Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



Sugar & Spice: Turkish Cuisine
by Meghan Streit

This article shared 2719 times since Wed Apr 17, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

I can't recall how many times I've walked by the bluntly named Turkish Cuisine in Andersonville and thought to myself, "I have got to try that place." Peering in from the outside, it has always struck me as exactly the kind of oddball restaurant that I could fall in love with—the kind of joint where bizarre signage and outdated décor don't matter because the food is just that good. Lured by promises of authentic food at cheap prices, a BYOB policy and live belly dancers on the weekends, I imagined Turkish Cuisine could become one of my go-to restaurants for budget-friendly group dinners that would guarantee a good time—you know, the kind of place you take out-of-town guests who want a taste of "the real Chicago."

Well, I finally made it to Turkish Cuisine, and I can report that it exceeded some of my (admittedly high) expectations and failed miserably in other areas. I made a reservation for 8 p.m., so I could settle in and place my order before the belly-dancing show that was supposed to begin at 8:30 p.m. When I arrived, the place was empty—startlingly so, as in there were maybe eight other human beings in the entire restaurant, which is much larger than the average Chicago eatery. And, let me tell you, outdated décor goes from charming to creepy really fast when a restaurant is empty on a Friday night.

The ambiance didn't improve much when our waitress arrived at the table. She was polite enough, but seemed almost alarmed by our presence. No matter what she said to us, I felt like she was asking, "What are you people doing here?" I asked the waitress when the belly dancer would begin and was told that she was sick, which I am guessing is code for, "I don't work my butt off all night for an audience of nine." Fair enough. My friend and I had stocked up on our favorite wines and were looking forward to an evening of good food and great conversation, so we remained determined to have fun.

We threw in an order for a few appetizers and poured some wine. Things immediately started to look up when food began arriving at our table. First came a basket of warm Turkish bread, which tasted like a delightful hybrid of naan and French bread. After I dipped the first chunk into olive oil, I surrendered all feeble resolutions to watch my carbs that night.

Next came a plate of sizzling hot fried phyllo dough filled with feta cheese. Sigara Boregi is the Turkish answer to mozzarella sticks and it is fantastic, especially when slathered in the yogurt dipping sauce that accompanies it. I also loved the Mucver, pan-fried zucchini pancakes. They were doughy and fried lightly enough so as not to obliterate any taste of fresh vegetables. I also tried the Imam Bayildi, thin layers of cold cooked eggplant wrapped around a mixture of onion, red and green peppers, walnuts are garlic. The eggplant was seasoned nicely and the walnuts added an interesting toasty flavor, but the dish didn't wow me as much as the other appetizers.

The menu is quite large, and thankfully includes photos of each item, which I suspect was the suggestion of an Eastern European waitress tired of answering questions from clueless Americans. Even with the photos (and some knowledge of food other than cheeseburgers and pizza), selecting an entrée was hard just because the sheer number you can choose from. You'll find everything from hearty European classics like beef stroganoff to kebabs of beef, lamb and chicken to 10 different kinds of pide, which is a Turkish spin on pizza. Regrettably, I didn't try the pide, but from the photos, it looks a bit doughier than pizza, more like a calzone, and is available with all kinds of delicious-sounding filling combos, like beef, onions and tomatoes or Mediterranean sausage and mozzarella.

I was in the mood for something simple, so I ordered the filet mignon kabob. The meat was definitely prepared in a way that infused it with all kinds of smoky flavor. But, I have to question whether the cut served to me was, in fact, filet mignon, because it was quite tough and chewy. I enjoyed it nonetheless and recommend dipping the meat in any leftover yogurt sauce. Actually, I recommend dipping just about anything you order here in yogurt sauce. I also tried to chicken kebab, which was just as flavorful as the beef, but more tender. I think it's the kind of dish that would satisfy die-hard Turkish food fans and first-timers alike.

None of the three dessert offerings sounded scrumptious enough to splurge on after an already-filling meal. But, the waitress brought us some baklava on the house, perhaps as consolation for the belly dancing that never came to pass. And I must say, I'm glad I got to try it. It was light and flaky and not so sweet it hurts your teeth, as I find most baklavas to be.

In spite of the bizarre atmosphere, I had a very pleasant evening at Turkish Cuisine. The food was way above average and almost ridiculously affordable for the quantity and quality. I hope to one night enjoy a more lively meal at Turkish Cuisine, complete with belly dancers (and hopefully, a few other paying customers). I suspect I visited on an off night. From everything I've heard and read, crowds typically crowds flock to this hidden gem. But, even if they don't, I, for one, will be going back again and again.

Turkish Cuisine is located 5605 N. Clark St.; call 773-878-8930 or visit

Do you need some more Sugar & Spice in your life? Follow me on Twitter @SugarAndSpiceMS for inside scoop and commentary on Chicago's dining scene.

This article shared 2719 times since Wed Apr 17, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

VIEWPOINT: FDA must lift discriminatory blood-donor policy 2022-01-26
- With the nation's blood supply at its lowest point in a decade, and the American Red Cross declaring its first-ever national blood crisis earlier this month, it is time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ...

Gay News

SAVOR Jake Melnick's Corner Tap 2022-01-23
- Winter in Chicago (and other relatively northern spots) is known for many things—including comfort foods. Well, the River North spot Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St., has it in spades—and it's all delicious. How ...

Gay News

SAVOR Uvae 2021-12-27
- The Andersonville spot Uvae (5553 N. Clark St., and which has the full name Uvae Wine Bar & Fromagerie), unsurprisingly, gets its name from the Latin word for "grapes." And guests might even expect many wine-related ...

Gay News

FDA approves injectable PrEP 2021-12-24
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Apretude (cabotegravir extended-release injectable suspension) for use in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 77 pounds for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to ...

Gay News

SAVOR Take in the sights (and drinks) at new spot Dusk 2021-12-20
- Looking for a place to relax after work? Then look no farther than the sleek bar/art space Dusk, at 1518 N. Throop St.—a stone's throw from the seasonal Jack Frost pop-up and near the Clybourn Corridor. ...

Gay News

SAVOR Boxcar Betty's 2021-12-17
- Boxcar Betty's (which has two locations—at Ogilvie Transportation Center, 500 W. Madison St.; and in Bucktown, at 1856 W. North Ave.) is among many Chicago restaurants to bring a taste of the South to the city. ...

Gay News

FDA allows abortion pills to be sent via mail 2021-12-16
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Dec. 16 that it is lifting a requirement that patients seeking medication abortion had to pick up the medication in person—and allowing pills to be sent by mail ...

Gay News

Trans people three times more likely to face food insufficiency during pandemic 2021-12-14
--From a press release - During the pandemic, an estimated 25% of transgender adults in the U.S. reported not having enough to eat in the past week, compared to 8% of cisgender adults, according to a new report by the Williams ...

Gay News

Downstate Donuts starts Kickstarter campaign for Andersonville shop 2021-12-14
- Chicago's award-winning Downstate Donuts, known for its signature line of authentic potato donuts, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to open its first retail shop in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. Since founder ...

Gay News

SAVOR Sweetwater Tavern & Grille 2021-12-04
- The popular Loop spot Sweetwater Tavern & Grille—which specializes in contemporary U.S. cuisine, and which is part of the Bottleneck Management stable of restaurants—has a lot going for it. First, there are the views of the ...

Gay News

Yoshi's Cafe to close permanently after Dec. 12 2021-12-03
- Yoshi's Cafe, a Northalsted restaurant that specialized in the fusion of French and Asian cuisines for almost four decades, will close permanently after Dec. 12, The Chicago Tribune reported. "Yoshi's Cafe's last day will be Dec. 12th ...

Gay News

RESTAURANTS Epic Kitchens Lakeview 2021-11-30
By Andrew Pirrotta - In our modern world of instant, online food ordering and delivery, there is really only one problem we encounter: Is there anything we can all agree on? Let's face it: No one wants to place several ...

Gay News

SAVOR Mango Pickle offering 21 Days of Thali supper Dec. 3-20 2021-11-27
- The Indian bistro Mango Pickle (5842 N. Broadway; will hold its next 21 Days of Thali event Dec. 3-20. Marisa Paolillo and Gregory Bazire—the founders and chef-partners of Mango ...

Gay News

Local chefs to take part in James Beard series dinner [EVENT POSTPONED] 2021-11-23
- [This event has been postponed. A new date will soon be announced.] Chef Cedric Harden, of the River North restaurant River Roast, will participate in the James Beard Foundation's 2021-2022 Taste America culinary series ...

Gay News

SAVOR Farm Bar 2021-11-21
- You may not have heard of Farmheads Group, but it should be known that the organization is on a culinary mission. Farmheads—which operates Farm Bar Lakeview, Farmhouse Evanston and Brown Dog Farm—wants to exemplify responsibility by ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.