Troya – San Francisco

Troya Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

It’s been a while since I’ve given a restaurant 5 clubs. And Troya, an authentic Turkish restaurant in the Inner Richmond, completely deserves a perfect score. Troya is a cute little restaurant on the corner of 4th and Clement. Dark ambiance, candles on every table – such a cute place for a date night.

We started with two appetizers – flat bread topped with ground lamb and spices and super moist crab cakes. Both were amazing, especially the flat bread. Smoky, earthy… with a hint of cumin. Boy, I could eat that flat bread every day if I knew how to make it.

Troya Flat Bread

Troya Crab Cakes

Now it’s time for kebabs. I had the kofte kebabs (lamb meatballs). Oh it was so delicious. So tender and juicy. Each meatball exploded with flavor with each bite. Dip it in the hot sauce for some serious heat. K’s lamb cube skewers were just as tasty. For such tiny pieces, each was cooked perfectly tender. And they were lean! Major plus.

Troya Meatball Kebab

Troya Lamb Kebab

As if the meal couldn’t get any better, we had dessert. K and I shared the kunefe, shredded phyllo dough (kadayif) wrapped around a soft cake-like cheese topped with a simple syrup and crushed pistachios. The crunchy dough resembled crispy noodles and the center was warm and gooey. We were so full from dinner, I was surprised when we devoured the dessert and licked the plate clean in seconds.

Troya Kunefe

As if you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. The meal, the service and the price – the entire experience was perfect. I just can’t wait to come back!

349 Clement St
(between 4th Ave & 5th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94118
Neighborhood: Inner Richmond

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Cafe Mo’z – San Francisco

Cafe Moz Huevos RancherosCafe Mo’z
36 5th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhoods: Union Square, SOMA

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

Sneaking in a shopping trip during lunch, my co-worker and I found this cute little cafe just outside the SF Shopping Center. I was initially looking at the falaffel sandwiches, but what is this? They have breakfast! Breakfast for lunch is always a preference of mine. Cafe Moz looks like your typical cheap take-out lunch place for the busy professional, but if you really sit down and enjoy the meal, you’d be pleasantly surprised.

The scene:

It seems like Cafe Moz serves 2 different kinds of food – Mediterranean and breakfast. An odd combination, but it works.

The service is very friendly. The server could’ve passed for borderline flirtatious, but hey, I won’t complain. Good service and good food is all I ask. My coworker even forgot her leftovers at the table and the server chased her out the door with her doggie bag.

The food:

Huevos Rancheros – I cannot turn down huevos rancheros. It’s a good brunch plate because it embodies elements of both breakfast and lunch. This common breakfast plate consists of hearty black beans mixed with fluffy scrambled eggs, salsa and chewy corn tortillas. I added a few douses of Tabasco for a good kick. One thing I look for in a good huevos rancheros is chewy tortillas. Soggy tortillas are no bueno.

The reason why I’m giving this 4 clubs rather than 5 is because I think they use a jarred salsa rather than a fresh one. Nothing wrong with that, but I’d appreciate it more if it was made from scratch.

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Kokkari – San Francisco

Kokkari StorefrontKokkari Estiatorio
Neighborhood: Financial District
200 Jackson St
(between Front St & Battery St)
San Francisco, CA 94111

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

I had the honor to dine at Kokkari a few week ago for a work dinner and it was the BEST Mediterranean food I’ve ever had. Our VP selected 9 different dishes for a set dinner and everything was superb. I’m definitely taking K here on our next special occasion.

The scene:

The interior is very rustic, very Mediterranean. With dim lighting and a giant cozy fireplace, Kokkari makes for a perfect date spot. We sat in an intimate private room towards the back with 20 or so coworkers. Everything visual about this restaurant is perfect.

Service was a little on and off for me. The waiters were very kind, but they kept hitting me on the head with the serving platters as they were serving each person around the table. One waiter even spilled a drop of tomato sauce on my lap from the meatball appetizer. Thank goodness my napkin was on my lap! He apologized and gave me an extra meatball to make up for it.

The food:

The food was outstanding! The only thing I didn’t try was the Greek salad which consisted of tomatoes and cucumbers. It looked amazing, but I couldn’t get myself to eat it because of the tomatoes.

Kokkari Patates (oven roasted potatoes with oregano & lemon) – Wow, these were amazing. I never thought I’d love fries this much. The potato wedges were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Soutzoukakia (grilled meatballs with tomato & green olive compote) – The meatballs were tender and juicy. It literally fell apart in my mouth once I popped it in. Good thing I got that second meatball!

Melitzanosalata, Taramosalata, Tzatziki, Favosalata or Tirosalata with housemade grilled pita – The first dish on the table was the pita and dip platter. I was hooked on the Melitzanosalata which is a puree of eggplant and spices. I love eggplant, especially when it’s turned into a smooth, creamy dip and paired with a warm fluffy pita bread.

Kokkari Greek SaladHoriatiki (classic Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, oregano, olives & feta) – I think I might’ve offended the waiter when I told him I didn’t want any salad. No offense to the restaurant, I just don’t eat tomatoes!

Makaronia (ravioli of winter nettles with mushrooms, pine nuts & feta) – This is probably one of the best raviolis I’ve ever had. I’m a big fan of nettles. Nettles are a kind of leafy vegetable that’s been growing popular in restaurants within the last couple of years. The mild flavor of the nettles paired with the crumbled feta, crunchy pine nuts and creamy sauce made for a great contrast.

Kokkari Rack of LambArnisia Paidakia (grilled lamb chops with a lemon-oregano vinaigrette & Kokkari potatoes) – WOOOOW! This was the best rack of lamb I’ve ever had. The meat was so tender, the knife cut through it like butter. The strong aroma and flavors of lemon and oregano were so Greek and so perfect for lamb. When I come back with K, I’m getting this dish.

Kotopoulo Souvlas (lemon-oregano chicken with roasted root vegetables & Kokkari potatoes) – I never order chicken when I go out just because… it’s chicken! It is so simple and can often be dry. I was amazed when I cut through this yogurt marinated chicken. It was so juicy and flavorful, I couldn’t believe it was chicken!

Sokolatina (flourless dark chocolate cake with sweetened whipped cream) – This may surprise you, but another WOW goes to this dish. This was a mixture of heavy, rich, smooth, creamy, chocolaty goodness. It was almost like eating pure chocolate ganache. The cake just melted in my mouth from the heat of my tongue.

Turkish Coffee – The wait staff were taking after meal drink orders and someone shouted, “They have Turkish coffee!” In a spur of the moment, I said, “I’ll have one of those!” Little did I know Turkish coffee is the strongest coffee out there. After one sip, I could just feel the jolt of caffeine run through my blood stream. At 9:30 at night, I regretfully put the coffee down and let that $6 tiny cup of coffee go to waste.

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Bursa – San Francisco

Bursa StorefrontBursa
Neighborhood: West Portal
60 W Portal Ave
(between Portola Dr & Claremont Blvd)
San Francisco, CA 94127

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

I was craving Mediterranean food the other day, and I came across Bursa on Yelp. I love how I can drive 5 minutes to West Portal and be able to choose from 15 different restaurants all serving different kinds of food.

The scene:

Bursa is your typical new trendy restaurant with dim lighting and a fancy bar. We came in half an hour before the restaurant closed, and the waitress sat us down without hesitation. They even asked if we wanted a second cup of coffee at the end of our meal.

The food:

K and I shared 2 appetizers and 1 entree and the total came to about $35.

Hummus – The hummus is made from blended garbanzo beans, tahini sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. It was smooth and creamy. Definitely richer and more authentic than the kind you buy from Costco.

Sambusak – This appetizer is phyllo dough stuffed with ground sirloin, onions and pine nuts. The dipping sauce for the crispy finger food is this spicy roasted pepper and tomato dipping sauce. It was sooo good, I ended up dipping the pita bread from our hummus appetizer in the sauce. The sambusak itself was very good. The phyllo shell was soft and crispy, and the meat filling was so juicy.

Musakka – Several months ago, K, my family and I went to the Greek festival in Honolulu and ate the Musakka for luch. It was one of the best Greek dishes I’ve ever had, but I questioned its authenticity since the festival took place in Hawaii. We decided to order the Musakka at Bursa to compare the dishes, and I think Hawaii’s won, although this too was good. Musakka is almost like a shepherd’s pie. It’s made with eggplant, potatoes, squash, zucchini and bechamel sauce. Each ingredient is layered in a dish and topped with tomato sauce and parmesean cheese. It is served with a mound of buttery rice pilaf and a Greek salad. The Greek salad didn’t have much flavor (I didn’t taste any lemon), but the musakka and rice were delish. The chunks of fresh eggplant were al dente, so you could tell what it was and the squash and zucchinis were tender and juicy.

From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like Bursa offers a lunch meal for $7 that features their famous kebabs. I’m planning on coming back soon to check it out.

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