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Bosphorus in Berkeley - report

Alexandra | Aug 4, 200301:53 PM

A group of four of us (and a sleeping two-year-old) went to Bosphorus on Saturday night. Bosphorus is located on University Ave just west of San Pablo, in the space formerly occupied by Ahlishan, an Indian restaurant. As far as I can tell, the decor is exactly the same as it was before, save for a Turkish rug slapped onto the wall. That doesn't mean it's unattractive, just that it's slightly incongruous to see elephant heads and delicate Indian latticework adorning a Turkish place. But it's a nice space, and it's great to have a Turkish restaurant in Berkeley - as I said in the linked post, it's been about three years since Istanbul Grill on Shattuck closed, and I've missed those kebabs.

We shared the eggplant with ground beef (something beginning with "b" - can't remember the name and they didn't have a paper menu I could take), the dana sis (pronounced "shish" as in shish kebab), and the ground beef kebab that was supposed to be spicier then the urfa kebab (again, apologies I can't remember the name), as well as a cucumber, tomato, green pepper, and onion salad and a tzatziki-like yogurt, garlic, cucumber, and dill dip.

The dana sis was a hit - flavorful chargrilled cubes of meat (now I can't remember if it was beef or lamb...) served over rice with a small salad sharing the plate.

The eggplant dish was also universally liked -- one big eggplant split open with a mound of ground beef and sauteed onions topping it. (And served with rice, of course.)

And the ground kebab was very very good, though not spicy at all. It's possible that they made a mistake and brought us urfa kebab after all. Or maybe by "spicy" they meant it was made with spices (not hot spicy). But I'd order it again!

They have some Turkish fruit juices and soft drinks that aren't too exotic, and I think a small wine list. Ali had ayran, the yogurt drink very similar to lassi or doogh. It was thick and sour - a lot richer than doogh, and with no carbonation or extras like mint or cucumber to interfere with that yogurt taste.

We didn't get a chance to try their desserts - they have the ubiquitous baklava on the menu, as well as creme caramel (!) and some chocolate dessert with a Turkish name that sounded pretty intriguing.

I don't think the folks at Bosphorus have quite the gourmet sensibility that the Istanbul Grill proprietors did (the thin slices of pita at IG were sprinkled with a fine spray of some spice rub and olive oil and served with a rich garlic yogurt), but it's good, hearty food for a great price. I'd highly recommend it. And there were real, live Turkish customers there, so that's a good sign.

With tips, tax, and drinks all around (non-alcoholic) it came out to about $11/person. An incredible deal for some good quality food.

Wish I had their phone number and address for you, but they don't seem to be listed in the yellow pages yet.


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