This is a restaurant review for a Turkish restaurant in Sunny Isles, Miami.
|18100 Collins Avenue
Miami, Florida 33160
Akdeniz Taverna and Grill Cuisine
By: Paula Pellegrino
If you speak Turkish, the name says it all. If not, the proprietors of this Sunny Isles restaurant want you to know that Akdeniz means Mediterranean in the native language. It is so important to them that patrons understand something about their cuisine’s roots that they placed a map of the entire region on their menu’s cover. However, though the cooking is a synthesis of cultures which framed that ancient sea, along with those from lands extending west into Asia, Turkish cuisine has its own identity.
For the average person, the thought of Turkish or Mediterranean fare conjures images of meat skewered or sliced from a large, vertically-suspended wedge; perhaps not ideal for those eating along health-conscious lines. But another thing the owners of Akdeniz want customers to know is that, while a fine selection of grilled meats and kebabs exists, Turkish gastronomy relies heavily upon fish, vegetables, yogurt, beans, grains and fruit. Add olive oil, the only variety ever heated in a Turkish chef’s pan, and you have one of the heartiest and most wholesome choices that diners exploring this part of Miami Beach can make.
Meals can start with any of a list of salads including traditional feta cheese and tomato, arugula with lemon, falafel with artichoke atop spicy ezme (chopped garden veggies), char-grilled shrimp over mixed greens and Russian salad, made with potatoes, carrots and scallions bound in light, seasoned mayonnaise. Their signature appetizer, though, is the Mixed Meze Platter, a combination including hummus (seasoned chickpea spread), babaganush (grilled eggplant salad), ezme, kisir (a bulghur wheat, bell pepper mix with parsley and dill), piyaz (savory bean and hard-boiled egg salad), whipped caviar or spinach tossed with onion. The platter, with a basketful of fresh-baked pita and tazitki (herbed yogurt sauce), can be enjoyed by an entire party, as sharing is the heart of any Turkish table.
Main courses include generous portions of grilled lamb chops, marinated chicken kebabs, Mussaka (layered eggplant and ground beef seasoned with allspice and cinnamon) and Manti (handmade beef dumplings with garlic yogurt sauce). Again, fish is highlighted and prepared with the expertise of people whose homeland is surrounded on three sides by water. There is char-grilled red snapper, pan-seared brook trout, swordfish kebabs and seafood pasta tossed with shrimp, calamari, scallops, mussels and clams.
Only through dessert is the term “Turkish Delight” truly understood. Alongside well-known Mediterranean sweets like Baklava (phyllo pastry layered with chopped pistachios and honey then baked with butter), Akdeniz features milk, rice and almond cream puddings, which, despite their rich taste and texture, are savored without the guilt that comes after being tempted by triple-layer fudge cake (not on the menu).
Round out the meal with a selection of Turkish tea, beer or wine (white Cankaya or red Yakut); but for a truly authentic experience, you must include raki, the anise-flavored national drink Turks call “lion’s milk”.
The exotic nature of Akdeniz’s cuisine is complimented by its intimate, yet festive, atmosphere. Soft lights, earthy stone, black marbled floors, and full-length windows lend flair that rivals any up-to-the-moment spot around. With space aplenty, a huge bar and flat screen television, a private room and a house band playing acoustic music nightly (not to forget the weekend belly dancing), Akdeniz is the perfect place to celebrate any holiday or happy occasion. And, with plans to stay open until the wee hours, there’s no need to move the party anywhere else!
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Alcohol: Beer & Wine
Neighborhood: North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles
Dress Code: Everyday
Parking: Self Parking
Open For: Lunch, Dinner
Categories: Casual Dining
Cuisine Types: Mediterranean, Turkish
Services: Belly Dancers, Childrens Menu , Daily Specials, Dancing, Family Operated, Hot Bar, Live Band, Live DJ, Live Music, Patio Bar, Patio Seating , Plasma TV, Restaurant Bar, Vegetarian Dishes, VIP Room, Wine Bar
Payment types accepted:
Hours of Operation:
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