Written By Scott Joseph On April 21, 2022

Lale ext

I don’t know why but whenever I consider places to dine on Park Avenue I usually begin my mental restaurant roll call at Lyman Avenue and head north from there. But of course that means I miss some others worth recommending that are on the lower end of the street, such as Cafe de France, which is one of the oldest restaurants on the avenue, Umi Japanese and Grato, a newcomer Italian.

Now add an even newercomer to the list, Lale a Mediterranean/Turkish restaurant that has moved into the compact space next to Umi (they’re so close to each other that it’s difficult to distinguish which sidewalk tables belong to which restaurant).


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Bosphorous Winter Park

Written By Scott Joseph On September 17, 2020

Bosphorouswp ext

I wasn’t at all sure how it would travel, but I knew I had to have the lavas when I got takeout from Bosphorous, the Turkish restaurant on Park Avenue (and other locations).

Lavas, as anyone who has dined at Bosphorous knows, is the signature “hollow bread,” also sometimes called balloon bread because it poofs up with steam when it’s baked. The first time I saw it I called it Jiffy Pop bread because that’s what it reminded me of.

The reason I had to have the bread was because instead of two entrees, my companion and I decided to get just one main dish and then order the mixed appetizer platter. And because the meze includes such things as hummus, babaganoush and other dippy things, the bread was a must-have-too.


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Turquaz Turkish Cuisine

Written By Scott Joseph On December 21, 2017

Turquaz exterior

The first time I visited Turquaz, a Turkish restaurant on International Drive, it was a Friday night, somewhere around 8 o’clock, and the place was empty. It was open for business, but eerily quiet.

The second time I visited was at lunchtime, and the number of patrons had doubled: A single woman sat on the patio working on a laptop and smoking a hookah. I had the dining room all to myself for the duration of my meal.


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Zeytin Turkish Cuisine

Written By Scott Joseph On March 8, 2017

Zeytin sign

I love seeing culturally diverse restaurants pop up in varied areas of town. So I was pleased to see Zeytin Turkish Cuisine open on Edgewater Drive just east of Lake Fairview and within sight of the Orange County VFW.

Zeytin is a small buisiness in a free-standing building, the former site of Woody’s Italian American Grill and Woody’s Wings & Whatnot. Woody’s gone.

Zeytin has a menu that belies its size, with myriad hot and cold appetizers, assorted Turkish pides (flatbreads), kebabs and sautés. It looks like an ambitious set of offerings but most are variations on the same theme.


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Turkish Bar & Grill

Written By Scott Joseph On February 3, 2015

Turkish bar interior

There’s a new Turkish bar and grill in town. It’s called Turkish Bar & Grill. And what it lacks in name creativity, it makes up for in many other ways.

We were just here a few months ago, not at TB&G but in this same space. Then it was a place called Wassabi Asian Fusion. Based on my experience there, its closing wasn’t a surprise.

The new tenants changed precious little about the interior. That’s a picture of Turkish Bar & Grill at the top; I’ve included one of Wassabi at the bottom of this review. With the exception of daylight through the windows at Wassabi and some Turkish rugs thrown over the decidedly unattractive green beams it’s pretty much the same. (I was even seated at the same table — you’d be surprised how often that happens.)


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Turkish Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On April 1, 2014

Turkish Kitchen saute

Updated to correct days of week that Turkish Kitchen is open. 


The little Turkish kitchen — now known as Turkish Kitchen — didn’t do itself any favors when it first opened just before the new year and did what many people saw as a questionable business decision. And that’s too bad because the food is about as good as any Turkish food you’ll find in Central Florida, which over the last few years has seen several good restaurants specializing in the cuisine open.

Notably among them is Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine, which has two popular locations, on Park Avenue in Winter Park and on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row in Orlando.

So when another Turkish restaurant opened on Semoran Boulevard, just north of Colonial Drive, with the name Bosphorous Turkish Kitchen it confused many. Bosphorous, of course, is the name of the strait that separates Europe from Asia, although the usual spelling is Bosphorus.

Why the owners of the new restaurant thought that they should, or could, name their restaurant so similarly to two others already in the area is something I can’t answer. And I hope that they haven’t created so much ill will that they will prevent people who love good Turkish food to give it a try.


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Istanbul Turkish Cuisine

Written By Scott Joseph On July 30, 2013

Istanbul interior

I headed up to Lake Mary to visit a familiar space, the one at 7025 County Road 46A that has been home to various restaurants in the center’s relatively short life. Most recently we were here for the fleeting Finesse.

Now it is Istanbul, another in the ever-growing line of Turkish restaurants that have opened in the area recently. Is Turkish the new Thai?

I visited just once, for a quick bite review, but I’m not chomping at the bit to go back. The surroundings are pleasant — not much seems to have changed from the previous owners — and while the staff didn’t go out of their way to make one feel welcome they did their jobs well enough.

But the food elicited merely a shrug — neither poorly executed nor extraordinarily done. But when the price is taken into consideration, there isn’t much to recommend.


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Cappadocia Turkish Cuisine

Written By Scott Joseph On March 27, 2013

Cappadocia cabbageCappadocia’s stuffed cabbage was a standout on the menu.There have been some changes, though not as many as one would have hoped for. After decades as Cafe Italiano, the restaurant space on Semoran Boulevard is now called Cappadocia, and its cuisine has switched focus to another Mediterranean country, to Turkey.

Cappadocia (kappa-DOH-key-ah) is a region in the central part of Turkey southeast of Ankara (and, to give it a current events slant, nearly due north of Cyprus). We’ve seen a few Turkish restaurants open in the area in the past several years, most notably Bosphorous, Anatolia (now also a Bosphorous), and Efes (a Sanford restaurant that was started by the first owners of Bosphorous but that did not last). And others, such as the very good Cedars and the recently reviewed Atlas House have Turkish characteristics on their menus. Cappadocia, however, is the first Turkish restaurant in this part of town, something that doesn’t seem unusual until you know that the Orlando Turkish Cultural Center is across the street.


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Atlas House

Written By Scott Joseph On February 26, 2013

Atlas House eggplantEggplant roll appetizer is one of the standouts at Atlas House, an Uzbek restaurant in Orlando.I got only a brief look at the interior of Atlas House, a new restaurant on the lower end of International Drive. I was meeting someone for lunch, but when I entered the restaurant and found my friend already waiting I also found a family that included three unruly children running amok throughout the dining room. We wondered if perhaps they were related to the owners, given that the children were running behind counters and service stations without reprimand. In fact, there was no attempt to quiet the little dears at all, including allowing them to yell at each other from across the room. So we did not hesitate — we got up and went outside to the unadorned and plain patio where there were several much quieter seats available.


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Bosphorous Orlando

Written By Scott Joseph On November 14, 2012

Bosphorous lavasAs you may know, Bosphorous has taken over the restaurant formerly known as Anatolia on Restaurant Row. Anatolia was the very nice part Turkish/part Lebanese restaurant that opened a few years ago in the Marketplace on Dr. Phillips. I visited a couple of times and liked it a lot.

Now with Bosphorous moving in, the restaurant is all Turkish all the time. Most won’t notice a change in the menu; indeed the differences are subtle. You also won’t notice a change in quality. I’ve been a fan of the original Bosphorous on Park Avenue since it opened in 2005 and brought its exotic tastes to Winter Park, and they seem to have brought the same dedication to excellence to Restaurant Row.

Special SJO Dining Deal: Dinner for Two, including bottle of wine, at Bosphorous for $65. Click for details.


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