Classic looking dishes! The soup looks and sounds gorgeous including the beet salad! All the dishes look so yummy! Thanks for sharing this wonderful lunch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sureyya is a great cook, no doubt about it. I'm looking forward to trying other dishes — if I can stop myself from ordering the same thing again!

      Delete
  6. You guys chose well! I am always so bummed when the waiter whisks away a plate that still has a bite or two! Or a pizza board that still has a few olives, etc. If a restaurant clearly marks their veg items, it makes all of the difference in the world to me in whether I want to eat there or not. A small but important touch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean about the menu being clear. When I see the word 'vegan' I trust a little more that they really know what it means. And it does make it easier — fewer questions and explanations.

      Delete
  7. Sounds incredible. I love lentil soup and Turkish flavorings. Bet the eggplant was incredible. my sister spent a year in Turkey and when she came back we went to a Turkish restaurant to celebrate but I just remember there being a lot of meat, and nothing like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lentil soup was a big hit at the table. Next time I'm getting some. There's meat on the menu, but plenty of choices for vegetarians and vegans. So many interesting kinds of hummus, too.

      Delete
  8. Awesome looking food! so colorful and fresh looking. The iphone photos look nice. I don't have an iphone, I use a small point and shoot camera in restaurants but I'm still self-conscious even with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always feel weird taking food shots in restaurants, especially when I have my full-size camera. I could never be a photo-journalist. We're food bloggers — we should just get over it, right? :D

      Delete
  9. Wow! Oh man I want to go to that restaurant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All you have to do is come to Seattle. Easy.

      Delete
  10. That soup and salad rivals anything I've seen at any Middle Eastern restaurant ever. Perhaps I would eat more than donuts in Seattle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know, Abby, your restaurant posts make me pretty jealous sometimes. But, yes, there's more to eat here than just doughnuts. :)

      Delete

Thanks for visiting Andrea's easy vegan cooking. I love, and read, all of your comments! Please share your thoughts. Sorry I had to remove anonymous comments, but I was inundated with spam. Same with word verification. Too many evil spammers.

Note: ALL THE IMAGES FROM THIS BLOG WERE ACCIDENTALLY DELETED ON 1-21-12. I'M RESTORING THEM, POST BY POST, BUT IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME. Recipe pages you visit may be missing photos, but all the text in intact.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails
I love comments. Please feel encouraged to leave your opinion. I started received hundreds of spam messages a day - sometimes per hour - and have had to add a capcha for the time being. Sorry about that. :(

Please contact me (cookeasyvegan at gmail dot com if you would like to reproduce any part of the blog.

Some posts contain links to Amazon.com. I earn a small percentage if you shop through my link. Thank you if you choose to force Amazon to share a tiny bit of their profit with me.