Mediterranean

I’m a huge fan of Turkish food, particularly the delicious version of gyro / doner kebab / lamb cuts that they make. It’s a little bit different from the typical Greek gyro meat you get around town – less processed, more grilled, and very delicious. The meaning of doner kebab literally means “rotating roast” as the stack of meats is cooked via a rotating spit roasted over a fire.

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Shishco Mezze and Grill is located in a strange building in the middle of a parking lot in Maitland. It used to be Fast Eddie’s Famous Burgers, then a smoothie joint, and a hot dog joint, among others. You order up at the window, kind of like at Checkers without a drive-thru. The spot only has a few picnic tables for seating outside, so most folks might want to take it to go.

Mehmet Tanriver and Mehmet Gurkaynak, owner partners of Shishco Mezze and Grill in Maitland started their first restaurant in 2003 in Turkey. Shishco means chubby, mezze means Mediterranean appetizers – put it together you have chubby Turkish appetizers.

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The partners moved to Orlando from Adana, a southern part of Turkey near the Mediterranean coast, cooking everything fresh with free range beef and chicken. One loves cooking falafel and zucchini pancakes while the other enjoys cooking chicken wings and kofte – grilled ground beef patties blended with garlic, onion, and spices.

On a recent visit for lunch, I ordered the gyro bowl, a generous bowl with a large lavash flat bread base overflowing with bulgur wheat grain, sliced pickled red onion, chopped tomatoes, and slices of beef and lamb doner / gyro. It was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time and would go back again just for this.

Go and try them out as soon as possible!
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Shishco Mezze and Grill
118 Lake Ave, Maitland, FL 32751
Phone:(407) 661-1336
Menu: shishcomezzegrill.com

Shish.Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Turkish food is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, prevalent throughout the Mediterranean reaching from Central Asia to the Balkans and even Greece, a remnant of the influence held by the long standing Ottoman empire of days past. The Turkish empire continues to expand even today, well, at least as part of Central Florida’s culinary world.

Cappadocia Turkish Cuisine took over the long time standing Cafe Italiano restaurant on Semoran Blvd a year or so ago. The interior is very much like what you would expect a Turkish restaurant would look like after minor renovations  to an Italian restaurant – additions of hookahs, some paintings of Turkish seaside. Italy and Turkey are after all both Mediterranean countries. It kind of felt like walking into a Turkish family’s dining room and, in a way, like crashing a family dinner as we were the only non-Turkish in the house at lunch. Several other diners all appeared to be conversing in Turkish with the owners – always a good sign for an authentic experience.

Service here is a bit of a hit and miss, though, with some need of polishing around the edges.

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Sesame toasted pide bread – lovely, slightly sweet Turkish bread…

The restaurant is named after the eponymous Cappadocia, the historic region in Turkey known for its beautiful rock fairy chimneys and rock cut temples, coming from a name of the ancient Turkic kingdom dating back to before the time of Alexander the Great.

For our appetizer, my dining companion and I order the cigarette borek, tasty little cylindrical scrolls of pan fried Phyllo (shaped like tiny cigarettes) stuffed with feta cheese, savory and crunchy.

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Cigarette borek, stuffed with feta cheese

Calf livers from Cappadocia Turkish
Fried Calf livers from Cappadocia Turkish – a popular appetizer, but ultimately, not for me.

For our entrees, I had an exceptional chicken adana kebab platter over fragrant rice pilaf with lettuce and tomatoes and my companion had a similarly tasty beyti kabab made with skewered lamb mixed with parsley and garlic. Our only complaint is that we wish we had more of the lovely skewered meats.

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Chicken Adana Kebab – Chopped chicken flavored with paprika and red bell peppers, grilled on skewers – $6.99

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Beyti Kebab – Lamb flavored with parsley and garlic, then grilled on skewers and served with homemade pide bread and rice – $6.99

Doner kebab is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally lamb but also a mixture of veal or beef with these, or sometimes chicken. The dish is also widely known by its Arabic name “shawarma” or the Greek name “gyros”. The doner here is made by hand in house, rather than the processed gyro meats that we are used to at the Mediterranean stalls at the mall food courts.

Here at Cappadocia, you can order your doner with rice or as a sandwich in between two slices of fatty pide bread. Make sure to specify which one you want. The lamb gyro (doner kebab) sandwich is now one of my favorite sandwiches, and also one of the most filling sandwiches I’ve had in a while with layers of sliced lamb stuffed in the warm, fluffy sesame toasted Turkish pide bread along with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, lathered with some spicy sauce and tzatziki.

I would definitely return for some more Turkish delights.

Gyro Lamb doner sandwich
Gyro Lamb doner sandwich – Döner served in a “tombik pide” (“fatty” pita)
Gyro Lamb doner sandwich
Gyro Lamb doner sandwich – Döner served in a “tombik pide” (“fatty” pita)
Lamb Gyro Platter with rice and tomato and lettuce - so good
Lamb Gyro Platter with rice and tomato and lettuce – so good
Turkish Lavash bread!
Turkish Lavash bread!

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Turkish cinnamon tea

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Traditional Baklava for dessert

 

Cappadoccia on Urbanspoon

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Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar recently opened at 140 N. Orlando Avenue, bringing a modern approach to Mediterranean cuisine to the very popular Winter Park area. Executive chef Steve Cook brings his modern, simple renditions of traditional flavors and foods of the Mediterranean rim countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco – a veritable tour of the Mediterranean coasts, with mostly small plates and options for wine pairings.

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Carmel Cafe, originally founded in Tampa with plans to expand in the Central Florida market this year, is actually named after the beautiful city of Carmel Beach, California, known for its very moderate climate similar to that found along the Mediterranean.

The ordering system here is via tableside iPads which allow guests to control preparation and pacing of the meal from drinks to dessert by scrolling, tapping and sending selections. I wish these iPad menu ordering system also had calorie counts and nutritional information too for those healthy conscious among us. Seems like an easy thing to do. Traditional servers are also available to help in case you have any questions or if the iPads are out of order.

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The iPads can also be used to play games – a useful diversion for children of guests at Carmel Cafe

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On a recent visit during a media dinner, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The decor and ambiance is very modern, yet comfortable as well. It reminded me of something very corporate though well planned and executed.

The dishes are mostly small plates here, meant to be shared and enjoyed among friends and with sips of wine.

We start off with the mezze platter, a great plate of little appetizers and dips to share.

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Mezze platter consisting of creamy edamame hummus, Muhammarra (a hot pepper dip from Syria), goat cheese-stuffed peppers, crispy fried feta, marinated artichoke hearts, sundried tomato, grilled pita

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Chickpea Fries served with a tomato jam, curry aioli sauce. The chickpea fries had a nice crisp but were a little too soggy in the middle. Taste was fantastic though.

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Basque Crab Cake made with lump crab meat and roasted almonds, avocado salad

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Seared Tuna Niçoise salad – red bliss potato, haricot verts, grape tomato, hardboiled egg, feta, mustard-chive vinaigrette

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Ravioli Verde • spinach and ricotta filling, truffle butter, peas, pea shoots, mushrooms, haricot verts

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Pound Cake with stawberries – Definitely a favorite!

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Overall, a fun and pleasant experience with light, interesting fare with quite distinct flavors not seen anywhere else in Orlando.

In addition to dinner service, they also began recently to serve lunch each Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a weekend brunch menu features favorites such as eggs Benedict and specialty dishes like the Mod Med Omelet and French Toast L’Orange.

Carmel Café & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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“There’s a shawarma place a few blocks from here, I never tried it, but I want to” – Tony Stark aka Iron Man in The Avengers

There’s been a lot of buzz lately since the release of the new Avengers film where Iron Man, played by Robert Downey, Jr. gets the gang to try shawarma at the end of the film.

What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is a popular Arab meat preparation, where goat, lamb, chicken, beef, or mixed meats are placed on a spit and grilled and can be served in shavings on a plate or as a pita bread sandwich or wrap made with shawarma meat. Shawarma is eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips and amba.

 

There are a few places in Orlando where you can pick some Shawarma up, in both platter and gyro sandwich form:

Middle East Market & Deli
http://www.middleeastdeli.com/
8100 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 855-6555

Habibi USA
http://habibiusa.com/
2451 South Hiawassee Road
Orlando, FL 32835
(407) 802-4242
6651 S. Semoran Blvd. #108
Orlando, FL, 32822
(407)730-3958
8607 Palm Parkway Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32836
(407) 239-0128 ?

Flame Kabob
7536 Dr Phillips Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-2280

Whitewood Mediterranean Grill
www.whitewoodgrill.com/
1 South Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 999-8959

Mediterranean Deli and Gyros
9430 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32825
(407) 271-8937

Chaat House
www.chaathouseorlando.com/
9472 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32837
(407) 240-4922

Cedar Halal Food & Deli
http://www.facebook.com/Cedarhalalorlando
12100 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32826
(407) 381-8004

Mediterranean Deli
www.myspace.com/med_deli
981 W Fairbanks Ave
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 539-2650

Cedar’s Restaurant
http://www.orlandocedars.com
7732 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 351-6000

Falafel Cafe
http://www.falafelcafe.com
12140 Collegiate Way
Orlando, FL 32817
(407) 382-6600

Mediterranean Blue
mediterraneanblue.net
435 E Michigan St
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 422-2583

Balagan Kosher Mediterranean Café
UCF Student Union
4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816
(407) 882-0701

Tangierine Café
at Disney’s EPCOT – Morocco Pavilion
1510 North Avenue of the Stars
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 939-3463

Avalon Pockets
http://www.avalonpockets.com/
3564 Avalon Park East BLVD
Orlando, FL 32828
Phone: 407-601-6997

Fantastic Hummus Food Truck
Tasty Tuesday in Milk District,Food Truck Bazaar,
Maitland Farmer’s market,College park farmer’s market
http://fantastichummus.com/
Follow them on Twitter
Check their Location

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I suppose East Orlando can be demarcated unofficially by the SR 417 . Mediterranean Deli & Gyros of East Orlando is actually owned by the brother of Walaid Ali of the Mediterranean Deli of Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. This location, like its predecessor, is located in a tiny strip mall plaza that you just might miss if you blink. Just a little bit east of the SR 417 on Colonial Drive/ SR 50, Mediterranean Deli offers much of the same great combo wraps, gyros, and salads that can be found at its sister location.

Inside, you’ll notice how bare the small place is: fluorescent lights humming above small cafe tables,  toward the back a counter for ordering, and the obligatory posters of attractive women eating some of Kronos’ finest gyro meats.

The owner here is a big hearted man who cares for his customers like old friends. Walking down to the order counter, you can pick your choices from the various salads laid out in trays and also order your gyro or wrap for eating in or to go.

I order the gyro platter with Greek salad. The owner cuts strips of the gyro meat rotating in the back and heats the heaping mass of Kronos meat on a press which is also used for the pita bread heating. A dab of tzatziki sour cream sauce and bundled up in some foil wrap. The gyro was delicious and overflowing with meat. Though flavorful, the meat might have been a bit dry that day as we were one of the first to visit that day. A special favorite dessert here is the baklava, homemade by the owner’s wife and made from some of the finest ingredients and phyllo dough this side of town. You must try it.

Though I have had better Greek salads and falafels elsewhere, overall, I would definitely recommend checking this place out if you are in the area for a quick bite or lunch.


Looking into the Mediterranean Deli and Gyros




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Various combos and wraps are available




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The counter with the salads





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Spanakopita – spinach pies!




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Gyro platter




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Falafel, a fried ball of chickpeas/fava beans.





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Baklava!





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Farewell !




Mediterranean Deli & Gyros on Urbanspoon



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check out the article I wrote on Oyster.com about Anatolia

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Anatolia recently opened in the Dr Phillips Marketplace Plaza on Restaurant Row, just a short drive from The Ritz Carlton on International Drive and has been generating quite some buzz in becoming the next Best Middle Eastern restaurant in the Orlando Sentinel’s Foodie Awards.

The restaurant is perfect for families on vacation in Orlando looking to try out a exotic meal from Turkey. The menu is extensive and the dishes are filling, you could even share some of your dish with a friend. The atmosphere is cozy yet classy, with a soundtrack of the latest popular Turkish music playing in the background while you eat.

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For starters, I would recommend the Lavas, or “balloon bread”, its a thin Turkish bread made from flour, water, and salt thats puffed up with air like a balloon. The Lavas is fun to eat especially dipped in the cacik, a yogurt made with finely chopped cucumbers, herbs, and a hint of garlic.

For the entree, you can choose from one of the many kebab dishes on the menu, all served with rice, mixed vegetable or red potato. The Karisik Kebab is a mixed grill platter, enough for two people, with  Tavuk Adana (chicken) kebab, Lamb shish kebab, Chicken Kebab, Doner Kebab, and Lamb chops with a serving of Kafte Kebab, all quite delicious and very satisfying.

For dessert, you can choose from the traditional Baklava, a layered fillo pastry filled with pistachio and drizzled with home made syrup to the Kunefe, a large shredded dough layered with a mild cheese and syrup enough to feed a family of four.

Overall, for some great Turkish food in the Universal Studios area or if you are staying at The Peabody Hotel for a convention, you can drop on by Anatolia for a great evening of exotic foods.

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Lavas, the balloon bread

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Yogurt dip

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Calamari appetizer at Anatolia restaurant

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Chicken Kebabs

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The Mixed Grill at Anatolia, the ultimate feast

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Kunefe, a sweet cheesy dessert

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Baklava, the traditional dessert

Visit them online at http://anatoliaorlando.com

Anatolia on Urbanspoon

 

Mediterranean Deli – Winter Park, FLorida

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***I was tipped off about this great little place from a reader of Tasty Chomps, thank you Hannah!
http://www.myspace.com/med_deli

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Located at 981 W. Fairbanks Ave. in Orlando on the corner of Adanson and Fairbanks, between I-4 and Edgawater Dr., Mediterranean Deli is the definition of a true hole in a hole in the wall. Inside, the restaurant is tiny with only about 10 seats and with half the place taken up by the counter. Giant travel photos of ancient cities in the Middle East adorn the walls and a small cd player bellows out belly dancing and Arabic music in stereo sound. Attending the restaurant is the happy-go-lucky Lebanese owner who cheerily greets each guest and addresses them by the familial “brother”, prepares the ordered meal, and also serves as the cashier, a non-stop one man army operation. He really has one of the best attitudes I have seen in the restaurant industry, very positive and friendly and warm.

Two rotisserie sticks of shewarma meat rotate around a heat source waiting to be carved for consumption. Trays of various salads and sides from hummus to grape leaves to greek salad and shirazi and tabouleh all along the counter.

The favorite item at Mediterranean Deli is the gyro sandwich, the item which Hannah originally referred to me here as the best gyro in Orlando, the item which I dutifully order this afternoon.

The gyro is prepared in a wonderfully fluffy pita bread with fresh lettuce and tomatoes and a delicious sour cream along with generous heapings of freshly grilled gyro meat. It really lived up to its reputation as one of the best gyros in Orlando, and certainly it was one of the best I’ve had in my relatively short life time.

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rotate and gyrate!
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salads and sides!
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grape leaves stuffed with rice!
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Gyros are my hero

I would definitely come back again for this great gyro! my hero.

Mediterranean Deli on Urbanspoon

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