Best Middle Eastern Restaurant (2004)
Trust us, we've tried virtually every Middle Eastern restaurant in the area, and there are a few that get repeat business from us: Hedary's, which has Dallas and Fort Worth locations; Byblos in Fort Worth, run by a member of the Hedary family; and King Tut's in Fort Worth's Hospital District. But the place you'll see us at most often is Café Istanbul, a pretty cafe near the Inwood Theatre. Here, chef-owner Erol Girgin clearly attends to the details, because everything comes together each time we visit: presentation, service and, above all, the excellent quality of Café Istanbul's Turkish cuisine. Istanbul Doner is one of the house specialties--kind of like gyros, but meatier--served with pickled red cabbage, rice pilaf and small peppers. It's a perfect ensemble of tastes and textures. The Islim Kebap--lamb shanks--are fall-off-the-bone tender and are served with a single, draped slice of grilled eggplant and a rich sauce of tomatoes and onion. If there were a category for best lentil soup, Café Istanbul would win it hands down for its slightly spicy version, and every meal comes with outstanding fresh-baked bread speckled with sesame seeds. You probably haven't experienced a Middle Eastern restaurant in Dallas with such high standards for service and surroundings. Try this place; we know you'll be back.
3711 Greenville Ave.
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