In the pantheon of cuisines that usually get thrown out as options when deciding where to go for dinner, Turkish food is usually not one of them. Mexican? Thai? Italian? Yes, we all have take out menus stuffed into that "misc./tool" drawer in our kitchens. But I'm guessing there aren't many of you craving a thin and crispy lachmajun or a juicy doner kebab like I do frequently. Turkish food joins the ranks of the under-represented in Chicago, right alongside Iranian (Persian), Indonesian and Malay. But I think these five offer something unique, and in most cases, they're either baking their own bread or phyllo (or both), and you can bet the kebabs are made to-order.
1. Turkish Cuisine & Bakery
Everything is made on-site, including the paper-thin phyllo dough and fresh bread. 5605 N. Clark St., 773-878-8930.
2. Cafe Orchid
Eggplant dishes are the star here, and the owners are so friendly, you feel like you're dining at their home. 1746 W. Addison St., 773-327-3808.
This Roscoe Village restaurant has a Turkish arsenal including hot and cold starters, plus a wider range of entrees than most; there's also a four-course prix-fixe option as well. 2147 W. Roscoe St., 773-549-3523.
4. A La Turka
Comfy couches and pillows everywhere and live dancing on the weekends, this is probably the best decorated of the top 5, making you really feel like you're in Istanbul. 3134 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-935-6101.
5. Efes Cafe
Not exactly 100% Turkish - they are more "Mediterranean" in theme - but they do have some nice Turkish touches like the mucver (zucchini pancake with homemade yogurt) 2833 N. Broadway St., 773-880-0063.