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Last week we popped into Galata Bistro for a quick dinner. Trying restaurants in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area is often so disappointing, but this one turned out to be worthy of a return visit. We liked most of what we ordered. Service was erratic but well-meaning.
Best dish was Vegetarian manti, $14.99. The vege version is filled with spinach; beef-filled manti are also available. These were the small style that I prefer. The pinched wrappers had a firm, bouncy chewiness. Dressed with strained yogurt, chile-infused butter and dried mint, this was one of the most soul-satisfying pastas I've eaten in a long time.
Grilled octopus appetizer, $10.99, was also a stand-out. Tender tentacles had tantalizing charred aroma and a bit of crunch from time on the grill. A little oversalted, but executed very well otherwise. Arugula salad with olive oil, lemon and oregano dressing completed the plate.
Cold sampler plate, $14.99, was a mixed bag. But I guess that let's us order our favorites next time. Kizartma (Deep-fried eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper with tomato garlic sauce topped with yogurt) was the top meze for both of us. Dolma with a side of tzatziki and the Melitzanisalata (Roasted eggplant, roasted red pepper, parsley, red onion, garlic & olive oil) were also good. Baba ghanoush was overwhelmed by too much tahini. Nothing notable about the hummus, and the ezme specified on the menu was replaced by a kalamata olive spread that was painfully salty.
We would have liked to order the Kunefe, but the bill was presented and the kitchen shut down without our server asking if we wanted anything else. Near the entrance is a display of Turkish food stuffs. Almost bought some Turkish delight on the way out . . . next time.
827 Santa Cruz Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025
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