Zara's Mediterranean Bistro
- Telephone 0131 225 2333
- Opening times Mon–Thu 11am–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–3am. Closed Sun.
- Seasonal times Winter: Mon–Thu 11am–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–1am. Closed Sun.
- Food served Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sun 11am–1am.
- Average price £8.45 (set lunch); £21.50 (set evening meal)
- Website www.zara-turkish-cuisine.co.uk
Little restaurant dishing up good, authentic Turkish cooking on pedestrianised Rose Street.
This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.
Named after owner Seyhmus Aslanalp’s daughter, this little Turkish restaurant on pedestrianised Rose Street depends a lot on passing trade, so the owner is sometimes outside, enticing diners in. Although it can lack atmosphere on quiet nights, the food certainly holds its own. Their mezze hits the spot with bowls of creamy cacik (yoghurt and garlic) dip, sweetly moreish ispanak borek (spinach and feta filo pastries) and delicious karniyarik (aubergine stuffed with mince, oven-baked in a tomato sauce). Lamb meatballs come with Moroccan chickpea and ginger sauce, chicken kofte are roasted with herbs then chargrilled, or there’s Turkish Lady’s Thigh – a shapely curve of beef, coated in spices. Aslanalp is a warm host, happy to give recommendations if you don’t know your yaprak dolma from your mantar dolma (one’s a stuffed vine leaf, the other’s a mushroom and sausage bake, since you asked.) A Turkish yoghurt drink is a good mouth cooler with spicier dishes, or there are tempting sweet options like baklava, kazandibi (caramel pudding) and kunefe (sweet cheese pastry).
- High point: Richly seasoned, authentic Turkish cooking
- Low point: Careful not to drop in during their wintertime midweek, mid-afternoon break
- Notable dish: Karniyarik – aubergine stuffed with mince, sautéed with onion, garlic, tomato and pepper then oven-baked
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Turkish pop
- Capacity: 30
- Largest group: 30
- Open since: 2014
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 19
- House wine: £15.95 per bottle