The best thing is walking in from the busy street. Cafe Turko always has the fragrant smell of teas, and rosewater. There is a full menu, including breakfast, mezzes, salads, kebabs and my favorite: the pidés, which are thin, baked doughs with a variety of toppings, a bit like pizza.
When I’m done eating, I browse the items for sale. There is a shelf of books, and a case of pantry foods: teas, black olives and simmering pastes. For many years this was an import rug shop, and the owner still sells some small carpets, Uzbeki wall hangings and other home decor items. There is also lots of jewelry and bright scarves.
What I enjoy most is the atmosphere. There’s no other place like it in the Fremont neighborhood, and it’s a good place to sip tea or coffee while music plays and the family owners chat to each other in Turkish. The combination of scents, textures, colors, sounds, and the food is comforting.
Over the past year, Cafe Turko has grown in popularity and lunch times and evenings are usually busy. Give yourself time to enjoy it, and be sure to let the servers know when you want your check – as in other parts of the world, they won’t bring it until you’ve asked. They’re in no hurry for you to leave!