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In the Mood for Doner Kebab? Hit Turkish Restaurant Week

Call it a form of withdrawal: We just can’t get enough of those restaurant weeks. And this week, there’s yet another promotion to make room for. Running now through Saturday, September 26, Turkish Restaurant Week spotlights seven restaurants serving $25 four-course menus filled with traditional dishes such as sigara borek and hunkar begendi. This week might mean a tough call for bargain hunters: Will you opt for a Bethesda hot spot—Bethesda Row is putting on its own version of Restaurant Week through Sunday—or Middle Eastern eats?

Café 8
This warm-toned Mediterranean eatery (424 Eighth St., SE; 202-547-1555) specializes in pide, or Turkish-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.

First course: Caesar salad; çoban salatası with cucumbers, tomato, green peppers, onion, and parsley-lemon dressing; Greek salad with radish, red onion, capers, Kalamata olives, and feta tossed in a house-made Greek dressing .

Second course:
Mixed mezze platter with spicy herb-seasoned tomatoes, hummus, and fresh vegetables; sigara borek, fried phyllo pastries filled with feta, parsley, and dill; grape leaves filled with seasoned rice, currants, and herbs.

Third course:
Hünkar begendi, braised beef with eggplant purée and Gruyère cheese; iskender kebab, lamb and veal cooked over an open flame and sliced thin, served with bread cubes, yogurt, and tomato sauce.

Pistachio baklava; kazandibi, a baked milk pudding.

Café Divan

From the tiles to the food, this chic Georgetown spot feels authentically Turkish. The place gets its name from the ritzy Divan Hotel in Istanbul.

First course:
Mixed-appetizer platter with feta-filled sigara borek, hummus with vegetables, feta cheese, stuffed grape leaves, and red lentils with wheat, spices, and onion.

Second course:
Garden salad.

Third course:
Choice of three kebabs: Doner kebab made with lamb and veal and served with rice and sautéed tomato; chicken shish kebab with onions, tomatoes, and green peppers; vegetable kebab with grilled eggplant, tomato, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Kebabs are served with either rice or pita bread and yogurt sauce.

Mixed-dessert platter with kazandibi, a baked and caramelized milk pudding, Turkish cookies sweetened with syrup, and tulumba, fritters with syrup.

This casual restaurant (1320 19th St., NW; 202-293-3244) just off Dupont Circle is the second American outpost of a popular Austria-based chain; the first opened in Bethesda in 1998.

First course:
Turkish-style red-lentil soup with peppermint; shepherd salad with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions, olive oil, and lemon.

Second course:
Hummus; sigara borek, phyllo pastries filled with feta and dill.

Third course:
Doner kebab made with thinly cut beef and lamb served with rice and tzatziki; lahmacun pide, a pizza topped with chopped lamb, vegetables, and lemon; sucuk pide, a pizza topped with hot Turkish sausage, mild peppers, and Kaser cheese; grilled-chicken salad in a mild curry sauce with mixed greens and house dressing.

Baklava; sütlaç, a rice pudding.

Meze Restaurant and Lounge

In addition to Middle Eastern cuisine, this Adams Morgan hangout offers free belly-dancing lessons every Sunday.

First course:
Mixed-green salad with basil vinaigrette; çoban salatası, a salad with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, olive oil, parsley, and lemon juice.

Second course:
Muhammara kanepe, bruschetta topped with roasted-red-pepper/walnut spread; gavur dagi, a spicy relish made with tomatoes, parsley, walnuts, and olive-oil/pomegranate dressing; çerkez tavugu kanepe, bruschetta with shredded chicken breast, walnuts, garlic, and paprika.

Third course: Hünkar begendi, braised beef with eggplant purée and Gruyère cheese; mantı, a beef-filled pastry with garlic-yogurt and buttered-red-pepper sauce; adana kebabı, a skewer of grilled ground lamb and beef with rice and salad.


Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro

A corner patio and varied menu make this Dupont Circle restaurant (1801 18th St., NW; 202-332-3200) a popular stop for people-watching.

First course:
Mixed platter with three-cheese sigara borek, eggplant salad, grape leaves, and feta.

Second course:
Mixed-greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette or creamy feta dressing.

Third course: 
Hünkar begendi, slow-baked lamb with smoked-eggplant purée, rice, and beans; adana kebab, skewers of char-grilled ground lamb and beef with rice, pita bread, and yogurt; char-grilled lamb shish kebab with beans, rice pilaf, and yogurt; manti, beef dumplings poached and topped with garlic-yogurt-and-tomato sauce; pide, flatbread baked with a choice of toppings.

Dessert: Kunefe for two, made with sweetened cheese and shredded phyllo dough; baklava; cappuccino flan.


The elegant but unassuming Temel (3232 Old Pickett Rd., Fairfax; 703-352-5477) specializes in Turkish food, although the menu—dubbed as Euro-Mediterranean—also features some Greek dishes.

First course:
Appetizer platter with sigara borek, stuffed grape leaves, hummus with vegetables, and falafel with cilantro and cumin.

Second course:
Mixed-greens salad with vinaigrette.

Third course:
Chicken kebab made with grilled and marinated chicken breast; adana kebab made with ground lamb; beef shish kebab; moussaka, baked eggplant with ground beef, potato, béchamel, ricotta, and tomato sauce.


Westchester Restaurant

Located in the Westchester luxury apartment complex—where Barry Goldwater once lived—this family-operated restaurant (4000 Cathedral Ave., NW; 202-333-1882) serves American cuisine with Turkish accents.

First course:
Mixed-greens salad; cucumber salad with yogurt, dill, mint, and lime juice .

Second course:
Mezze platter with sigara borek; stuffed grape leaves; and hummus with pita bread.

Third course:
Chicken topkapı with rice and cherry sauce; Turkish liver sautéed with oregano, parsley, and cayenne; imam bayıldı, eggplant simmered with onions, garlic, and tomatoes.

Sekerpare, a pastry topped with pistachios.

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