7600 Forbes Ave., Regent Square
HOURS: 10:30am-10pm Mon-Tue,
10:30am-11pm Fri-Sat, 10:30am-10pm Sun.
PRICES: Appetizers, soups & salads: $4-$8;
Entrées: $11-$20; Desserts: $4
Reservations recommended; credit cards accepted;
wheelchair-accessible; suitable for vegetarians; some
vegan dishes; street parking; B YOB ($5 corkage fee)
126 | OCTOBER 2014 | pittsburghmagazine.com/eat
vegetarian grape leaves ($5) are stuffed with a
refreshing mix of rice, pine nuts and currants.
The piyaz ($4) is a lovely navy-bean salad
tossed with flavorful vinegar and oil. The salads
($7) all are variations on the theme of chopped
romaine topped with veggies, such as cucumber, tomato or sweet pepper, and are lightly and
Among hot appetizers, the divine cigarette
borek ($5) are narrow phyllo rolls stuffed with
creamy feta, with a dill accent. Also delicious
is the old-fashioned lentil soup ($4) — it’s peppery with a hint of tomato. The falafel ($5) is
respectable but slightly tough.
The entrées largely follow the same format:
a protein served with tender white rice, a
small salad and pickled red cabbage. The main
entrées vary from grilled meats to koftes (
seasoned patties) to slow-cooked braised choices.
Because this is a Turkish restaurant, lamb
always is a good option. The baby lamb chops
($20) are thin-cut and tender, while the shish
kebab ($13) is marinated and charbroiled.
Lamb dishes are served with a housemade
yogurt mint sauce. The moist Turkish gyros
($11), also known as doner kebab, are mildly
spiced, sliced thinly and a bit fatty, as you
might expect. If you can’t decide among these
choices, order the lamb mixed-grill platter
($23) to get a taste of everything.
The chicken dishes also are prepared with
finesse. The chicken mixed-grill platter ($18)
offers two varieties of lightly spiced, chargrilled
chicken cubes and the spicier chicken kofte
(similar to a chicken patty). For the salmon
lover, the grilled salmon ($15) is simply seasoned, tender and cooked just right. The veggie
platter ($12) almost seems like a healthy side
dish, comprised of grilled carrots, zucchini,
mushrooms, tomatoes and eggplant; if I were
a vegetarian, I would order this to accompany
the many interesting vegetarian appetizers.
Desserts are wonderful and authentic. Of
the four offerings, my top two are the moist
walnut baklava ($4) and the revani ($4), a traditional semolina cake soaked in honey syrup.
Both desserts are common throughout the
Mediterranean and are executed well here.
Be sure to end your meal with either a nice
strong cup of Turkish coffee ($2.50), served in
a demitasse cup, or Turkish black tea ($1.50),
served traditionally in a tulip-shaped glass on
a metal tray.
“In Turkey, anywhere you go, even a news-
stand, if you request tea, the store owner will
bring out a chair and a little table and serve you
a cup of tea,” says Pehlivan. “This is an essential
part of our heritage and hospitality.”
Things heat up on Friday nights when
Istanbul Sofra schedules a belly dancer. Live
Turkish music also is featured some Saturday
nights; check the website for specifics. PM
Cap off your meal with a
cup of Turkish coffee.