The Food Guy: Antepli Mediterranean dishes up homemade Turkish cuisine

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There are a handful of Turkish restaurants in the Chicago area, most of which focus on kebabs and spreads. But according to NBC 5's Food Guy Steve Dolinsky, a new spot in Albany Park puts just as much emphasis on the sweets as it does the other parts of the menu.

You’ll see plenty of beef and chicken on the menu at Antepli Mediterranean, which hugs the interior corner of a strip mall, right next to a massive international supermarket. They’ll appear on platters as chunky kebabs or ground beef hand-formed around the skewers they’re grilled on or possibly thinly-sliced from a vertical spit, also known as shawarma.

“We use beef, sliced with lamb fat so it gives a different taste, a better taste,” said the restaurant's manager, Kadir Karakus.

An excellent use of shawarma is the Iskender Kebab plate. At its base is pita bread.

“We make daily fresh pita bread, small pita bread cubes under it, beef shawarma on the top,” said Karakus.

Doused in zesty tomato sauce with a sidecar of thick, creamy yogurt, the finishing touch is a drizzle of hot, melted butter.

Vegans will love the hand-rolled sarma, or stuffed grape leaves, made simply with rice. If you’re dining with friends, try the generous sampler platter to start.

“Appetizer platter comes with hummus, baba gannoush, eggplant, Turkish eszme; we also serve with cheese rolls and fresh pita bread,” he said.

And dough is everywhere on this menu.

Sometimes, it serves as a base for cheesy, elongated pide, often studded with cured beef. Other times, it’s a delicate, thin crust for lahmajun – a Turkish flatbread with ground beef and lamb that you add sumac-laced onions to, along with fresh tomatoes, then roll up before eating. Another dough – phyllo – is the star of the handmade baklava, Antepli’s calling card among expats, missing a taste of home.

“Because we make baklava everyday fresh and all the products are from Turkey, especially Turkish pistachios,” he said.

Larger options come stuffed with ice cream; there’s also kunefa, the shredded phyllo dessert soaked in sugar syrup. They offer two kinds.

“You can enjoy only cheese or you can enjoy cheese and pistachio together,” said Karakus.

Here's where you can go:


4849 N. Kedzie Ave.


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