Stepping inside Roka Turkish Cuisine feels like drifting across the Atlantic Ocean, far from bustling Metropolitan Avenue to the Mediterranean.
Co-owner Anet Dulger, who grew up in Istanbul, inherited her cooking style from her mother and sisters. She created a menu based on her upbringing and uses imported Turkish ingredients to draw out authentic tastes.
Dulger buys olive oil directly from Turkey and fish that is caught off the Atlantic coast in Europe. Despite the extra expense she believes “taste and quality are the most important thing.”
Vegetables are bought locally from farmers’ markets and chicken and lamb, the majority of meat on the menu, is purchased from farms in Pennsylvania that raise the animals naturally.
For starters the bread is made fresh from scratch. Light and soft, but with just the right amount of firmness, it complements Turkish olive oil nicely.
Roka offers customers a wide variety of starters from soups to salads and so much more.
Some appetizers on the menu include rich hummus, creamy lebni, savory baba ganoush, stuffed grape leaves and spicy Ezme Acili. Each has a distinctly different taste. But ordering a platter of multiple dips for $12 and mixing and matching each for different combinations creates a wildly delicious experience as each new combination explodes with a variety of flavors.
For entrées, meats and seafood are generally grilled and cost under $20. The chicken and lamb kebab are very savory, while the köfte or Turkish meatball, which is grilled lamb with parsley and onions, is smoky and tender.
Roka offers specialty drinks that include Turkish teas and Turk kaveshi, or Turkish coffee that go perfectly with traditional baklava. The dessert, which is a pastry made with honey and pistachio, is flaky and sweet.
If the scrumptious food isn’t enough to convince someone to try Roka, then maybe the health factor would.
Most of the food at Roka is loaded with spices that have various health benefits. Dulger uses lots of parsley, which is rich in vitamins, known to limit cancer and control blood pressure.
“If I don’t eat it, I don’t serve it,” Dulger said.
Roka Turkish Cuisine
116-35 Metropolitan Avenue, Richmond Hill
Hours- Tuesday- Sunday, noon. -11 p.m.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
MORE DINING PROFILES